Australia: Nuclear reactor and steelworks plan once considered for pristine beaches of Jervis Bay - PressFrom - Australia

AustraliaNuclear reactor and steelworks plan once considered for pristine beaches of Jervis Bay

02:43  12 august  2019
02:43  12 august  2019 Source:

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Jervis Bay Nuclear Power Plant was a proposed nuclear power reactor in the Jervis Bay Territory on the south coast of New South Wales. It would have been Australia's first nuclear power plant, and was the only proposal to have received serious consideration as of 2019.

A nuclear reactor or nuclear power plant consists of nuclear reactor fuel, control rods, moderators, pressure vessels, coolant and containment. Most nuclear electricity is generated using just two kinds of reactors which were developed in the 1950s and improved since.

Nuclear reactor and steelworks plan once considered for pristine beaches of Jervis Bay© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Jervis Bay's pristine beaches would have looked very different with a nuclear reactor on the headland. (Supplied: Andy Hutchinson) In the late 1960s, a plan was launched to transform an idyllic section of the New South Wales coast into a major industrial hub, complete with the country's first nuclear power plant.

A steelworks, petrochemical plant and an oil refinery were also slated for the site at Jervis Bay, but what was not announced was a plan to generate weapons-grade plutonium that could have seen Australia become a nuclear power.

Fifty years later, Australia is again mulling over the question of nuclear energy with two separate inquiries underway.

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The vulnerability of nuclear plants to deliberate attack is of concern in the area of nuclear safety and security. Nuclear power plants, civilian research reactors , certain naval fuel facilities, uranium enrichment plants, fuel fabrication plants

A federal parliamentary committee is investigating the economic, environmental and safety implications of nuclear power in Australia.

In NSW, meanwhile, a committee is looking into overturning a ban on uranium mining and nuclear facilities.

While neither is talking specifics in terms of where nuclear enrichment technology or modern-day facilities like small modular reactors (SMRs) could be located, it has brought to the forefront questions of geography.

Jervis Bay is a Commonwealth Territory, located within NSW, but the laws of the Australian Capital Territory apply.

Potential reactor sites

In 2007, in the wake of the Switkowski nuclear energy review under the Howard government, the Australia Institute published a research paper identifying 19 of the most likely reactor sites.

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The prospect of nuclear power in Australia has been a topic of public debate since the 1950s. Australia has never had a nuclear power station.

I'm working on articles for Jervis Bay Nuclear Power Plant (Australia's proposed power reactor , tenders called twice and some site works I'm building stuff for the US research reactors [edit]. My current plan is that I will continue adding links to new articles here and then building them as I have

The sites were located across Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, NSW, and the ACT.

It found the most suitable sites were close to major centres of demand and preferably in coastal areas to ensure easy access to water.

Jervis Bay inevitably comes up as a potential reactor location due to its history as the only nuclear power plant to have received serious consideration in Australia.

At the time it was promoted as the first of many.

In February 1970, the Illawarra Mercury proclaimed:

"The power station will be the first of 20 atomic plants costing more than $2,000 million to be built in Australia by 1990.

"The reactor will use 500,000 gallons of sea water a day for cooling purposes."

That was the blueprint that nearly became a reality.

Shrouded in secrecy

There was a darker side to the Jervis Bay reactor too, with evidence revealed in a 2002 ABC documentary, Fortress Australia, that the 500-megawatt fast breeder reactor was chosen due to its ability to generate weapons-grade plutonium for use in an Australian nuclear weapon.

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Nuclear reactions are subject to classical conservation laws and also additional laws. A nuclear reaction is considered to be the process in which two nuclear particles (two nuclei or a nucleus and a nucleon) interact to produce two or more nuclear particles or ˠ-rays Nuclear and Reactor Physics

Fortress Australia uncovered secret documents showing how the chairman of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission (AAEC), Phillip Baxter, influenced three Liberal prime ministers (Menzies, Holt and Gorton) to support the project.

"The only way in which we can protect ourselves, I believe, is by having not machine guns and rifles, but the most sophisticated weapons that we can devise," Baxter said in the documentary.

"And I put nuclear weapons in that too. And anything else which will enable one man to hold off 100."

Associate Professor Wayne Reynolds from the University of Newcastle told ABC podcast The Signal how Gorton pushed for the nuclear power station at Jervis Bay.

"John Gorton asked for a study to be done by the AAEC on the implications of the war in Vietnam going badly," Dr Reynolds said.

"So Gorton said, 'If we are going to be stuck here by ourselves, we need to know that we can make nuclear weapons'.

"They did the study, they worked out the capability, they had to go negotiate with the British about the technology, then they actually started to build this reactor at Jervis Bay."

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Jervis Bay Beach Hotels. All reviews botanical gardens green patch national park cave beach walking trails steamers per vehicle entry fee st george camping spots couple of nights rainbow lorikeets natural beauty boat ramp beautiful scenery white beaches short walk.

megawatt nuclear power station at Murrays Beach , Jervis Bay , connected to the NSW electricity grid. again be deferred pending a review of overseas reactors and associated technical problems, and Jervis Bay – surveys of proposed site for nuclear power station. 69/1979. National Archives.

The project was first delayed after William McMahon became prime minister in 1971 and was later put on hold indefinitely, despite efforts to keep the project alive.

As late as March 1975, the Illawarra Mercury was reporting:

"Jervis Bay may still be the site for a nuclear power plant and a possible site for a nuclear-powered submarine base."

But the horse had bolted.

Any hopes of a nuclear power industry in Australia effectively ended when McMahon lost government to Gough Whitlam's Labor in December 1972.

Whitlam's signing of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty in 1973 also ended any plans by the AAEC to provide Australia with the capacity to manufacture atomic weapons.

Major industrial hub

While plans were quietly progressing for a nuclear plant, a far more public debate was happening over proposals to transform the northern part of Jervis Bay into a major industrial hub, complete with integrated steelworks, petrochemical plant, and oil refinery.

The industrial complex would have employed thousands of workers and virtually taken over the whole northern section of the bay.

Jervis Bay was already famous for its crystal clear blue waters and pristine white beaches, framed by untouched bushland.

The bold proposal was effectively killed off by vocal opponents wanting to keep the area for "satisfying the recreational and aesthetic needs of the population of the Newcastle–Sydney–Wollongong complex just to the north".

Conservation-minded citizens such as environmentalist Milo Dunphy, former Shoalhaven mayor John Hatton and local campaigner Judy Gjedsted, helped to bring about a Commonwealth inquiry with submissions from a broad cross-section of the community.

The Australian Steel Mining Corporation, a company formed by US steel giants Armco and Kaiser, announced in October 1974 that it could not find a local partner and would have to abandon the $750 million project.

Jervis Bay's growth as a tourism haven, complete with national parks and Indigenous-owned land, was born.

The Booderee National Park, meaning "bay of plenty" in the Dhurga language, was created out of the Jervis Bay National Park in 1992, which underlined the cultural significance of the lands and surrounding ocean.

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