Toxic and terminal: How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities

Toxic and terminal: How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities is the result of exhaustive research, Freedom of Information searches, surveillance of Australia’s major power stations and advice from health experts and industry whistleblowers.

The report finds:

  • Coal-fired power stations emit more than 30 toxic substances and are Australia’s biggest source of fine particles (PM2.5), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
  • These substances cause and contribute to asthma, lung cancer, heart attacks, stroke, respiratory disease, headaches and nausea in nearby communities.
  • In most cases emissions limits in Australia are much more lax than those in the US, EU and China.
  • Mercury limits for some NSW power stations are 666 times higher than the US limits.
  • Pollution reduction technologies that have been available for many years and are used overseas could significantly reduce power station emissions but are not in use in Australia.
  • New coal-fired power stations, even those described as ‘ultra-super critical’ or ‘HELE’ (high efficiency, low emission) only marginally reduce toxic emissions
  • Despite much evidence of failure to comply with pollution licence conditions, no power station in Victoria, NSW or Queensland has been prosecuted for any offence in the past ten years (instead they have been issued with inadequate penalty notices).

Read the full report Toxic and terminal: How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities (PDF, 4MB)

Read the executive summary and recommendations

Fact sheets

Coal-fired power stations and health

Your rights and coal-fired power stations in Victoria

Your rights and coal-fired power stations in New South Wales

Sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen: health impacts and options for pollution control

Stories of people and coal-fired power stations

Charmian Eckersley, Eraring resident

Dr Ben Ewald, Newcastle GP

Gary Blaschke OAM, community disability advocate, NSW central coast  

Irene Proebsting, Latrobe Valley resident

Mike Campbell OAM, community leader, NSW central coast

Bev Smiles, Hunter Communities Network

Graeme Wilson, Latrobe Valley resident  

 

 

Toxic and terminal - report cover

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