Sections

Services

Information

UK United Kingdom

Why don’t Australians see nuclear as a climate change solution?

In a paper recently published in Energy Policy, we (along with another colleague from Cardiff University in Wales) reported our survey of Australians' opinions about nuclear energy and global climate change…

A lack of debate in Australia about nuclear power may mean we’re not seriously considering it. Flickr: CaptPiper

In a paper recently published in Energy Policy, we (along with another colleague from Cardiff University in Wales) reported our survey of Australians' opinions about nuclear energy and global climate change.

We did the first nationwide survey in 2010, and repeated it in 2012 following the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and the damage to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Complex in Japan. The surveys were balanced geographically and demographically to reflect the profile of the Australian population.

We wanted to do the study because of the lack of debate in Australia about the possible role of nuclear energy as one means of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. The muted discussion about nuclear power is especially curious given that Australia is a major exporter of uranium.

The results (see Table 1) show surprising unanimity. A clear majority of respondents believe the climate is changing (74% and 73% in 2010 and 2012 respectively), are concerned about these changes (69% and 63%) and are convinced people are at least in part responsible (74% and 73%).

Table 1: Respondents' concerns and opinions about climate change. McAneney et al

But of course the real question is not whether the earth has warmed since mid-last century - it demonstrably has - but what can or should be done about it? And how quickly?

One of our colleagues, Roger Pielke Jr, posits what he refers to as an immutable law of economics: people will not voluntarily accept a reduction in today’s living standards to reduce future warming. In other words, given a conflict between policies promoting economic growth and those restricting carbon dioxide, economic growth will win every time.

He says, and we agree, that new technological solutions will be needed to resolve this dilemma.

This also seems to be broadly the view of the Australian public. Expanding the use of renewable energy sources (71%) is the most popular option, followed by energy-efficient technologies (58%) and behavioural change (54%).

In both years more than 90% of respondents were against taxes and levies designed to encourage behavioural change and investment and development in clean energy technologies.

Our surveys cannot explain what influences public perception. We cannot rule out the possibility that in opposition, Tony Abbott and his colleagues were successful in leading public opinion on these issues. But the new government seems to have read the mood of the nation correctly by promising to abolish the carbon tax and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

More than 50% of survey respondents either had no opinion or disagreed (tend to/strongly) with the statement “climate change is likely to have a big impact on people like me”. A further 46% had no opinion or they disagreed (tend to/strongly) with the statement “my local area is likely to be affected by climate change”.

It may be that the leap from warming at a global level to impacts at a local level makes it difficult to personalise the possible risks.

Returning to the question of nuclear power, our post-Fukushima survey showed that more Australians oppose it than support it (53% versus 30%). We found 40% of respondents are not willing to accept nuclear power as an option to help tackle climate change, despite the fact that most believed it to offer a cleaner, more efficient option than coal.

Given the low level of public discussion on nuclear issues in Australia, it is possible that many of the responses are conditioned by instinctive rather than informed reactions to the technology. And certainly a large proportion of respondents in both surveys (59% and 49%) felt the need to more information before feeling confident about forming a clear opinion.

But regardless of whether more information will help them decide their position on nuclear power, the negative perception will continue to be a major obstacle against future development of a nuclear power industry in Australia even when it is advanced as a partial solution to global climate change.

Join the conversation

312 Comments sorted by

  1. Marc Hendrickx

    Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

    Goes to show that it's going to take some time to balance over 50 years of propaganda from the anti nuclear lobby.

    report
    1. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Its nothing to do with propaganda for me Marc. I completely understand that a nuke is safe while it is under control. The problem is when it is not under control, it has no automatic brake. You cannot stop it.

      report
    2. Mike Brisco

      Scientist at Flinders University of South Australia

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      ..and the 50 years of propaganda from the pro-nuclear lobby?

      E.g the Sellafield/Windscale visitors centre? Those friendly emails I get from ANSTO, inviting me to use their services in my resarch, and attend their conferences? .

      report
    3. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Les,

      Your comment demonstrates that your beliefs are based on the propaganda you have been getting for the past 50 years.

      Can't you understand that nuclear power is the safest way to generate electricity? That includes all health and safety risk throughout the entire life cycle. It includes the risks (consequence x probability) of severe accidents.

      Even when nuclear accidents happen, like Chernobyl, the fatalities are few compared with fossil fuels operating normally. And there is not point proposing renewable energy because it cannot substitute for fossil fuels to provide a large proportion of the world's electricity. So the only realistic alternative is nuclear.

      If nuclear replaced coal for electricity generation world wide about 500,000 fatalities would be avoided per year. That is what you need to get your head around.

      report
    4. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Mike Brisco

      Your comment suggests you suffer from radiation phobia and nuclear paranoia. That is evidence you have swallowed the nuclear propaganda. It also suggests you are incapable of objective research.

      report
    5. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Mr Lang, my post clearly states that I understand that Nukes are safe so long as nothing goes wrong. And I do.

      Are you prepared to state, without qualification, that Chernobyl, is a worst case scenario?

      report
    6. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Les,

      I already addressed the risk of accidents. Read the article and try to understand.

      Nothing is perfectly safe, but nuclear is the safest way to generate electricity. Anything else has higher risk and causes more fatalities.

      How much plainer can I make it?

      report
    7. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter, that comment is little more than personal abuse and offers no substantive evidence to rebut Mike's perfectly fair comment that there has also been a considerable body of pro-nuclear 'propaganda' over the last 50 years. If you were a kid in the 60s, like I was, you shouldn't need reminding of the breathless bossterism we were regularly subjected to.

      Please don't attack me in the predictable way - I am not disputing the industry's right to put its case forward, merely noting that the flow of argument has hardly been one way.

      report
    8. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Peter Lang

      'Anything else'? Wind? Solar? Hydro? Geo-thermal?

      Are you really trying to propose that nuclear is safer than these options?

      I completely agree with your argument that nuclear is less dangerous (so far) that coal but it is a huge leap from there to claim that it is either the SAFEST way to generate electricity or the only effective low-carbon way to do so.

      report
    9. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      " Peter, the problem is that there is substantial evidence, initially from Beyond Zero but more recently from the thoroughly disinterested AEMO, "
      Felix, the report from Beyond Zero and modelling/projections from anyone are hardly substantial evidence.
      Even many of the solar plants that reports/projections are based on are in their infancy as far as longer term operations and reliability goes.
      And then if I recall correctly Beyond Zero had a reliance on fuelled boilers for raising steam without too much detail on just where the fuel would be coming from or how!

      report
    10. Ken Fabian

      Mr

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Who in mainstream politics is going to counter the anti-nuclear lobby? When are they going to start? Where were they when climate emerged as a serious issue?

      The LNP aren't even trying to defend nuclear, let alone promote it. If they'd accepted the science and rose to the challenge we would have seen a couple of decades of actual effort by a mainstream party to promote nuclear and counter anti-nuclear's more egregious talking points. They have failed to do so and it's their own doing, not the…

      Read more
    11. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Suzy, when the SECV was a fully state owned utility, I am pretty sure the entity of the sate was the insurer, claims for public liability rather minimal I would have thought though that may have changed in recent years with a few events in the LV.
      The SECV has also gone through a privatisation process over many years and yes with private ownership there is no doubt a requirement for insurance.
      If a Nuclear PS was not to be insurable for commercial reasons, it would give a reason why a nuclear plant ought to be state owned, either by a state or the commonwealth and they be the insurer which could in fact be a godsend for we all know how insurance companies like to make money and someone is paying for that.

      report
    12. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      >""'Anything else'? Wind? Solar? Hydro? Geo-thermal? Are you really trying to propose that nuclear is safer than these options? "

      Gees! How many times do I have to repeat it? The answer is Yes!. Get that yet? The answer is yes! Now read the link and go to the studies if you want to dig deeper. None of this is new. We've known all this for over 30 years. Read the 1982 book "Energy Risk Assessment" and the US EPA studies of the early 1980s.

      Is it any wonder I get frustrated with people like you, Felix.

      report
    13. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix, surely you are not still believing the discredited nonsense from Beyond Zero Emissions are you?

      "Conclusions

      We have reviewed the “Zero Carbon Australia – Stationary Energy Plan” by Beyond Zero Emissions. We have evaluated and revised the assumptions and cost estimates. We conclude:
      • The ZCA2020 Stationary Energy Plan has significantly underestimated the cost and timescale required to implement such a plan.
      • Our revised cost estimate is nearly five times higher than the estimate…

      Read more
    14. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Ken Fabian

      Ken Fabian,

      LNP is not the problem. The opposition to nuclear power comes from Labor, the Greens and the environmental NGOs.

      LNP took pro nuclear policies to the elections in 1993 and 2007. Labor ran anti nuke scare campaigns. LNP will not put it on the agenda again until Labor changes its policy.

      report
    15. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Peter Lang

      "Anything else has higher risk and causes more fatalities" I apologize, I am unaware of the high death rate associated with Hydro,sorry.

      "How much plainer can I make it?" I do not want things perfectly safe, I want to know, for as certain as possible, what the real risk is and the potential magnitude. To this end, you may make it plainer, by answering my question.

      Mr Lang, as far as referrals to articles goes, I do not read anti nuke, pro-nuke, pro-renewable, anti renewable,pro-green or anti-green. All that ALL of you people have to do, to be disgusting tabloid advertising, is offer to throw in some steak knives. There is that much spin, from both sides, one could start a yo-yo farm.

      report
    16. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      >"I am unaware of the high death rate associated with Hydro,sorry"

      That's because you don't read the links or don't understand them!!!!.

