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Nuclear power definitely not an option: Greens

11 August 2008

Nuclear power definitely not an option: Greens

Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons describes Matthew Hooten as 'indulging in some wishful thinking' in the Sunday Star Times this week.

"For the record, I have never been interviewed by Matthew Hooten about nuclear power and I have never said to anyone - in public or in private, whether after a glass of wine or not - that nuclear power might ever need to be part of New Zealand's energy mix.

"What I have said repeatedly in many forums is that nuclear power does not fit New Zealand's electricity system and would be hugely expensive here.

Even aside from the real issues of waste disposal (still not solved); uranium mining (environmentally very damaging and hazardous to worker health); and the obvious links with weapon technology, uranium is a limited resource just like oil and will become scarce just a few decades later, Ms Fitzsimons says.

"Nuclear power stations come in very large sizes that would be too big for New Zealand's power system. We don't have the ability to back up that large a station, so when it was taken offline for a fault it would cause power cuts. Nuclear would make our system less secure and reliable, not more.

"Nuclear stations need a large amount of expensive technology back-up - radiation monitoring, training, armoured transport vehicles for fuel and wastes, armed guards on the power station 24/7 - all of which is very expensive just to support one power plant. I can't imagine New Zealanders accepting the high power bills that would result, nor can I imagine any community in New Zealand accepting a waste dump near them. Nor should they.

"New Zealand is particularly well endowed with renewable sources of electricity: Geothermal, wind, solar, eventually (and quite soon) wave and tidal. Our real problem is transport fuels and I can't see trucks and trains running on nuclear.

"This issue was resolved for New Zealand years ago. There are no new facts that justify reviving it."


ENDS

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