58 Note from Sargeant1 to Raggatt2

Canberra, 8 July 1964

Nuclear Power and Pumped Storage

I attended, on your behalf, the meeting outlined at folio 13 on Thursday, 2nd July, 1964.

  1. Present were:
    The meeting outlined at folio 13 on Thursday, 2nd July, 1964. Present Were:
    A.A.E.C.Professor Baxter (Chairman)3
     M.C. Timbs
     R. Griffiths4
     R. Warner
    E.C.N.S.W.5 Coady6
     Sykes7
    S.E.C.V.8Connolly9
    S.M.A.10Sir William Hudson11
     Dann12
    Nat. Dev. Sargeant
  2. As background Professor Baxter said he had discussed the general idea of studying a nuclear power station coupled to a pumped storage scheme with Sir William Hudson and it had been agreed that it was best to bring all parties together at an early stage. He believed there would be some important improvements in the engineering and cost sides of nuclear power in the next few years. He expected that it would be 2-3 years before it would be possible to decide on the type of station which might be linked with a pumped storage system for operation in say the early 1970s. He had in mind a nuclear station capacity of about 200 MW.

    [matter omitted]

  3. Professor Baxter sees advantages in building a station in the Snowy area because it would be close to existing hydro-electric facilities.

(He also undoubtedly has in mind the constitutional difficulties associated with the Commonwealth entering the power production field and that these might be minimised if related to the Snowy area where the Commonwealth is already carrying out large works—the TVA13 started off as a water conservation and use authority and is now a large thermal power producing authority.)

Professor Baxter also said that if such a scheme were part of the N.S.W. and Victorian systems it would be possible to take the station off-line as required by the research and experimental features which would be associated with it.

[matter omitted]

  1. It became clear that pumped storage really has nothing to do with the proposition. The question is the old one of whether nuclear power is competitive with conventional power and if not, what subsidy would be required from the Commonwealth Government assuming noneconomic reasons were involved.

(Sir William Hudson said it was clearly a question of subsidy and the study ought to be started on the premise that such a station would be installed for non-economic reasons. I repeated that it was a question of degree of subsidy and the answer in this respect would be greatly influenced by the location of the station and its size.)

[matter omitted]

[NAA: A3092, TS221/3/3/1/3/1 part 5]