      Hydro = 0.1 fatalities per TWh (Europe)
      Hydro = 1.4 fatalities per TWh (world average)
      Nuclear = 0.04 fatalities per TWh.

      Snowy Mountains had 1 fatality per mile of tunnel, plus power stations and and dams, roads, etc.

      report
    17. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Mike Brisco

      "... emails I get from ANSTO, inviting me to use their services in my resarch ..."

      Depending on what you require, beams of neutrons, X-rays, electrons can be quite useful imaging technologies. Using them is in no way endorsement of some nuclear plutocracy.

      report
    18. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Mr Lang, I would suggest that you do not make claims such as

      "Can't you understand that nuclear power is the safest way to generate electricity"

      Really? the safest? safer than solar? how is solar dangerous?

      report
    19. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      It is not just safe;

      "Can't you understand that nuclear power is the safest way to generate electricity"

      Apparently it is the SAFEST form of energy - I don't buy it but of course I ahve 50 years of propaghanda in me right?

      report
    20. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Yes, Mark,
      That's it to a T.
      As a generalisation:
      People who might otherwise be active in public promotion of nuclear electricity have known for decades that it is largely pointless because of laws preventing it; they have gone on to do productive work elsewhere. They rarely have special interest group involvement. Change the laws, then you'll hear more.
      People who oppose nuclear power in public have front organisations that do most of the talking, while the members sit by and let it all happen +/- doing anything productive as well. So the public hears much more anti-nuclear talk, than pro-nuclear. Such people, as a group, have less respect for the law and ally themselves with rent-a-crowds.
      Too many people wit time on their hands promoting ideology. A press compliant with anti-nuc groups (do 40% of ABC staff vote greens as one survey is said to have found?).
      When Australian pollies finally wake up, the plants will be built irrespective of protest.

      report
    21. Rosco Hamilton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael Shand

      People who install solar panels on roofs have a habit of falling off and breaking their necks.
      No kidding, it really happens. Its a bit like driving cars. Think of how many people die on australian roads each year? Yet we still speed, still dont slow down when overtaking cyclists and still get agro at someone slowing us down 2 seconds in our hurry to get to the next red light. Imagine if that many people died in a terrorist attack each year? Our response would be totally different.

      Similar sort of thing with nuclear. 36 odd people died in Chernobyl due to radiation exposure and it was an emotive issue. One person falling off the roof and breaking their neck per week doesnt really make headlines though.

      report
    22. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Les,
      Correction, all nuclear plants have very extensive brake systems. They are braked to a stop or off full power at planned intervals for maintenance and new fuel insertion.
      Fukushima was overwhelmed by being very close to one of the most powerful earthquakes ever measured, in a shallow sea able to form tsunamis. The critical design failure was to put backup electrical generation out of the reach of the large tsunami.

      report
    23. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Mike Brisco

      Mike,
      What is your specific gripe with ANSTO? I found them to be both knowledgeable and competent.

      report
    24. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix,
      Yes, in the last 3 decades the actual safety figures for nuclear are better than for alternative energy especially when expressed in events for unit of electricity produced.

      report
    25. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Rosco Hamilton

      Are you really that dishonest? the way you cherry pick your data is amazing.

      So first of all lets deal with the 36 from chernoble - sure only 36 died...but is that the end of it? like after the 36 passed away you seem to suggest (Or atleast conviently leave out) whether or not that area is considered SAFE

      so when we are talking about Safety - lets talk about safety and not just fatalitys

      I mean even if we were talking about fatality's - you said one person breaks there neak every week falling…

      Read more
    26. Brett Forbes

      Technology Developer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Hi Boss,

      I'm tremendously disappointed in the thrust of your argument.

      I know you have a deep grasp on the scientific understory, seen it through our discussions, yet when you have a chance to lead you default to the superficial, poorly considered surface story of std nuclear. Really???? I expect better from you!

      Surely you understand that uranium is the wrong fuel for nuclear, and in fact thorium would be much more effective, and solve most of the storage issues as well. Thorium is superior as a fission fuel from the technical perspective, yet it has languished due to politics.

      Thus, your support for uranium-based fission, dooms your ideas to being ill-considered if you wish a full technical debate.

      How can I enjoy my debates with you if your starting position is so weak?

      report
    27. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Good day, Mr Sherrington. I am aware that when reactors are in control, that they are able to be stopped for routine maintenance, fuel rod insertion etc. My post was that once out of control that they cannot be stopped. In short, even though the ancillary and service systems are non functional, the process continues.

      The Chernobyl accident, actually occurred during a maintenance procedure. I am also aware that that particular reactor was not encased, compounding the problems of the smoke from…

      Read more
    28. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Brett Forbes

      Brett,
      I've already written that there are many variations of design of reactors based on physics, matters like decay chains, waste products & management etc.
      While it's recreational to rummage through these variations, it's academic unless and until a political decision is made to lift restrictive laws and associated disincentives in this fine Country.
      My personal preference (and that is not worth anything) is to go Joint Venture with China with their ACP1000, initially with a couple of these uranium fuelled reactors, for Australia.
      With proper management, Australia could get these built without the lead in the saddle that many other countries face with silly, crowd-pleasing social cost components.

      report
    29. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Ken Fabian

      I notice the new government has put Ziggy in charge of the NBN.

      I'm guessing that it's only a brief matter of time before they dust off Ziggy's 2006 report "Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy - Opportunities for Australia" and rejig a new report from the perspective of decarbonisation of our heavy industry and energy economy. It will probably be mooted as one of their alternatives measures to meet their stated GHG mitigaion objectives (to reduce emissions by 5 to 15 or 25% of 2000…

      Read more
    30. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      I mean't

      "Certainly building a couple of dozen of 1 GW reactors by 2050 as per the 2006 report would enable them to work towards reducing Ausltralias predicted energy EMISSIONS in the longer term."

      report
    31. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      Fred,
      I hope that they do not dust off the Ziggy report from 7-8 years ago.
      It was far too pessimistic about costs and lead times estimated for Australia. In recent times, more and more demonstration of costing & build times from China is showing this pessimism.
      One might even think that it was composed with a view to delaying Australia's inevitable move into nuclear.

      report
    32. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      That's a big call considering how I recall that Ziggy was chairman of ANSTO at the time.

      "One might even think that it was composed with a view to delaying Australia's inevitable move into nuclear."

      But don't also forget that the Zwitowski report could not foresee and factor in anything like the observed impact of renewables in the reduction in the domestic energy electricity market. So the economies definitey need to be looked at again and may in fact be less favourable now.

      Anyway - you don't have to worry. I'll eat my hat if there isn't, within the next year or two at the latest, a brand new look taken at the economies and carbon benefits of an Australian Nuclear Energy Industry rollout.

      report
    33. Brett Forbes

      Technology Developer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Hi Boss,

      I too would have gone for one of the chinese pebble reactors, if I had just surface skimmed the matter. After all they have impressive tech and avoid the chance of going critical by their design.

      But a deeper look shows that the main issue lies in the long-half life of the waste, and that if this were solved, then there would be few issues. Since you cannot point to any man-made structures which are >500,000 yrs old, there must be some risk to storage (i.e. assuming they don't just…

      Read more
    34. Rosco Hamilton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael Shand

      My post is riddled with "I'm not going to take half an hour out of my working day to do a literature review".

      I'm just trying to make the point re:nuclear being an emotive issue.
      It has already been mentioned several times in this discussion and referenced that nuclear power is the safest option per terawatt hour. Nuclear is the safest option, solar does kill more people per terawatt hour. End of story.

      As for the use of land afterwards, good point. I don't know whether that land should be considered 'safe'.
      I am cautiously opposed to nuclear power when considerations like security, land use, time frame for building and the lack of experts in Australia to run an industry are taken in to account. Though I am open to being convinced; not that change my mind is of any significance.

      And Christopher Reeve died in 2004.

      report
    35. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Greg North

      So, you choose to attack Beyond Zero but ignore the AEMO. Is this simply because you're not silly enough to attempt to discredit their work by inuendo, as you are with BZE?

      And how come nuclear technologies are fine when they are still on the drawing board (fourth generation, thorium, etc.), but renewable technologies have to be 100% commercially operative before they are taken seriously? Something about geese and sauce springs to mind.

      report
    36. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Peter Lang

      The snowy was built in were constructed between 1949 and 1974 H& S was not considered very relevant, it is now. Not a very valid example I would suggest. If it was built now I would suggest the fatalities would be considerably less!
      I would be interested in where these stats come from by the way. Who funded the research?

      report
    37. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Maybe if you stopped talking abusive crap, Peter, I'd take you seriously. Maybe if you actually posted the link you mention I could look at it critically. In the meantime, the mere fact that you repeat things, or cite a couple of very old references (why am I reminded of Graham Lloyd sticking that 1980s furphy about noise from wind turbines on one of his recent ridiculous pieces in The Australian?) particularly in this ill-mannered way, does not make them true.

      report
    38. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      Fred, What a wonderfully succienct piece of input. Provides a clear and concise statement of facts Thanks.
      Re the NBN I am sure the LNP has a clear idea of what Ziggy will say;)

      report
    39. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Gosh, if I'd known it was from Brave New Climate which, as everyone knows, is the voice on earth of the almighty, I might have realised my folly.

      In the meantime, if you have any impartial, professional references I might take them seriously.

      report
    40. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Rosco Hamilton

      How many people are injured constructing nuclear power plants or mining uranium, Rosco?

