Media Release ‒ 25 June 2019 ‒ Friends of the Earth Australia
The ABC's Media Watch program last night took aim at Australia's pro-nuclear propagandists and the extreme bias of Australia's nuclear 'debate'.
Media Watch discussed HBO's hit miniseries 'Chernobyl', which tops IMDB's list of the greatest TV shows of all time, and took aim at Andrew Bolt and others for trivialising the death toll (discussed here) and for ignoring the broader impacts of the disaster such as the permanent relocation of 350,000 people and the thousands of children who suffered thyroid cancer due to exposure to radioactive fallout.
Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, said: "Nuclear lobbyists argued that Chernobyl was a result of the dysfunctional Soviet system and that a similar disaster couldn't happen in Western countries. That argument collapsed with the March 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan. Nuclear disasters can happen anywhere and a nuclear disaster anywhere is a nuclear disaster everywhere due to the spread of radioactive fallout. Chernobyl's radioactive fallout contaminated the whole of Europe and Fukushima fallout reached northern Australia."
"In addition to their other devastating impacts, nuclear disasters greatly increase the overall cost of nuclear power. The cost of the Chernobyl disaster is estimated at over one trillion dollars [US$700 billion] and the Fukushima disaster could prove to be just as expensive."
Citing a recent expert analysis, Media Watch noted that nuclear power "doesn't even get to first base on cost" and took nuclear lobbyists to task for failing to acknowledge the extraordinarily high cost of nuclear power (all reactors under construction in western Europe and north America are estimated to cost $14‒24 billion each while the South Carolina reactor project was abandoned in 2017 after the expenditure of at least A$12.9 billion).
Dr Green said: "Dr Ziggy Switkowski used to be Australia's most prominent supporter of nuclear power and he led the Howard government's nuclear review in 2006. But nuclear costs have increased four-fold since then and Dr Switkowski has acknowledged that the window for large-scale nuclear power in Australia has closed as renewables are clearly cheaper."
"John Howard was no anti-nuclear ideologue yet he had the good sense to ban nuclear power. Prime Minister Scott Morrison needs to state unambiguously that the legislation banning nuclear power in Australia will remain in place," Dr Green concluded.
Contact: Dr Jim Green 0417 318 368
Last night's Media Watch segment on nuclear power (video and transcript)
A recent detailed article by Dr Green, cited by Media Watch.