Nuclear Power could save Portland

Nuclear power option for Portland industryA nuclear power station in Victoria's west could mean the difference between life and death for the town of Portland.

Western District MP James Purcell posed the question of whether a Nuclear Power Station would be an acceptable option for the people of Portland, who are facing an uncertain future.

"The Alcoa Aluminium Smelter is in real trouble following a recent power cut to the plant, which saw one of the pot lines freeze leaving the smelter running at a quarter capacity. Add to that the laborious negotiations over its expiring power deal, and the companies long term future in the region is looking very uncertain," says Mr Purcell.

Mr Purcell told Parliament yesterday that ongoing base energy supply in Victoria is becoming a serious problem.

"At a consumer level people are facing a 10% increase in energy costs over the coming year. At a Government level finding a viable base load that can support the renewable energy options such as wind and solar and that meats the carbon emissions targets doesn't leave many options.

"For the people of Portland a reliable power source could be the difference between Alcoa staying or going, and could provide incentive for more industry to move into the region.

"This is a serious problem and we need a radical and possibly unpopular solution that will solve problems for industry, right now and in the future," he says.

Nuclear Power Generation technology has come a long way since the 1980s, yet public perception is centred on the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. Nuclear energy is a high-tech, low carbon option.

"The question is can the desire for a strong regional economy and a carbon free future override outdated fears of nuclear energy?"