      [I was here, of course, assuming you are actually interested in making fair comparisons, rather than mere propaganda.]

      report
    41. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Rosco Hamilton

      Rosco Hamilton,

      You asked several good questions that I recognise are concerts for others too:

      1. “As for the use of land afterwards, good point. I don't know whether that land should be considered 'safe'. “

      The land is safe after decommissioning of the power station. It is far safer than after releases of chemicals – the Homebush Bay are where the4 Olympics were conducted is far more toxic than after a nuclear power plant … and the toxins do not decay over time!!. Here is a site on the…

      Read more
    42. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Rosco Hamilton

      No, Rosco, certain limited measures demonstrate that, so far, nuclear has produced fewer directly attributable deaths. That's along way from proving it is the safest.

      report
    43. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Martin Male

      Martin Male,

      It is true that OH&S has improved since the Snowy was built. But if you follow the analyses of energy risk assessment, they compare the fatalities per TWh for all electricity generation technologies since about 1960, and they normalise for various changing conditions. Any way you look at it, nuclear is the safest way to generate electricity and safer then hydro.

      Don't you find it strange that there has only been one major nuclear power station accident in the past 56 years with significant fatalities (i.e. Chernobyl with 31 immediate fatalities and about another 20 directly attributed in the 27 years since), yet the many thousands that have occurred in other energy technologies get only a passing mention. Are you aware of how many people were killed in hydro failures in Italy, USA, China and Russia? If not, why not?

      report
    44. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Brett Forbes

      Brett,
      Your fundamental mistake is the non-physics assumption that waste has to be managed for 500,000 years. Do your homework.

      report
    45. Brett Forbes

      Technology Developer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Hi Boss,

      Ok then, from Wikipedia....

      "Of particular concern in nuclear waste management are two long-lived fission products, Tc-99 (half-life 220,000 years) and I-129 (half-life 15.7 million years), which dominate spent fuel radioactivity after a few thousand years. The most troublesome transuranic elements in spent fuel are Np-237 (half-life two million years) and Pu-239 (half-life 24,000 years)."

      So you could take my statement of 500,000 years as a rough average, but clearly we could extend that further for Tc-99 and Np-237. Further U238 and U235 both have half lives between 0.5-1.7 million years.

      Still think you can demonstrate a man-made structure that can last this long?

      report
    46. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Rosco Hamilton

      "I'm just trying to make the point re:nuclear being an emotive issue"

      No you weren't, you got caught lying

      report
    47. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      But we'll have to get rid of all that nanny state red and green tape won't we... unleash the prometheus.

      Just look what these socialistic bureaucrats have done to that nice Tepco company in Fukushima ... but that wasn't the engineers' fault ... that was management, and an earthquake, and a wave and an old (but safe) reactor ... and heck they're on top of t now... everything's under control ... no problems that a bit of self-regulation and open slather can't fix...

      No I'm all for it - nuclear power for everyone ... North Korea, Iran, Yemen, some of those places in the old USSR with funny names ... anyone who wants one ... long as they've got good engineers what could possibly go wrong? Yep it'll answer all the world's prayers.

      report
    48. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Hi Peter I am not aware of "of how many people were killed in hydro failures in Italy, USA, China and Russia? If not, why not?" Simply because I have never heard of these accidents? There seems some conatenative message in your question? It has a belligerent tone in it. If I have not heard of it how can I be aware of it ?
      Once again I ask where is the data you quote? Who provided it and who funded it?

      report
    49. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Once gain Peter can I suggest a career move into stand up comedy, you are very witty;)

      report
    50. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Les your use of the word "nuke" suggests it will take some time to undo the damage. Nuclear power has the lowest death toll of energy source beating even solar and wind.

      Here's a good TEDX presentation that might help with the facts....
      Scary bananas: How environmental exaggeration harms emerging economies.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zJn4gxCx3c#t=40

      report
    51. Luke Weston

      Physicist / electronic engineer

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      It is stupid to start off with the pre-decided dogma that we must replace fossil fuelled electricity generation entirely using only wind and solar (and a fair bit of natural gas) and that nuclear power must not be allowed.

      Not impossible, just stupid.

      Much better to approach the problem with no ideology, and use whatever mix of technologies actually does the job of replacing all the fossil-fuelled generators as fast as possible and as cheaply as possible with as little technological risk as possible, and all the credible evidence certainly seems to indicate that nuclear energy will play a large role in the mix of technologies - although, remember, this is without an ideology that says it should or should not - that accomplish that solution.

      report
    52. Luke Weston

      Physicist / electronic engineer

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      "Peter, if nuclear is proven to be that safe, why then can generators not be insured as other energy providers are for public liability?"

      Um, because they actually can and are, and are legally required to be, in many countries, commercially insured to a degree above and beyond any other industry? Despite the proliferation of mendacious PRATT (Point Refuted A Thousand Times) memes to the contrary.

      report
    53. Luke Weston

      Physicist / electronic engineer

      In reply to David Arthur

      Oh but haven't you heard David? All nuclear science and technology, whether it's neutron optics, nuclear medicine, particle accelerators, whatever, is all just a part of the evil worldwide unified BIG NUCLEAR CONSPIRACY!

      report
    54. Luke Weston

      Physicist / electronic engineer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      In our efforts to drive down the price of rooftop solar photovoltaics a little bit, it falls to lower-income people in India and China to be up to their necks in silane, arsine and HF stamping out cells at the lowest possible price, blowing themselves through concrete walls in silane explosions and dumping silicon tetrachloride out into fields.

      report
    55. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to account deleted

      Mike,
      You were not able to know that I correspond with Greg including input into policy. So I don't really need this type of advice.
      While I applaud the enthusiasm of people getting involved here on TC, sometimes I feel like I'm enjoying a cool drink after running a marathon, while some people are just discovering not far from the start line that they chose inappropriate footwear for that marathon.
      I've not seen signs that research is, or is about to be strangled. However, and this is my view…

      Read more
    56. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Luke Weston

      Luke,
      You are correct to be concerned. In the early 70, my lab used a couple of Winchesters a week of concentrated hydrofluoric acid. If you read accounts of past deaths from it, you learn that it is a rather savage poison.
      However, it can be tamed. It is a useful compound.

      report
    57. Luke Weston

      Physicist / electronic engineer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es3051197?source=cen

      "Using historical production data, we calculate that global nuclear power has prevented an average of 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and 64 billion tonnes (CO2-equivalent) of greenhouse gas emissions that would have resulted from fossil fuel burning.

      On the basis of global projection data that take into account the effects of the Fukushima accident, we find that nuclear power could additionally prevent an average of 0.42-7.04…

      Read more
    58. Robert Tony Brklje
      Robert Tony Brklje is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Past history would tend too indicate that nuclear power is not safe under private or autocratic government control (interestingly enough they to treat risk in much the same manner, someone else's problem).
      Nuclear power could be handled safely if built and operated by democratic governments with full public auditing of management, control, safety and waste disposal.
      For Australians to feel safer with nuclear, it would really take a more public approach to safe reactor research under CSIRO and with full government and public review.
      Private industry with psychopath corporate executives chasing this quarters bonus, whilst readying their golden parachutes, whilst planning to socialise the costs after privatising the profits, seriously is not the way to go and will never be accepted.
      It might be interesting how it would develop if private industry is forced into renewables only whilst only government can own and operate nuclear.

      report
    59. In reply to Luke Weston

      Comment removed by moderator.

    60. Dhugal Fletcher

      Critical Thinker

      In reply to Luke Weston

      Your misleading statement is misleading. There is no insurer who will cover a major incident anywhere in the world. There are insurers who will cover the minor amounts generally contained in legislation made to support the nuclear industry.

      Here's a rundown on what the insurance actually covers:

      http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Safety-of-Plants/Liability-for-Nuclear-Damage/#.UlxVEVBBN8E

      Here's a rundown on the cost of a major incident:

      http://newsonjapan.com/html/newsdesk/article/89987.php

      Read more
    61. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Anything else? solar? Wind? Waves? Thermal?

      The real problem with nuclear apart from the enormous cost, the led time to build reactors, the waste et cetera is the undeniable risk is that uranium is a finite resource.

      Yet another expensive fuel dug out of the earth at a cost to the earth and profits for the few.

      report
    62. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Newton

      The technology for extracting uranium from sea water was investigated, years ago, and found to be quite easy in a technical sense. It is expensive, but it provides a huge back-up resource if it is ever needed.

      report
    63. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Luke Weston

      So you are connecting slave labour conditions with solar....but I see your still using your computer?

      beside being an asinine point - ie. the answer to slave labour is not to shut down the entire solar panel industry as you imply but merely source panels elsewhere

      as in, this isn't a renewable energy problem - this is a larger economic problem

      Your clutching at straws, this is really desperate and dishonest

      report
    64. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Luke Weston

      Again clutching at straws, you are not making the point you think your making.

      What you imply is that because Nuke's are cleaner than coal - that means that they have saved all those lives

      that is very stretching, you can take it further if you want, Nuke's not only saved air pollution deaths but Nuke's prevented theoritical oil spills

      ie./ spills that would of happened had we not used nuclear power

      All of this, although flimsy, is a great argument for Nuke's over coal

      it doesn't address whether Nuke's are preferable to Solar at all

      DId you know that solar saved us from thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste being produced and potentially dumped in the ocean?

      see how this game works?

      report
    65. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      We can mine many minerals from the ocean, not just uranium

      that doesn't address John's point at all though

      a good technique I find is to change the subject and see if your argument holds wieght.

      ie. The problem with oil beside CO2 is you have to continously dig it up, transport, process etc and it is a finite resource

      Response: But there is heaps of coal in and under the ocean that we can dig up

      see how the response didn't address the concerns raised - finite, eneergy required to process transport, politicians do this all the time, you ask em a question and they start blabbing about something vaguely related to that topic but without addressing the point raised

      report
    66. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Luke Weston

      Correct Luke. Evidence for the Big Nuclear Conspiracy is found in these pages in uncritical boosterism for nuclear power.

