Hmm my take on the situ.
Coal may be bad but uranium is even worse. Coal does employ allot of people
especially locally. You just cannot stop coal production- even the Greens have
to realise that but it has to be phased out.
I hoping that Australia can lure hi-tech developments in alternate energy as our CSIRO is more than up to the challenge and we have more than enough Nobel laureates (and potential ones) ready to take the US DoE's Solar Energy testing to the next level and compete with the EU in the race for the fusion reactor. We could also lure DoE to work here on a Fusion reactor. The benefits of such a deal could pay of heaps in the long term- export contracts to build new fusion (as opposed to fission) is SE Asia would be huge. As soon as carbon credits go online in the EU and later Wall Street we will be hearing about these emerging technologies more and more.
Clean coal is a possiblity but not a long term solution but Newcastle Uni seems upbeat on the idea. Hearing rumours also suggest a test platform could be more than ready for production in 2-4 years which certainly outshines building a single reactor which will take 10-12 years if we started now.
Nuclear power sucks allot of water, contamination of waterways by low level fissionable residues from such high energy reactions is something the media has not noticed. Its not as bad as the Simpsons sarcasm but it can lead to heightened levels of thyroid cancer in areas they are used for people especially who are immuno compromised. The chance of a meltdown are low but when it happens- it cannot be stopped. Then the associated mass casualties, mass illness and long term disease issues don't even make good reading. Lucas Heights still won't reveal how many accidents it has had since the 50's as it is a very politically sensitive issue this election.
ed- I invite you to under the Australian Federal Freedom of Information Act 1982 to request the Lucas Heights accident record. Find out for yourself...
For all you sleuths out there...
Once the French fusion reactor is online we will be left behind- again and wasted billions of dollars on obsolete technology. A single fusion reactor could power near 1/3 of France so that is saying something... Australia wants more than 25+ nuclear reactors and still will not replace coal power only supplement it. The government could also demand more energy efficient appliances which can also have a major effect on power usage- has also been largely ignored.