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DIY nuclear: Bin night just got a lot harder

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(Cartoon by Mark David | @MDavidCartoons)

Bazza and Mick talk solutions for keeping the lights on while round-tableing Peter Dutton's "nuclear plan", writes John Longhurst.

THE VEINS IN Mick’s neck tightened blue and his face glowed as he advocated the merits of nuclear power stations to all within earshot of the front bar.

Patrons shook their heads as Mick galloped through sentences with technical terms such as electrons, atoms, fission, thermonuclear, protons, reactor, radiation and uranium.

Bazza joined the group and raised his eyebrows as Mick passed him a 7-ounce of beer:

“There you go, Bazza. We are celebrating the number seven. I’ve just been taking everyone through the merits of Dutts announcement to build seven nuclear power plants across Australia so we can keep the lights on. It’s a game changer.”

Bazza took a measured sip and rubbed his chin:

“Ahh, the number seven eh? I am sure you all spotted that big rainbow on the way in. There are seven colours in a rainbow, so… I will drink to that.”

Mick screwed his eyes:

“Stay on point, Bazza. We are talking nuclear power stations.”

Bazza ran a hand across his face to conceal a smile:

“Now… If I told you there is a nuclear power station under each of those seven colours in that rainbow outside, you could never prove me wrong. Moreover, it all reminds me of the Brothers Grimm tale about "seven at one blow", where the tailor uses his feat of killing seven flies in one blow to lie and trick his way to power.”

Multiple heads were scratched before Know-all-Ron cleared his throat:

“No Mick… I don’t think we need seven nuclear power stations across the country. With the spate of natural disasters over the past few years – bushfires, floods and the like – it’s risky.”

Murmurs of agreement, whereby Know-all-Ron enjoyed the pause:

What we need is one really big nuclear power station. I am talking gigantic. Build it out in the middle of Australia, where there is less chance of a natural disaster. Maralinga in South Australia would be perfect.


We let the British test nuclear bombs at Maralinga in the 1950s, so a gigantic nuclear power station is a natural fit. In fact, the sites are still radioactive contaminated and will remain that way for 24,000 years, so a bit more nuclear waste will be almost unnoticed.

Mick tut-tutted:

“No, Ron… That’s got Chernobyl nuclear disaster from 1986 written all over it. We need to share the risk.”

Bazza’s eyes scanned the nodding heads and he quietly chuckled:

“Nah... I reckon Dutts needs to show a bit more ticker.”

Mick shot dagger eyes at Bazza:

“Now, just hang on, Mick. I reckon the solution is to allow people to build mini rooftop nuclear power stations on their houses. When the sun is not shining on the solar panels, just fire up the nuclear power plant. Dutts should make it a fundamental right for Australian citizens to have a nuclear power plant on their roofs.”

There were numerous "Go hard, Bazza's" before Mick let out a deep sigh:

“I don’t think so, Bazza. I would have thought rooftop wind farms would be more your calling. Now… with rooftop nuclear power stations, you must consider the cost, the distribution of uranium and nuclear waste disposal.”

Bazza rubbed an eye:

Not a problem, Mick. I reckon Aldi supermarkets will sort out the cost angle. I reckon they would stock up the middle aisle with DIY rooftop nuclear power plants in a flash. Once installed, if you run a bit short of uranium, you could borrow a cupful from a neighbour. For the waste issue, we need a special coloured bin… say blue for nuclear waste. Easy as. We alternate between green, yellow and blue bins on garbage nights.”

Timeless Tom groaned:

“It just would not work, Bazza. I get mixed up on the bin colours each week. Adding another colour will just confuse people further.”

John Longhurst is a former industrial advocate and political adviser. He currently works as an English and History teacher on the South Coast of NSW.

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