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Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 occurs when O2 goes to ozone. If there were no breakdown back to normal oxyge,n, once a 11 the oxygen had been used up, the radi at ion woul d come straight through. It is vitally important to have the dynamic equilibrium of the re-radiation of the absorbed ultraviolet light. Acid rain is indeed a big problem. There was reference in the statement to the aci difi cat i on of 2000 of Sweden's 1 akes and of 4000 bei ng devoi d of fish life. That is one of those little things that could be checked. It is a wholesale problem which will have to be faced. The day will come when we will have to look towards alternatives to coal because of the acid rain that it produces. Australia produces a great deal of coal and there may be considerable pressure on us to close our coal mines. I am surpri sed that the fue 1 ce 11 has not been mentioned. It is something that I have spoken about in this House before. It is a device which can convert hydrogen and oxygen directly by recombining them. As we know, these would burn with quite an explo.sive force. However, in a fuel cell, the energy is converted directly into electricity with about 98% efficiency. If you use the hydrogen as you use gas in a reciprocating engine, you will have about 25% efficiency. The fuel cell lends itself to the efficient use of energy. I am sure that members can find out more about fuel cells at the library if they so wish. I agree entire ly wi th the mi n i ster that our federa 1 government ha s put its head in the sand when it comes to nuclear research and safety methods. It would be much easier to handle a few hundred or thousand tonnes of uranium waste a year than to handle the huge amounts of waste - and the huge amounts of radioactive waste - from coal-fired power stations. The amount of such waste ought to be of concern to us. Nuclear fusion is a process whereby light molecules or atoms such as hydrogen and tritium, one of its isotopes, are combined to produce elements such as helium. This destroys a considerable amount of energy and produces very 1 ittle in the way of radioactive waste products. Many hope that thi s can occur. However, the control of this process is what ;s occurring continually in the sun. We all know the old slogan - 'solar not nuclear'. The answer is that solar is nl,lclear. That makes that slogan a load of nonsense to me. As the member for Stuart said, history shows that there have been times when the earth has cooled considerably. In the 17th century, you could skate on the River Thames. That is something which has not been possible for the last couple of hundred years. That tends to indicate that the sun's output, our primary source of energy, may vary from time to time. If we are entering an ice age, we may be glad that we have increased the gases which enhance the Greenhouse Effect and wa rm the planet. On the other hand, if the sun's output becomes greater, we will wish that we had done much more. In many ways, it is a crystal ball situation. However, there are measures that can be taken. For example, widespread use of the clay-lined pots which I referred to can greatly reduce the number of trees that are felled. Thi s will enhance the greening of the planet and the natural process of reversing the excess emission of carbon dioxide. I welcome the paper. We need to learn as much as we possibly can about this matter. In particular, we should look at practical ways in which we can contribute to the answer to the perceived problems. I trust that, as further research occurs, we will have a clearer picture of where we are headed and that the actions that we take will be the right ones for the conditions imposed on us. 8773