NZ-Fiji-Tonga Nuclear Power Treaty negotiated?
"A consortium of Taiwanese and New Zealand electricity generators have agreed to construct two nuclear power stations that will float inside one of Tonga's southern reefs, providing for the next 30 years of electricity growth for three South Pacific countries according to statements today by Taiwan's Secretary for Energy. An official in the New Zealand Energy Ministry has said initial discussions were still proceeding but would give no details. Environmental groups are expected to heavily oppose any nuclear station on the remote atolls.
State-owned companies from both countries along with private interests and government-owned Fiji and Tongan power utilities are also expected to contribute to the venture which plans to list on international stock exchanges as early as next year. Tonga has hinted before that negotiations concerning it's claimed Minerva reefs were underway with members of both an Asian country and neighbours Fiji and New Zealand. Secret meetings are believed by industry analysts and local media to have been successfully concluded in Nuku'alofa, the island kingdom's capital, that will be the recipient of a small share of the station's planned 2 GigaWatt output.
The Minerva reefs are located at the southern-most intersection of Fiji and Tonga's maritime boundary. The reefs themselves will form part of a new Tongan, Fijian and New Zealand jointly administered territory. The treaty will settle all claims in the disputed area and effect the Exclusive Economic Zones of all three countries. The northern reef will become an "international heritage reserve" and will be safeguarded from development while the southern reef, also ecologically delicate, will be sacrificed for the construction of the power stations and their ancillary services. It is thought that one cable each will transmit electricity to Tonga and Fiji. One cable each from Whangarei and Auckland at the North of New Zealand's North Island will connect to Minerva to supply that power-strapped country's growing demand."
I can hardly believe it. Do you?
The map is here and picsalso are here.
If we absolutely have to have one then here is the location, between the Kermadecs and Tonga. This would consolidate our geo-political and economic position in the region and it is only slightly further away from Auckland than the Southern Lakes.
I can see Pete Hodgson defending it already: "Building bridges to the Pacific... pathways to prosperity... partnerships for development... making nature work... harnessing the elements - sharing our Earth's energy... balancing burdens - creating oppurtunities... the eco-friendly option..."