      I search such articles (https://theconversation.com/low-carbon-electricity-must-be-fit-for-service-and-nuclear-power-is-8605, https://theconversation.com/pro-nuclear-greenies-thinking-outside-the-box-with-pandoras-promise-18941) in vain for acknowledgement that nuclear power stations may not be suitable for every location and for every application in Australia.

      I conclude…

      Read more
    67. Ken Fabian

      Mr

      In reply to Peter Lang

      The LNP backed down at the first opportunity and never seriously campaigned for nuclear or against anti-nuclear activism. They are willing to promote climate science denial in order to protect fossil fuels but they cannot bring themselves to promote the truth about an irreversible climate problem and actually back nuclear.

      If they accepted the seriousness of the problem they would promote a serious solution; by purposefully undermining community awareness and concern about climate they have undermined community acceptance of the need for nuclear.

      report
    68. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Mr Hendrickx, my use of the word Nukes, is not a symbol of prejudice. I understand that the science is sound. I am not one of the nuts running around with placards, calling for a return to cave dwelling,

      My concern with Nukes, is that they are run, by business, for business, as is everything else in power generation. And my concern with potential accident, which is inevitable, is not primarily environmental. The environment, in the long term, will repair itself with adaption.

      It is in the short term cost, mainly human and economic, where my concern rests. The cost to the public, of a major accident, may not outweigh the overall benefit to the public of generation with nukes, but does put a big dent in it.
      To put this in perspective for you, put Chernobyl in Newcastle, on the NSW coast, consider the landscape (coastal valley and plain, surrounded by mountains) and prevailing wind, blowing to shore.

      We need to be very careful with this.

      report
    69. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to John Newton

      Indeed. John.

      For those who like to argue that putting spent rods and other contaminated items back into the ground is the same a leaving it underground, miss the point that leaving the raw uranium where it is, undisturbed is the best storage for this non-renewable form of energy. My point is in regard to using uranium (or thorium) as the primary source in Australia for energy demands.

      I do not have issues with use in scientific/medical research and application. The quantities required are…

      Read more
    70. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna,
      You write about "miss the point that leaving the raw uranium where it is".
      The point is that a great deal of energy, per weight of uranium, is extracted for the benefit of mankind before it is eventually re-stored underground.
      When it is stored, all you have to do to be safe is stay a mile or so away from it. That's pretty easy to do, unless you want to get close to make trouble.
      Do you want to do a few grams of U or a few tonnes of coal? Or do you want to sit in the dark and shiver?
      Scenarios are OK so long as they are connected with reality.

      report
    71. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to David Arthur

      David,
      I'm not boosting anything. I'm alone, there is no pro-nuclear conspiracy that I'm aware of.
      There is an obligation for Australia to get the best method of low-cost, reliable electricity.
      Windmills need backup, the best practical way at the moment is gas turbine, which is expensive but flexible.
      No amount of wishing will change graphs like this one from Great Britain. The time period was not cherry picked. The author wrote the article on the day after the last point on the graph.
      http://www.geoffstuff.com/Irregular%20windJ.jpg

      report
    72. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Michael,
      There are International Conventions of long standing that prohibit dumping at sea.
      So far as I know, most in the nuclear industry have no inclination at all to dump waste into the sea, partly because it has a residual value after fuel rod use.

      report
    73. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to account deleted

      Mike,
      You write "As anyone who has worked in a uranium mine can testify to..... Which has the potential of invoking emotive responses from wives of sick nuclear workers & Sarah Hanson young"
      I've worked in uranium mines and I have absolutely no idea what you are blathering on about.

      report
    74. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Why would I want either?

      "few grams of U or a few tonnes of coal"

      That is not a choice we have to make. Ever.

      Does your brain have a filter switch that brings your neurons to a grinding halt whenever someone mentions wind, solar, hydro, thermal, geo-thermal...?

      Back to sleep Geoffrey, there's a good boy - hopefully a good mile away from any uranium natural deposits or stored.... coz you just never know with radiation now do you?

      report
    75. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "There is an obligation for Australia to get the best method of low-cost, reliable electricity." Correct. Define "best"; does it include needless waste of Australia's fresh water and dumping of warmed cooling water into temperature-sensitive inshore ecosystems?

      Geographically distributed power generation is good for engendering supply resilience, something we may not even need if there were no climate extremes.

      Is GB what you call geographically distributed? I understand Point Hicks…

      Read more
    76. Sarah Glass
      Sarah Glass is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired scientist/technologist

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna, and we are already generating 15% of our power from renewables, which is not insignificant.

      Other countries are doing better, with fewer renewable resources, but I am heartened to find we are doing so well, given the issues on this subject in this country!!

      report
    77. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Sarah Glass

      Sarah,
      The 15% (of which I am suspicious because it does not agree with other maximum estimates) has to be broken down by the definitions of renewables. Does it include hydo (how many % of total?), biomass burning (%), etc.

      report
    78. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to David Arthur

      David,
      If you are concerned with small quantities of mildly heated fresh water being put into the sea, consistency on your part would demand that you are concerned by the changes in sea temperature from summer to winter, day to night.

      report
    79. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Mr Sherrington, you miss my point, which is that if warmed water is discharged into a semi- or fully enclosed embayment (Spencer Gulf and Lake Macquarie are respective examples of these), then that warmed water is a disturbance of the local ecosystem.

      For those of you who weren't listening the first time, may I point out yet again that "dumping of warmed cooling water into temperature-sensitive inshore ecosystems" is problematic - as evidenced by the aforementioned examples.

      report
    80. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Yes, my point was playing hypotheticals is a never ending game

      so stating that nuclear saved this many lives because it reduced air pollution which might of reduced respitory problems which might have killed someone

      I can do the same with anything, ie. solar panels saved X many mining related deaths - it didn't, but it might have

      hypotheticals are fun

      report
    81. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Yes, I was quoting the person you replied to, but understand that the context may have been lost as this thread as exploded

      report
    82. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to David Arthur

      David,
      I suspect that if you estimated the temperature change to a Spencer's Gulf or a Lake Macquarie, from inputs such as water volume and water temperature increment, you would get a warming too low to be measured. I do not dispute that you could measure a higher temperature adjacent to outfalls, but over the whole bay/lake system, no go. I'm quite willing to be corrected if I'm wrong.

      report
    83. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Mr Sherrington, perhaps you could refer to "IMPACT FROM THE OCEAN/LAND INTERFACE" (http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/publications/south-east/pubs/impact-ocean-land.pdf). It has a section on thermal discharges.

      Following is a huge copy and dump quote from the document; sorry for that, but it does show the point I'm making, which is that local disturbance to finely tuned ecosystems may have major impacts.

      "Thermal waters are discharged from a number of power stations, as well as from…

      Read more
    84. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to David Arthur

      David,
      Thank you for a thorough reply. My theme was a general one, noting that water area the size of a Lake Macquarie have a huge capacity to take heat such as that from industry. There is no doubt that organisms can be affected, but these are also affected by diurnal and seasonal temperature changes.
      These days, there are many, many papers that hypothesis that certain effects are possible in a system, but comparatively few that provide quantitative, credible data in the form of figures.
      Which of your references has the most detailed measurements and calculations?

      report
    85. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Thanks for the compliment Mr Sherrington. My theme is also of a general nature, which is that persistent changes to temperature ranges, even small changes, can and do have substantial ecological impacts.

      While there are many papers that hypothesise certain effects, the papers to which I refer themselves make reference to observations in the relevant bodies of water.

      Since the data are available and referenced, and I am not a qualified ecologist, I heed the views of those whose career it is to study these bodies of water. As such, I cannot answer your last question, although I see there are several further references to the article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_pollution; if it is of sufficient importance to you, perhaps you could contact the authors of the papers for further information?

      report
    86. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to David Arthur

      I've written before about the hazards of lettin g engineers anywhere near dynamic systems... they relly don't understand them. They look at a lake or an ocean and say - it's all just water, all the same.

      But it ain't. Edges count. interfaces between different biological niches count big time. Pumping hot water into Lake Macquarie has altered the populations and distributions of sea grasses, fish species and yes corals. Sure it's only localised damage so far but the point is that it will not…

      Read more
    87. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      'Ecosystem' does not register on their (especially retired engineers) frame of reference.

      Noted similar difficulties with the comprehension of 'exponential'.

      Don't even try them on 'anthropogenic' they confuse this with 'anthropomorphic' and think anyone using this word is simply discussing Disney cartoons.

      Waste of valuable energy, really.

      report
  2. John Newlands

    tree changer

    I think in energy matters as in other topics (eg migration) the public likes limited gestures and hopes that the underlying problem will go away. Many people seriously want to believe wind and solar can be expanded from generating a few percent of all electricity to say 80%. Without fossil fuel backup that will prove very costly, precarious and intrusive. I expect later comments will show how strongly this high renewables belief is held.

