Nuclear planill-conceived:Greens WA

Robert DoughertyNorth West Telegraph

The Greens WA say a proposal to house a nuclear reactor in the Pilbara is “inappropriate and ill-conceived”.

The comments follow a report identifying Port Hedland as a potential volunteer community for a modern small modular reactor by Sydney-based consultancy SMR Nuclear Technology, published earlier this month.

Greens WA spokesman for nuclear issues Robin Chapple MLC said nuclear power was an outdated industry with no place in the State.

“Nuclear power is not a safe, clean nor practical solution to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions, especially with ever-burgeoning renewable alternatives,” he said.

“Port Hedland, and the whole of Australia for that matter, should be focusing on wind, solar and hydro, which is much safer and more efficient than nuclear pow-er.

“With the highly volatile nature of Port Hedland’s cyclone season, it is clear that the Pilbara is an ill-conceived choice for any potential nuclear power plant.”

SMR Nuclear Technology technical director Tony Irwin said a small modular reactor would enable the Pilbara to reduce emissions, while a single modular reactor unit could supply 40,000 households.

“SMRs would provide reliable, low-emissions electricity, independent of the weather, and would be particularly suitable for regions like the Pilbara,” he said.

“On a whole-of-life basis, including mining uranium, processing, construction, waste management emissions are (12kg CO2 emissions per MWh) the same as wind and less than solar.

“An SMR is 20 times smaller than a big power reactor — the site is very compact, occupying only 18ha total, with a maximum height of 30m above ground level.

“Being much smaller than a large power reactor, SMRs can be made inherently safe — the NuScale SMR is very well-protected against cyclones as the reactor is underground.”

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