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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 176 asked in the Legislative Council on 11 March 2020 by Hon Robin Scott

Minister responding: Hon W.J. Johnston
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

ENERGY — CARBON EMISSIONS

176. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the minister representing the Minister for Energy:

I refer to the announcement last week that the Byron Generating Station, a nuclear energy facility in the US state of Illinois, celebrated 4 500 consecutive days of carbon-free nuclear power production.

(1) How much carbon does the WA energy sector emit in any given year?

(2) How much money in the budget is allocated to reducing carbon emissions produced by the WA energy sector?

(3) If the government is serious about tackling climate change, why will it not lift the moratorium on nuclear power and uranium mining?

Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:

I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question. The following information has been provided to me by the Minister for Energy.

(1) The most recently available commonwealth, state and territory greenhouse gas inventory data indicates that for the financial year ending 30 June 2017, electricity generation activities in Western Australia were responsible for emissions equivalent to 25.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

(2) In November 2018, the McGowan government announced $9 million of seed funding for the clean energy future fund to support emission reduction initiatives by the private sector. A state climate policy is also under development to outline the government's intended approach to address climate change and greenhouse emissions reduction.

(3) The state government does not consider nuclear power as being appropriate for Western Australia, due to a combination of factors, including the capital costs, relatively long construction periods and large site requirements for development of the facilities; concerns over waste management; and the costs and challenges associated with decommissioning nuclear reactors. Capital cost estimates prepared by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation indicate that nuclear power is not cost competitive with alternative electricity generation technologies.