    High cost and long build times don't help nuclear's cause…

    Read more
    1. John Doyle

      architect

      In reply to John Newlands

      Because of the arguments like yours, and I generally agree, Nuclear will become an essential option.
      The small modular reactors will be underground installations and will have major effects on developing economies, just like mobile phones have where the major infrastructure is lacking. Each town can have its own supply.
      It's the future.

      report
    2. Ken Fabian

      Mr

      In reply to John Newlands

      John, there is already an excess of fossil fuel generation. Little will need to be built especially to back up renewables, just selectively maintained for that role as excess is shut down. Storage has just not been much needed so far, even where there is high penetration of renewables. Nuclear can aim to be an alternative to backup capacity and competition to emerging storage but it's way behind the game and lacks any mainstream political backing in Australia - the weakness of support from conservative…

      Read more
    3. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Ken Fabian

      Ken,
      FF electrical generation will NOT be shut down in Australia for many decades yet.
      Swallow hard and accept it.

      report
  3. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    I have a 'great' photo of an anti-nuke ad by the Aussie coal industry claiming coal miners would lose their excellent jobs if nukes came Down Under.

    It appears in "Pandora's Promise" (on CNN, etc.) along with a similar ad used up here by the Oil Heat Institute to get the present NY Governor';s dad to shut down the perfectly safe Shoreham Long Island nuke around 1986. That bit of ad fibbery appears at about 1:53:20 here: www.thoriumremix.com/2011

    The irony I personally enjoy putting to my…

    Read more
    1. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Sorry Alex, but so what? At the present time it is impossible for Australia to have a major nuclear accident, we dont have big plants.

      as soon as we build them, an accident is inevitable. Unless you are prepared to say that we can operate these plants, without human error, or component failure, or other accident/event causing failure , for an indefinite period. I think the maths are against that idea.

      report
    2. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Yes, there will be accidents. But so what? What is the consequence in terms of fatalities per TWh of electricity generated and how does that compare with other alternatives to generate our electricity?

      If you want to understand this, read:
      "Deaths by energy source"
      http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html

      Go to the links to the authoritative sources if you want to dig deeper.

      report
    3. John Newlands

      tree changer

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Pandora's Promise had limited screenings in most Australian cities last week. The DVD could be purchased. After CNN shows it on free to air TV in the US I would be surprised if one of the Australian channels didn't show it.

      report
    4. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Mr Lang, I do not accept a single death as acceptable, do you?

      So other energy sources cause deaths, are you seriously suggesting this one is better, it doesn't kill as many?

      report
    5. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Yes!!! Nuclear is the safest way to generate electricity. Don't you understand plain English? Why don't you read the link?

      report
    6. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter, rather than resorting to abuse, why don't you have a go at tackling the argument that nuclear is safer than, say, wind or solar?

      You are the one who insists on using the superlative 'safest' rather than the more sober claim, that could be supported from the evidence, of 'less dangerous and damaging than coal' - though I'd still like to add Les's implied rider of 'unless something really blows up big time'

      report
    7. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      "... why don't you have a go at tackling the argument that nuclear is safer than, say, wind or solar?"

      Why are we bothering with this argument about which technology should be used to replace coal?

      Why don't we simply screw the price of coal use up and up and up until the pips squeak, and look for their own optimal non-coal solution?

      For remote locations and anywhere without large transmission infrastructure, domestic PV and wind power with battery storage will be the way to go.

      For large applications requiring huge amounts of 24/7 power eg aluminium refineries (and Molten Oxide Electrolysis iron and steel plants), nuclear power may be appropriate.

      report
    8. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to David Arthur

      That wouldn't bother me too much, David.

      I only get annoyed with nuclear boosters who keep presenting it as the only viable option and systematically downgrading the capacity of renewables, despite considerable evidence.

      report
    9. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      I get annoyed by nuclear boosters who reckon a one-for-one swap of nuclear for coal-fired power stations in the same locations with the same environment-destroying impact on inland water resources, is in any way acceptable.

      Of course nuclear power should be considered as PART OF the optimal response. However, such are our nuclear boosters that they cannot read the words "part of", not even when formatted in UPPER CASE.

      report
  4. David Roth

    Postgrad History Student

    <<But regardless of whether more information will help them decide their position on nuclear power, the negative perception will continue to be a major obstacle>>
    Dear Risk Experts,
    I think more information and more transparency can overcome negative public perceptions. Unfortunately, the 'low level' of public discussion of nuclear energy is not enhanced when leading advocates do not mention outstanding issues of concern, for example the costs and risks of long-term waste…

    Read more
    1. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Roth

      David Roth.

      >'I think more information and more transparency can overcome negative public perceptions."

      The information has been available for many decades. And it is virtually unchanged in that time. If anything, over that time, the analyses show nuclear is getting safer relative to the alternative technologies.

      The problem is not that the information is not available. It is that, because the first uses of nuclear energy were for bombs, the anti-nuke doomsayers have been very effective at running scare campaigns. That is the 50 years of anti-nuke propaganda referred to in the article. And the majority of Australians, and especially academics, have swallowed it.

      report
    2. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,
      I don't know how you have an insight into the minds of Australians and academics. I do not. People can reach conclusions different to yours or mine on technical subjects without necessarily having 'swallowed propaganda'. What has not changed over many decades is the lack of a proven solution for waste management. Plutonium's half-life of 24,000 years and its extreme toxicity have not changed. It cannot be stored too compactly because of the danger of criticality and it must be heavily guarded because it can be used in weapons by terrorist groups, criminals and rogue states. So it seems to me that managing it costs a lot and the long term risks are high.
      If, as you say, the information has always been available, I continue to be surprised that advocates do not give it.

      report
    3. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Roth

      David Roth,

      Because I've been following the debate for well over 30 years. I've seen numerous studies like those reported above many of which are authoritative and impartial. I've seen them from all over the OECD. And especially, the anti nuke tripe rolled out by most of the academics that post on the Conversation is one example of how academics are amongst the most anti nuke people of all.

      Many of the studies show very clearly that it is the least informed that are the most strongly anti-nukes. Often they are the pompous, arrogant academics from the soft disciplines.

      Your comments about nuclear waste are the usual ignorant, irrelevant, anti-nuke nonsense. But no point getting into a discussion on that - i am sure you are not going to listen. If you were interested, you'd research it on authoritative sites rather than the usual anti-nuke sites.

      report
    4. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter, I too have been studying nuclear issues for some time. And I did study nuclear physics and economics in addition to my current studies in a so-called 'soft' discipline. I have studied some of the papers you mentioned, but remain unconvinced about waste management. Insulting me as 'pompous, ignorant and arrogant' is just name-calling, not debate. It is hardly likely to persuade me to listen to you. Btw, which of my comments about the toxicity, half-left, criticality and management costs of Plutonium were incorrect, ignorant or irrelevant?

      report
    5. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter, degenerating into this kind of cliched spleen and sloganeering is hardly evidence of someone with confidence in his case - rather evidence of a position based as much on personal prejudice as reason.

      report
    6. Sean Manning

      Physicist

      In reply to Peter Lang

      The waste argument always amuses me. Do people realise that the radioactive material came from the ground int he first place? Putting it back (admittedly with some processing and precautions) shouldn't be a big deal.

      report
    7. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix,

      Only of you ignore costs. Renewables are far too costly. They are not viable and unlikely to be viable in the foreseeable future, if ever.

      report
    8. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix,

      My responses are a response to the normal practice of personal attacks by the regular inhabitants of the Conversation - I believe you are one of those who normally employs such tactics, right?

      report
    9. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter, these are your words <<Your comments about nuclear waste are the usual ignorant, irrelevant, anti-nuke nonsense>>. My marks would be in the cellar if I debated in this manner for my academic assignments. I have read the paper you referred to. Some of the points made seem contestable in a calm rational manner. It's a pity that nuclear power proponents haven't used this information to inform the public and haven't refrained from labelling their opponents.
      As for your comments about overseas nuclear reactors not causing concern to the locals, I lived in a small town in Europe with a nearby reactor built in the 70s. Not sure how statistically valid that is, but the locals talked about it quite a bit.Some people warned me to avoid cycling on the nearby bike path but I did anyway.

      report
    10. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Roth

      David Roth,

      I can understand why your marks might be in the cellar given your comments. If you don't like the way I write on threads like this, then ignore them or don't bother answering. It's your issue, not mine.

      What's the point of saying "some of the points are contestable". What a use;less statement. It's just point scoring drivel and adds nothing! And you have the hide to tell me what I should and shouldn't say.

      >" It's a pity that nuclear power proponents haven't used this information…

      Read more
    11. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Mr Lang, Sean Manning makes a good point in this thread about burying nuclear waste.

      I've long thought nuclear waste disposal wouldn't be much of a problem; perhaps it could be stored at Roxby Downs for backfill into spent diggings?

      As a geologist, can you comment on whether this is feasible?

      report
    12. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter, My marks are not in the cellar, quite the opposite. My concern is that when use these uncivil and brow-beating debating tactics and if your first resort is abuse, you hold up a mirror. You have absolutely no idea about with whom I talked with about nuclear power in Europe. It certainly included well-educated professionals. You can say whatever you like, but your tactics won't persuade. I am out of this thread.

      report
    13. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Peter Lang

      That wasn't what the AEMO study suggested. Though it showed renewables were more expensive than current costs, if you ignored the need for renewal of old existing infrastructure over the twenty year period considered, once you properly account for the need to rebuild 'conventional' infrastructure they are already getting close to being directly cost-competitive.

