It helped bring down a Prime Minister and remains a quagmire of ideological bickering and governmental indecision. The ongoing power debate, coal versus renewables, has yet to be resolved but help could be on the way – or to put it more correctly, ‘on the waves’.
Russia has recently launched a floating power station equipped with two nuclear reactors. The Akademik Lomonosov has been under construction since 2009 and during that time has attracted some less than flattering nicknames like the ‘SS Chernobyl’ and the ‘Nuclear Titanic’. Nevertheless the technological behemoth will soon be in action, pumping out enough energy to power some 70,000 homes.
The good news for Australia is that the Russian nuclear energy corporation Roastom is keen to establish a production line, exporting their floating reactors all over the world – with countries such as China, Indonesia, Algeria and Argentina all showing interest.
Get in the queue Scott Morrison and make the purchase of at least a dozen of these babies as part of your election package for 2019. The traditional objections to building a nuclear power station on Australian soil will be blown out of the water although that’s probably not the best way to describe it.
No need for a filthy new coal powered station with a fleet of these Russian marvels cruising all around the Australian coast, deployed wherever there is a potential power shortage or failure of the grid. The ships each carry a crew of around 70 (more jobs for Aussies) and are decked out with the kind of facilities you might find on a P&O cruise to Vanuatau – a swimming pool, leisure lounges and a fine dining restaurant.
And here lies even more potential. When the reactors aren’t needed to prop up the grid they could easily be marketed to the booming cruise industry, taking passengers to such appropriate destinations as the Bikini and Moruroa Atolls. It’s no secret that the old Chernobyl nuclear plant near Pripyat in Ukraine has become a tourist destination in its own right – albeit of a somewhat offbeat nature. The nuclear cruises could easily become the next best thing with quirky loving cruise passengers downing ‘poloniom’ cocktails at the bar and feasting on cheese ‘meltdowns’ (wow, they actually glow in the dark!). Passengers could download a geiger counter app as a precaution against any on board nuclear radiation or any leak of used nuclear coolant into the jacuzzis or swimming pool. They would naturally have to sign a disclaimer at the beginning of the cruise removing liability from the Australian Government if they ever developed ARS (that’s Acute Radiation Syndrome) but hey – no need to go into any detail.
It’s a winner ScoMo, and it would do heaps to bolster Australian/Russian détente and dissuade those Ruskie bastards from hacking into everything from Australia Post to Peter Dutton’s dropbox of au pairs needing visas. Of course in the unlikely case of another Fukushima the Government could simply divert the floating time bombs as far away from the Australian coastline as possible – somewhere totally remote like the tranquil waters surrounding Nauru. As with the thousand or so asylum seekers still languishing there any massive explosion and meltdown would be out of sight and out of mind. We might never know about it.