24 June 2024 - Going nuclear

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G’day… It’s Claire Kimball here, safely emerging out of my bunker after spending a good bit of the weekend boning up on all things nuclear energy… 

Before we get into this week’s topic, let’s cover off the result of last week’s poll on your enthusiasm for the Olympic Games. It’s very evenly split - 36% of you said you’ll tune into the main events, 34% said you can’t wait and you’ll watch as much as you can, and 30% said you don’t really get into it or it’s not for you. 

I’m what you might call an aware sports consumer. As a kid, I grew up playing a lot of sports, and in my sports lovin’ community, Aussie Rules, netball, hockey, tennis, swimming and cricket were a way of life. In my adult life, I tune into the highlights - but there’s something about the Olympics that gets me going. So watch out, Team Squiz - I’ll be the annoying one chipping in my 2 cents on whether that gymnast from Hungary really did get full rotation off the vault… 

This week, we thought it might be handy to provide you with some curated information following the Coalition’s nuclear energy policy announcement last week. As Kate Watson said on Saturday’s Weekly Wrap podcast, it was “a moment to get interested”. 

Opposition parties are usually criticised for their lack of policies ahead of an election, but there are a few reasons why they don’t stick their policy necks out. First amongst them is is they don’t want years or months of scrutiny where their political opponents and experts pick holes in their plans. 

The other is that governments lose elections, oppositions don’t win them. What that means is no matter how good the pitch from the major party that’s out of power, a lot of voters cast their vote with the government’s performance in mind. 

What Coalition leader Peter Dutton and his team have done with this nuclear power policy is contrary to those 2 rules. Sure, there’s a lot for them to still outline, like the cost. But by naming the locations and committing to the technology, there’s a lot for critics to aim at. So with that in mind, our Club Picks for this week: 

  1. Some facts and figures with this ABC reckoner pulled together by economist John Quiggin and Australia’s former chief scientist Dr Alan Finkle. Keep in mind that neither thinks the Coalition’s nuclear plan will work, but the information is helpful no matter your views. 

  2. I don’t know about you, but last week my mind went straight to the people in the communities near the locations where the Coalition says the nuclear power plants would be located. ABC TV’s 7.30 gauged some of their views, and they’re diverse. 

  3. There’s another side to this energy debate, and that’s what’s happening with renewables. The Weekend Australia took a look at some areas in NSW where massive solar farms and wind projects are happening - and again it’s interesting to hear what those in the impacted communities think about that. 

  4. Someone we didn’t expect to chip into the debate is Rampaging Roy Slaven… The alter ego of John Doyle hails from Lithgow, NSW - one of the Coalition’s proposed sites. He says (somewhat tongue in cheek…) the town - particularly the defunct Lithgow Shamrocks rugby league team - is fully in. 

PM Anthony Albanese says he plans to go full term, which means an election in May next year. A lot can happen in the meantime, but if he’s right, we’ll be talking about nuclear power in the context of an election campaign for a while yet. I hope this helps you at least enter the conversation. 

Your friend in news
Claire Kimball

We’re all ears

The battle lines between our political parties are being drawn when it comes to nuclear energy, but we’re keen to know where you stand on the issue…

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Wrapping up the news…

Kate and I release the Weekly Wrap on our News Club podcast feed each Saturday. As the name suggests, it’s a look at the week in news and what’s coming up. Big thanks to the Squizer who left this review below…

I start my weekend with breakfast in bed listening to this podcast. Although I follow the news daily, I just love the way the team chat through the major events - so informative to get my head around the really important news events that happen each week.

Listen here or on your fave podcast app (Apple and Spotify).

Got questions?

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Podcasts of ours you may like…

Our Squiz Shortcut on the nuclear power debate
Nuclear Power is far from a new idea. While many countries have embraced it to generate their power cleanly and cheaply, Australia is still debating it. We look at what nuclear power is, how it could work in Australia, and whether it could be a realistic solution for our energy needs. Listen/read time: 10 mins.

It’s the week in news and what’s coming up...
This incredible helpful podcast is out every Saturday morning, and it’s for people who want to get across the news of the week and a recce on what to keep an eye on for the week ahead. Much like it says on the tin, really… Listen time: 33 mins.