      If you properly accounted for externalities, of course, they would blow coal out of the water. That, I would agree, could possibly also be said for nuclear.

      Further, if the rapid decrease in costs that we have seen over the last decade or two for, say, solar continues at all then renewable ar every likely to turn out to be even more cost competitive over the period it would take to transform or regenerate our systems.

      I haven't seen much evidence of nuclear achieving anything like this kind of cost reduction.

      report
    14. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Peter Lang

      I don't suppose you'd like to back that attack up with any actual evidence?

      report
  5. Paul Richards

    integral operating system

    Just how many who propose the nuclear energy as a solution would be willing to have a power plant in their neighbourhood? Close to their children's schools and growing bodies.
    A nuclear plant declared safe, state of the art engineering, the latest generation, just like all previous have been over the past sixty years.

    report
    1. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Paul Richards

      A silly, ignorant, emotive argument. Typical of the anti nuke's scaremongering campaigs that have been running for 50 years.

      Once people are educated they want nuclear power plants nearby for the benefits they deliver - good jobs, high skills education facilities, and much more. Travel around the world and ask the residents how they feel about nuclear power plants nearby. Studies show that people who don't have nuclear power nearby are afraid of it and oppose it. But those who do have nuclear power plants nearby want them.

      Paul, your fears and nuclear paranoia are based on ignorance.

      report
    2. Rosco Hamilton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      I would.
      Infact, I'd prefer to eat fish from Fukushima than get sunburnt.

      But it is a silly emotive argument. A nuclear power plant doesn't need to be in my neighborhood. I live in Melbourne and most of my power comes from the Latrobe valley. Not exactly close.

      Still, if it came down to it, I'd be ok with having a nuclear plant within 5km of my home. Or even having waste stored nearby. Provided that it was stored 1km down in a concrete block, no worries mate.

      report
    3. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Rosco Hamilton

      I ahve no problem with a nuclear power plant near my home. I also have no problem with used fuel being stored in dry casks near my home; like the picture on the right here: http://www.yankeerowe.com/fuel.html

      Fifteen casks store all the used fuel from 32 years of power plant operation at 80% capacity factor. Incredible!!

      And the fuel still contain 99% of its usable energy. Who want's to chuck that away? I don't! It should be retained for use in the future.

      report
    4. Sean Manning

      Physicist

      In reply to Paul Richards

      I'd gladly live near a nuclear power plant, it would make the trip to work much faster. How many of the anti nuke-ers would gladly live next to an coal power plant?!

      If your argument is worse when turned around you shouldn't use it.

      report
    5. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter Lang wrote; " ... based on ignorance" That is purely a projection from your worldview and appreciated. There is no dispute from this line of logic that it can be managed safely.
      Just where did the information come from that nuclear energy has been managed safely?

      report
    6. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Rosco Hamilton

      Rosco Hamilton; " ... I'd be ok with having a nuclear plant within 5km of my home." Interesting. So you are in a rental property and the home values would not plummet on the announcement of a tendering process. But actually make rental cheaper, in truth a bargain. Works for me, good point well made.

      report
    7. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter Lang wrote; " ... And the fuel still contain 99% of its usable energy" Good point. It is interesting the nuclear energy industry over sixty years has still failed to use the massive stockpile of unspent fuel. One very transparent sign the whole industry is still in its infancy.

      report
    8. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Paul Richards,

      Dead right. Nuclear is in its infancy. At the moment it is cheaper to mine uranium and use once through, thermal reactors than to move to breeder reactors. That will change some time in the future. Then we will begin using the remaining energy in the once-used-fuel we are holding in storage.

      There is sufficient nuclear fuel in the Earth's crust to power a population of 10 billion people consuming energy at the per capita rate of USA for thousands of years. The fuel used in current breed of reactors is 20,000 times more energy dense than coal. That means it requires 1/20,000 as much shipping of fuels around the globe and makes energy storage and, therefore, energy security far superior to fossil fuels.

      report
    9. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Sean Manning

      Sean Manning wrote; "I'd gladly live near a nuclear power plant, it would make the trip to work much faster"
      The the context of the question was;"...would be willing to have a power plant in their neighbourhood?" The question of mortgage, land and home values appears not to be an issue personally. So buying into or renting and moving to a nuclear energy neighbourhood after a corporation announced a tendering process would be cheap. Your position is understood. That works for me, sound fiscal thinking, your position is grokked.
      Sean Manning wrote; "How many of the anti nuke-ers would gladly live next to an coal power plant?!
      If your argument is worse when turned around you shouldn't use it." That assumes any 'anti nuke-ers' agree on brown coal production of power. Is that a realistic worldview? From this altitude it is not, but your perspective is understood.

      report
    10. Rosco Hamilton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Rental. You're right. I hadn't thought of that. I hate paying rent.

      In all seriousness though, if Victoria were to have nuclear power plants, they wouldn't be in suburban Melbourne. So safety wise I'd be more than happy.
      But chucking any sort of power plant in suburban melbourne would mess with property values.

      report
    11. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter Lang wrote; "Sufficient nuclear fuel in the Earth's crust to power a population of 10 billion.... energy security far superior to fossil fuels." All good points and the science is evident. The issue we face is not the science, it is a cultural one

      report
  6. John Crest

    logged in via email @live.com.au

    But but but, Peter Garrett said that nuclear power is bad, mmmk?

    report
  7. Peter Lang

    Retired geologist and engineer

    Hundreds of authoritative studies over the past 30 years or more have shown that nuclear power causes orders of magnitude less fatalities per quantity of electricity supplied than coal fired generation. This summary of recent authoritative studies http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html gives the average fatalities per TWh as:
    - coal (elect, heat cook) (world average) = 100
    - coal electricity generation (world average) = 60
    - coal electricity generation (USA…

    Read more
  8. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    If nothing else, the surveys show that we either have plenty of people with their heads in the sands, unable to comprehend technology or just do not care and I think that shows clearly in the high percentages of people that are not prepared to have a lower living standard nor pay extra taxes for improvements.
    Either way, perhaps future generations not so far off are going to have a culture shock they cannot even perceive, post WW2 generations other than our really disadvantage/homeless etc. mostly…

    Read more
    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg, indeed, we could reduce energy usage by 'lowering our living standards' as you suggest OR we could be more calm and practical and eliminate the waste - as yoiu suggest, it wouldn't fix everything, but it would certainly give us a bit of breathing space to develop the alternatives.

      I gather that the last time humanity was living within the earth's capacity was roughly 1970 - my memory of that time is that, while we didn't have as many useless toys as we do today, it was far from primitive or restrictive. Given population rises since then (more people forces a lowering of the per capita energy usage), the true figure is probably rather earlier than 1970 - maybe the 1950s but, even then, it was hardly living in caves!

      report
  9. Damien Van Brink

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    Fission plants are statistically quite safe however you have only to consult your everyday OHS lookup table to understand why they are still a danger - the risk of a serious accident is low but the damage caused by an accident is unacceptably high, not just in terms of life, but in dollars and cents. How many billions have been spent dealing with the Fukushima cleanup, and its not over by a long shot.

    In response to the article though, nuclear fission is NOT a solution to climate change for…

    Read more
    1. John Doyle

      architect

      In reply to Damien Van Brink

      I am rather of the opinion we would use the small town size capacity modular reactors rather than the giants now considered. They would be buried [not 1km down]. They also are using a system which takes up nearly all the energy within the rods, minimal waste generation.
      Re economic/uneconomic arguments it depends on what limits are put on the inputs, whether the costs of production the costs of land use the costs of doing nothing etc are to be factored in.
      Re Australia's capacity to build reactors, that won't matter if we buy modular generators, and anyway we could start learning how to do it if the will was there.
      If we think it's too hard we will never do anything. Doing nothing will be the most expensive option long term.

      report
    2. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Damien Van Brink

      >' the risk of a serious accident is low but the damage caused by an accident is unacceptably high, not just in terms of life, but in dollars and cents."

      This is misleading. The costs are a result of the over-reaction to accidents. The fact there are few fatalities compared with accidents and pollution from other technologies shows there is a mismatch in the costs of the accidents. The excessive cost is due to an over reaction due to public pressure caused by irrational fear and paranoia. The fear and paranoia is a result of 50 years of anti nuclear propaganda and fear mongering.

      report
    3. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Damien Van Brink

      Hi Damian thanks for your brilliant contribution, well written. It answers my previous question. Dank U

      report
  10. Martin Male

    Somatic Psychotherapist

    This article raises a few relevant issues. Firstly the resistance to change humans have. Most of us will resist change simply because it requires us to take account of our behaviours and actions previously. Most people don't like being accountable;)
    It would be interesting to see data prior to the Abbott assault on climate change/science and encouraging the fears of the populace to resist change.
    It also interesting to see how quickly the discussion becomes person when someone.
    From my perspective…

    Read more
    1. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Martin Male

      a correction here.... It is interesting to see how quickly the discussion becomes a personal attack when a contributors perspective doesn't agree with that of another.

      report
  11. Martin Nicholson

    Energy researcher and author

    I fear it may take at least another 20 years before Australia sees a need for nuclear power. Much of the world is experimenting with solar and wind solutions and while ever the world can tolerate burning fossil fuels the electricity supply systems will probably remain reliable.

    Germany talks of going to 60% renewable by 2030 with the balance being brown coal. Will they try 100% renewable? - time will tell.

