The moratorium remains, but the subject is open for discussion.
I have no problem with the discussion! Truth is that I do not have a problem with nuclear power, except for its cost.
Nuclear power plants are not a prerequisite to have nuclear power in our submarines - a strategic pursuit I would fully support.I didn't say they were a prerequisite, only a potential stepping stone. It is generally the case that countries that pursuit nuclear propulsion of their submarines generally also have a domestic nuclear industry. Actually I can't think of one that doesn't.
If nuclear armament were a goal - a pursuit I am absolutely never going to support, nor would nearly any sane person. Then today a domestic nuclear power reactor would be a pretty lousy choice of enabling technology. Quicker, cheaper and cleaner routes to weapons grade material are available through accelerators. Remember the international ‘surprise’ at how quickly the DPRK got from probably barely being able to operate a reactor to detonating a nuclear device? I think (and clearly I am not a person with CIA type information at my fingertips) what DPRK actually did was build a cyclotron, along with the importation of materials - the ‘reactor’ being a ruse.
Domestically Australia needs nuclear reactors for two reasons: electrical energy and medical isotopes - neither of these need to lead (and indeed could be specifically designed to not lead) to proliferation. As indeed referenced by the list of nations with nuclear reactors being much larger than the list of nations with nuclear weapons.
Supporting nuclear weapons is not a matter of sanity or insanity. Whilst I currently do not support their acquisition, "absolutely never" is a long time and these decisions should be driven by strategic needs. Nuclear weapons have their place and we don't know that in 50 years time the west will be protected by the US nuclear umbrella.Absolutely never is not a long time, it is never, absolutely so, my position of this will never change, not tomorrow, not in 50 years, not in 150 years should I live so long. So you are supposing we should have them as a second strike option? Should a nuclear power lob a warhead into one of our cities, exactly what will 'sending one back' achieve? An additional strike from the aggressor? Then what? Unless we can amass a stock larger than our attacker, or we can otherwise be part of the 'mutually assured destruction' what is the point? You're just needlessly creating a target for ourselves.
Weapons grade fuel is generally derived from one of two methods: separation of weapons grade uranium isotope in centrifuges built for that particular purpose or by enriching the spent fuel and isolating the plutonium that is bred in reactors. Plutonium is a better fuel for making bombs. A nuclear power industry also gives you a plausible front.Weapons grade fuel? I think you mixing your nomers. Weapons grade uranium >85% U235 is generally achieved via a centrifuge, both other methods SILEX would be one, CHEMEX used in France would be another, also exist.
If its just power, we have no need, we can generate enough power with our practically endless coal reserves and have virtually zero effective impact on climate change. It's only politics that has made coal unviable.I am pretty sure that's not true. Our coal supply is finite, and burning it all will most certainly have a non trivial effect on climate. I am not convinced it will do much damage to continue burning it in the shorter term as we head to Thorium based energy - which in this country is near inexhaustable. Uranium is somewhat less abundant, especially U235.