But it’s not only the French who are furious. Anti-nuclear groups in Australia, and many citizens, are expressing anger over the deal, worried it could be a Trojan horse for the nuclear power industry, which the nation has been opposing for decades.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke personally to her Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, to tell her that ships would not be welcome in her country’s waters, which have not been a nuclear zone since 1984.
So what’s the point of all the fuss? Some Australians here are upset with the deal.
How is nuclear power made?
The power comes from a process known as nuclear fission, which involves the splitting of uranium atoms in a reactor that heats water to produce steam. This steam is used to spin turbines, which in turn produce electricity.
While the process itself does not generate any emissions, greenhouse gases are commonly emitted during the mining of uranium, and the enrichment process can be carbon intensive.
Is nuclear renewable?
The simple answer is “no.” The energy produced by nuclear power plants is renewable in itself, and the steam produced in nuclear reactors can be recycled and turned into water to be used again in the nuclear fission process. Is.
However, the materials used in its production are not renewable – the metal is technically limited. But there is an argument that it can be used permanently; Uranium resources around the world are so vast that energy experts do not expect it to be exhausted.
However, many groups that oppose nuclear power do so because of the environmental destruction caused by uranium mining.
Governments in many parts of the world rely on nuclear power to help decarbonize their economies. It is widely regarded as an efficient way of producing electricity, and depending on the energy used to mine and enrich uranium, it could potentially be a zero-emissions power source.
Nuclear power can prevent millions of tons of emissions from entering the atmosphere each year compared to fossil fuels.
Looks great. So why are so many Australians against it?
It is not just Australia. Since the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, many countries have put brakes on the further development of the nuclear power industry. The Fukushima Daiichi power plant lost power in the earthquake and tsunami, meaning the cooling system failed, causing nuclear meltdowns and hydrogen explosions, and sending harmful radiation into the atmosphere. The borders of some parts of the city are closed.
It was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986, when a test that went wrong resulted in an explosion and fire, releasing devastating amounts of radioactive material into the air. Thirty-one people died in the accident itself, while many more died in subsequent years from the effects of radiation exposure, some estimates in the thousands.
But Australia’s anti-nuclear movement goes even further, with a strong protest movement in the 1970s. This emerged largely because of concerns about the environmental impacts of mining uranium – which Australia has large reserves of – but also because of concerns about risks to public health, particularly among communities living near proposed facilities. .
There are also concerns about how to store nuclear waste safely. Explosion or leakage of stored waste can also affect human health, although such disasters are much less common than previously thought.
In 1977, the movement against uranium mining in Australia gathered 250,000 signatures calling for a ban on extracting the metal, even though nuclear power was not being used in the country. But Australia still mins the metal today and exports it to generate nuclear power to other parts of the world.
There is growing political pressure in Australia from leaders of the Liberals – the Conservative Party of Australia – to start using nuclear power. Without it, some argue that it would be impossible to reach net zero by 2030. It has opposed nuclear largely because it has abundant coal and gas reserves, but Australia is under pressure to end its use of fossil fuels.
Bob Brown, a former Greens leader who campaigned against nuclear warships arriving in Tasmania in the 1980s, told the Financial Review on Thursday that the deal brought the country closer to developing a nuclear power industry and warned of a backlash.
“I think what the government has done is very cowardly,” Brown said. “This decision has been taken without reference to the public, knowing that the public will oppose it.”
And what is New Zealand’s stand?
New Zealand is one of the few developed countries that does not have any nuclear reactors. It also has a zero-nuclear zone that prevents nuclear weapons or nuclear ships from entering its territory.
In September 1978, the New Zealand government issued a Royal Commission to investigate nuclear power, and it was decided for the country to use its own resources for electricity generation rather than implement nuclear plants.
Hydroelectric power – which uses energy from the movement of water – now provides 80 percent of the country’s electricity, and investing in nuclear plants is still not considered cost-effective. According to the World Nuclear Association, the initial cost of building nuclear power facilities is very high.
However, the main reason for New Zealand’s opposition to nuclear power is – as in Australia – public opinion and concerns about safety and the disposal of nuclear waste.
New Zealand’s anti-nuclear stance applies to nuclear power, nuclear-powered ships and nuclear weapons.
Granthshala’s Angela Dewan contributed to this report.
Credit : www.cnn.com