    There is a strong correlation between energy use and GDP. China will be the largest economy…

    Read more
    1. Bruce Jacobs

      Professor of Asian Languages and Studies

      In reply to Martin Nicholson

      Because it hasn't changed. Fukushima happened only two years ago. And it happened in Japan, an advanced, developed nation. Corruption is rife, look at South Korea...

      report
  12. Bruce Jacobs

    Professor of Asian Languages and Studies

    There are at least two reasons why people do not support nuclear energy. First, no one has yet solved the problem of nuclear wastes, which last for thousands of years. Second, nuclear power has proven dangerous despite assurances from those in charge--look at, for example, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. In all three cases there has been huge devastation. And, in addition, nuclear power is in fact very expensive. So, nuclear power is not a solution to climate change.

    report
    1. John Doyle

      architect

      In reply to Bruce Jacobs

      I think you need to read the other posts in this thread, Bruce.
      Nuclear power and expense is answered within.
      Unless you have new facts to cite.
      Also we are no longer talking about 1950's technology, whereas you are.
      The times change, see how much safer cars and planes are today compared with then.
      Why not the nuclear power industry?

      report
    2. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Doyle

      John I think you hit the nail on the head,

      I believe there are very valid and reasonables reasons to be against many old and existing Nuclear options, however there are developments around Thorium that resolve those concerns.

      Concerns over waste, over meltdown, over weapons proliferation.

      Many Thorium reactors directly address all of these concerns and educating people about the difference between Gen III and GEN IV or V should help a lot - at least I believe cos this is what changed my mind

      my 2 cents anyway

      report
    3. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Michael Shand

      @Michael Shand

      "Many Thorium reactors ..."

      Could you tell us where these reactors are and how much electricity they are generating?

      report
    4. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Thanks for the respnose Mike, the answer is there are no commercially viable reactors operating at the moment - that I know of but im pretty sure there are not.

      It is a bit like fusion yeah, great work being done in france at the moment and I am glad for that and think they should continue their research but in no way do I advocate for unproven technology over already commercially viable alternatives such as wind, CSP, geothermal, etcetera

      It is a long way ahead of fusion though, we will have plants in India and China by 2020 and the concept has already been proven in a reactor built in the 1960's

      I understand what you are getting at though

      report
    5. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Sorry, I should just clarify that when I said "Many Reactors" - I meant many reactor designs

      report
  13. Michael Shand

    Software Tester

    Nuclear isn't just Nuclear though and I think that's what is missing from the debate

    there are different generations fo nuclear power and the newer generations, the LFTR, the GEN IV and GEN V reactors do not have the same issues as the old style reactors

    report
    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Michael, where are the functioning Gen IV and Gen V reactors? What is their operational record?

      report
    2. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Good question, operational models are few and fair between and their track record is very poor.

      So I think the crux of your comment was;

      Do I advocate holding off on renewables on the chance that this all works out?......no

      Having said that, the first Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment (1960's-ish) was a test reactor for a thorium fuel cycle breeder reactor nuclear power plant, I believe it operated for a few years and was stable during this time.

      Both India and China have development projects…

      Read more
    3. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Lets just be careful we are not using the same bias that some might use about renewables, especially things like tidal

      I understand where the question comes from though but seeing as china and india plan to have up and running reactors by 2020 - it's not as outrages as "Some" make it sound nor is it as promising as "Some" make it sound

      I do understand the preemptive resistence or skepticism in your comments as I too have experienced the joys of trying to bring fan boys down to earth or back to reality

      report
  14. Reg Nansen

    Retiree

    IMO the 'deaths per gigawatt' on varied power sources is complete industry *spin. http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/study-fukushima-radiation-has-already-killed-14000-americans No amount of yelling, ad hominem or foot stomping will convince those who realise they are being lied to by interested parties.

    Many people understand that nuclear power is as *unsustainable as coal or gas. No matter how safe proponents claim nuclear power is, they can never account for what mother nature might throw up. Extreme weather as forecast due to climate change makes nuclear power unsafe. Whether it be heat, earthquakes, floods or fire, the risk remains.

    Will the independent (cough) insurance industry that sponsors 'Risk Frontiers' guarantee the safety of nuclear plants? No?

    “You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” (Einstein) The new energy paradigm will be safe, clean, efficient and sustainable.

    report
    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Reg Nansen

      Reg,
      Unfortunately, there is no credible evidence that climate has become more extreme as a result of acts of man. When I say 'none', I do not mean that there might be a little bit. I mean there is NONE.

      report
    2. Luke Weston

      Physicist / electronic engineer

      In reply to Reg Nansen

      The fact is, some people read "Nature" and some people read "Natural News".
      And as it turns out, they pretty commonly disagree with each other.

      report
  15. Chris Harries

    logged in via Facebook

    Regardless of their merits, the likelihood of Australia leaping into the building of nuclear power reactors must be slight in view of the political clout of the coal and gas industries here and also this nation's perceived favourable conditions for solar and wind power expansion.

    We are already significantly involved in the nuclear fuel cycle, through uranium sales, and only because that business activity is not threatening to the domestic energy supply status quo.

    Australia could engage more…

    Read more
    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris,
      You write '....perceived favourable conditions for solar and wind power expansion'.
      Speak for yourself, mate. I don't perceive any favourable conditions apart from a few small, logical niche situations.
      Rather, I see every day a demonstration that solar and wind are failures being propped up by special pleading and special funding, causing our power bills to soar (despite our preferences, expressed at the time, not to be involved).
      Can you show me a large, functioning, solar or wind installation anywhere in the world that is delivering to planned expectation at a cost that is competitive with (say) Victoria's dirty, old-fashioned brown coal?
      The abundance of this coal, plus other coal, is a significant reason why nuclear has not been in the promotional headlines. If you have a grid supplied by FF generators that have years of life remaining, it's not a good scene to propose to shut them precipitously and replace them with anything, including wind and sun.

      report
    2. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Yes, sure Geoffrey, if you don't accept climate change as a problem then you would be happy as Larry with coal. You're in a small minority bit that's your democratic prerogative.

      report
  16. Mike Hansen

    Mr.

    "[Roger Pielke Jr] says, and we agree, that new technological solutions will be needed to resolve this dilemma."

    This is reheated Lomborgism! - "Forget about limiting the use of fossil fuels! New technology will save us." A very convenient argument for the fossil fuel companies.

    New technology is going to be a factor but the fact is we have the technology to start building a renewable energy infrastructure now.

    The nuclear boosters (and the Breakthrough Institute are pushing that barrow…

    Read more
    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike,
      A very experienced medico friend has philosophised that reactionary behaviour like opposition to nuclear might (and might is operative) be associated with a small amount of genetic modification that exists in most of us who are old enough to express ourselves after mentally removing the perturbing effects of a propaganda bombardment.
      He noted that much current 'anti-' this or that is loosely correlated with weapons of war. Nuclear of course has strong links from bombs to nuclear reactors…

      Read more
    2. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Genetic Modification may be responsible for making people against war

      ohhhh the humanity, what have we come to as a species if people are no longer pro war

      what's next? people against torture?

      report
  17. Brett Forbes

    Technology Developer

    Rather disappointing article. Ok, you set the data perspective strongly with your surveys.

    But if your basic point is that uranium-based fission needs to be considered, then can I suggest you do some basic background on fission-technologies, before you publish, rather than just representing other people's opinions?

    Frankly, if you had done an ounce of background searching, it would have been obvious that thorium-based fission, rather than uranium-based fission, solves most of the storage problems.

    Since you probably can't point to any man-made structures that have lasted 500,000 years, it is doubtful that storage of uranium fuel can be proven safe.Yet this problem does not occur with thorium.

    Your article has an interesting premise,which is substantially reduced in value by your blindly repeating the std arguments, with their well-known fallacies. How much more insightful could it have been with some background research?

    report
    1. John Newlands

      tree changer

      In reply to Brett Forbes

      I suspect future humans might be more concerned about opening a can of baked beans than a 35 tonne steel and cement used fuel cask. We'll either function as a coherent society or disintegrate. A scenario in which people have both the means and the motivation to even get at nuclear waste seems to be a cross between Mad Max and Happy Days. It's not the problem; the real problem is loss of operational or wet cooling. I believe that problem can now be managed at acceptably low risk.

      report
  18. Ben Marshall
    Ben Marshall is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Writer

    First, a comment on the comments. It's depressing to see instant polarisation, in large promoted by the usual trolls on energy / mining / environmental issues that infest The Conversation, invariably using straw men and other devices to compete and strike at other commenters. I'm tired of ideologically-based negativity. I want to hear people from every corner putting forward solutions, not sniping with verbal peashooters like smug teenagers who think they know it all.

    Second - to the topic…

    Read more
    1. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Ben Marshall

      Ben, you are completely correct, What the discussion needs is to be devoid of spin. From both sides of the debate. I don't know about others, but I'm done to death with it, on many fronts.

      Simply because a person does not instantly want a nuke in their backyard, does not mean that the person is anti-nuke. There seems to be a lot of options, different types of reactors, fuels, buried or surface etc etc.

      I do not think that any one with the smallest amount of sense, thinks that every industrial process can be 100% safe. However, real answers to real questions, allows a sensible approach to the decision, to deploy, locate, fuel and make adequate provision for adverse vicissitudes.

      The people who want to sell you a product always tell you how good it is. The same is true of the competition.

      report
    2. Dhugal Fletcher

      Critical Thinker

      In reply to Ben Marshall

      The fundamental problem with nuclear power is not about technology, it's the business case in the first place.

