Australia and Nuclear energy – Rio Tinto chief pushing against history’s tide – WA Senator

Total world nuclear power capacity, in GW, and...

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Rio Tinto chief pushing against history’s tide – WA Senator

Media Release: Thursday May 5th, 2011

Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis is defying the tide of history by backing the dangerous and declining nuclear industry, say the Australian Greens.

The Greens nuclear affairs spokesperson, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, said all signs indicated Mr du Plessis was off the mark in his advocacy of nuclear power.

"This is commercial self-interest masquerading as energy policy. Those calling for nuclear power ignore the reality of what is happening around the world: every year for the last 15 years the growth in renewable energy’s capacity has outstripped the growth in nuclear capacity, and last year investment in renewable energy over-took investment in nuclear and fossil fuelled energy combined.”

"The Rubicon has been crossed for nuclear power – it is a dying industry and there is no turning back. In 2010 world-wide cumulative installed capacity from wind turbines, biomass, waste-to-energy and solar power surpassed installed nuclear capacity for the first time in history.”

“In the United States of America – the world’s largest economy – the share of renewables in new capacity additions boomed from two percent in 2004 to 55 percent in 2009, with no new nuclear capacity added in that time.”

"Meanwhile, even before the March Fukushima disaster, investors and insurers in the US, for example, could not be coaxed to back nuclear power.”

Senator Ludlam said renewable energy also presented huge economic opportunities.

“On the weekend of April 16-17 WA company Carnegie Wave Energy activated its first commercial-scale CETO unit. On the day of the announcement Carnegie shares boomed from 0.4c to 10c, and jumped a further 2.5% the next day.”

“The World Wildlife Fund Australia report ‘Power to Change: Australia’s Wave Energy Future’ published in 2008 estimated that wave energy alone would create 3,200 new jobs in Australia by 2020, and 14,380 new jobs by 2050. That’s 1,500MW of wave energy powering 1.2 million homes by 2020 and 12,000MV powering 9.6 million household by 2050. This is a sustainable industry that will generate clean power and long-term jobs, and it is only one of many sources of renewable energy.

"Forget nuclear – it is heading for the dustbin of history.”

The logo of the Australian Greens political party.

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Media Contact: Giovanni Torre

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