2011/06: Should Australia develop nuclear energy as a major power source?

Introduction to the media issue

Video clip at right:
An ABC news clip from mid-March 2011. It shows how the news of Japan's nuclear crisis was brought to a world already stunned by the preceding earthquake and tsunami. If you cannot see this clip, it will be because video is blocked by your network. To view the clip, access from home or from a public library, or from another network which allows viewing of video clips.

What they said...
'We are a country with abundant solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, you name it, we have got renewable sources of energy; so we don't think nuclear energy is right for this country'
Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia

'I remain convinced that in our future we will see nuclear power'
Ziggy Switkowski, the immediate past chairman of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

The issue at a glance
A number of events occurred in early 2011 to give added impetus to the debate in Australia around whether nuclear power is a viable answer to this country's power production problems.
The need to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions and thus our reliance on coal and gas power generation is increasingly acknowledged in this country. ;The sense of urgency has intensified with the possibility of a carbon tax being levied on Australian businesses and passed on to Australian consumers.
However, the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in eastern Japan reminded the world of the vulnerability of nuclear power stations to such seismic disasters. ;At the time of writing the Fukushima nuclear power plants have still to be rendered safe.