      The business case globally for nuclear power requires taxpayers to cover the vast majority of any cost of an accident with no recourse to claim anything from the operator. The Fukushima operator simply folded directly after the disaster. The Soviet Union folded soon after Chernobyl, with the cost of the accident being cited then and now as a major cause of the economic meltdown…

      Read more
    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Thanks Les - I get immediately labelled as being 'anti-nuke' when I am merely unconvinced that it represents the best available option - as soon as you try to make this kind of point, you get jumped on!

      report
    4. John Doyle

      architect

      In reply to Dhugal Fletcher

      Very interesting, Dhugal.
      I'd mainly like to make a point re the business case.
      What you say applies to all business cases in maybe all industries from nuclear to food and banking.
      Companies are limited liability enterprises which means they are not liable for knock on effects of their endeavours. They are only liable to their shareholders, which doesn't include the general public.
      We have seen a lot of that lately, socialism for the wealthy and the public pays for the losses. They don't have to worry about insurance except for minor matters.
      It's going to be a sea change to get businesses weaned off their limited liability teat.
      Without that your approved model ain't going to happen.
      In any event nuclear is not an either or argument.
      Lets use all options, but let's not rule out compact thorium units either as viable assets for the future
      based on emotive and often unscientific opinions.

      report
    5. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Ben Marshall

      Ben,
      Your slip shows when you write "the overwhelming campaign against climate science from vested interests and ideologues".
      I do not know of any such groups in Australia, ones that are vested interests or ideologues. What I see is some very concerned, very senior scientists who are appalled at the low standard of climate work. Fix that and the so-called denialists will go away.

      report
    6. Dhugal Fletcher

      Critical Thinker

      In reply to John Doyle

      I dont think a major disaster at their facility can possibly be called a 'knock on effect' If your argument were true,we'd see corporations happily running nuclear power stations without that government guarantee to hold all the risk. James Hardie got done for asbestos, a nuclear operator would be liable for everything if we ran it like every other business.

      The reality is, Australia has a massive surplus of renewable energy sources, we should be investing in becoming a world leader in the science…

      Read more
    7. Dhugal Fletcher

      Critical Thinker

      In reply to John Doyle

      Forgot to mention, you can get good insurance for any other kind of power plant, just not nuclear.

      The actuaries are right in their assessment, its not worth it.

      report
    8. Ben Marshall
      Ben Marshall is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Writer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      My "slip", Mister Sherrington? What, I've inadvertently revealed I'm part of the socialist-Green-science conspiracy that secretly wants to alarm everyone about fictitious climate change so we can institute a new world order?

      Seriously, most of the ideologues are US-based - the Heartland Foundation, and other lobby groups funded by the Koch brothers, but there is also the IPA here. There's no conspiracy as such - more a loose network of cranks and aging retired mining types being angry on blogs…

      Read more
    9. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Ben Marshall

      Ben,
      I'm calling you out. The 2 biggest miners in Australia, by far, are BHP and Rio. If you claim that they are financing challenges to the climate change movement, you must be able to back up your assertion, otherwise you are telling a fib.
      So, how much do these (or other resource extraction industry player in Australia) donate to such causes as you allege? Dollars in a given year, please.
      I've never known anyone to get money from Koch. It has urban myth status to me. I read Heartland stuff about twice a year, agree with some, disagree with other, certainly am not guided by it.
      You are inventing, making straw men on the run.

      report
    10. Ben Marshall
      Ben Marshall is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Writer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      You callin' me out? Well, I'ma callin' you out, boy.

      Seriously, I read it but your reply seems like it's to someone else's comment. Your first para doesn't relate to anything I said so, like, whatever. I didn't say what you said I said etc. sigh.

      Second para: seriously? Again, I didn't say what you said I...etc. If you want to pretend miners don't lobby government, well go ahead.

      Third: uh, check it out before replying. I remember reading that IPA scored some small amounts off…

      Read more
  19. Dianna Arthur

    Environmentalist

    Why don’t Australians see nuclear as a climate change solution?

    Simple. Because it is not.

    There is no single solution for climate change.

    We need a raft of energy options, based on the most convenient and available. Australia could be/should be leading the pack in solar, wind, thermal and hydro. Unlike some countries we are blessed with abundance to support such sustainable sources. Why go to the expense of installing a network of nuclear, when there is simply no need?

    The vastness…

    Read more
    1. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna, I recently looked into a stand alone system, for power on the farm, and I am considering installing an integrated system next year. And stuff their grid, when a managing director, of what was a public entity, is paid $800k per annum, he can do without my business.

      I see regional generation, and small operators having some problem with the volume of supply required to service city/ industrial power requirements, and in that sense large generating companies would need to remain for some time.

      Are you aware of any conclusive studies of the Hydro potential of the eastern states, including is it attainable, in concert with environmental concerns.

      report
    2. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Not anything I would call conclusive, Les.

      Too many obstacles keep preventing such edicts.

      Obstacles such as the corporate voice of "pro-nukes and nothing else", dissenting voices such as "AGW is not happening", vested voices such as "coal/gas is too valuable a resource to be left in ground" and government voices such as "don't really understand all this sciencey stuff".

      And the double standard as noted by Felix MacNeill

      http://theconversation.com/why-dont-australians-see-nuclear-as-a-climate-change-solution-19099

      report
    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Thanks Dianna!

      If I were in the UK or France, I'd probably advocate continuing nuclear, though preferable moving as quickly as possible to newer/smaller and ASAP thorium.

      But Australia is very different and I believe that, here, nuclear would be more of a distraction than a solution compared with renewables.

      report
    4. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      You're welcome.

      I agree that nuclear will be a viable alternative to coal/gas in some countries. Particularly as there is already an infrastructure supporting the maintenance and further development of nuclear power (although it is interesting to watch Germany).

      Here in Australia, as you have pointed out, the situation is quite different. Apart from the fact we can produce existing and further develop sustainable energy platforms, we do not have the time needed to build a comprehensive nuclear infrastructure.

      Australia could be an energy productive clean slate...., well if we stop all the coal mining, gas fracking and other anachronistic habits. Not gonna hold my breath.

      report
    5. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix,
      Why not nuclear in its own right?
      There are ample country-wide demonstrations by now. e.g. Spain with solar, almost bankrupt. France with nuclear, motoring along quite fine. China putting most of its future eggs in the nuclear basket. etc.
      Can't you see that large scale windmills or solar just do not cut the mustard? Their energy input is too diffuse. It is intermittent. Plant engineers would love concentrated, steady loads, rather than the dog's breakfast that windmills in particular throw at regulation of alternating current.
      Also hearing reports of pilots getting eye dangers from solar mirrors.

      report
    6. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna,
      Please make it clear whether you are talking about natural climate change or man=made climate change (plus how, in a given case, you attribute change to one or the other). It's too hard to phrase some arguments unless its GW for global warming, AGW for the anthropogenic variety and CAGW for the catastrophic version. I didn't make them up, but they are in wide use.

      report
    7. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna,
      Would you accept an argument that whatever Australia chooses, it should be attractive to global industries that need cheap, reliable electricity? I see it as a key way to get manufacturing more strong than it is now.
      Remember also, you have to convince crusty old engineers who, from a small sample of the class, would not have a bar of wind because of its intermittency.

      report
    8. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      I accept the argument there is a great deal of future industry opportunities in the production of solar, hydro, thermal, geo-thermal and other sustainable technologies.

      Sorry to be the one to break this to you, unfortunately, nuclear is neither sustainable nor for the long term future.

      report
    9. Luke Weston

      Physicist / electronic engineer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      "pro-nukes and nothing else"

      Really? I've never heard any pro nuclear energy people calling for wind or solar power to be banned.

      The only time I ever hear anybody calling for any one particular technology to be completely eliminated and outlawed it's coming from the anti-nuclearists.

      report
  20. Michael Sheehan

    Geographer at Analyst

    "But regardless of whether more information will help them decide their position on nuclear power, the negative perception will continue to be a major obstacle against future development of a nuclear power industry in Australia even when it is advanced as a partial solution to global climate change."
    There is not a shred of evidence in your article to justify this inference.

    report
  21. Byron Smith
    Byron Smith is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Ministry assistant, ecologcal ethicist and PhD candidate at University of Edinburgh

    "Risk Frontiers is an independent research centre based at Macquarie University" - from John McAneney's profile.

    "Risk Frontiers is an independent research centre sponsored by the insurance industry" - from Risk Frontiers' own website.

    The authors of this article are not affiliated with Macquarie University, they just happen to be based there. I think this could be made clearer in the sidebar.

    report
    1. John McAneney

      Managing Director of Risk Frontiers at Macquarie University

      In reply to Byron Smith

      Risk Frontiers is a not-for-profit R&D company owned by Macquarie University. I am a Professorial Fellow in the Department of Environment and Geography and our students graduate with a degree from Macquarie University. That affiliation seems close enough to me.

      report
    2. Michael Sheehan

      Geographer at Analyst

      In reply to Byron Smith

      Byron, in their defence, I would respect the research of insurance companies sponsored research, more than alleged disinterest university research. If there is any institutional vested interest concerned to be spot on when it comes to AGW risk, it is insurance companies!

      report
    3. Byron Smith
      Byron Smith is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Ministry assistant, ecologcal ethicist and PhD candidate at University of Edinburgh

      In reply to John McAneney

      Prof McAneney,

      Thanks for clarifying and my apologies for not being able to discern the relationship of RF to Macquarie University. I looked at the RF website and could not find any indication that it is owned by MU, merely references to being an independent body. I'm afraid your profile similarly did not enlighten me. MU is listed as a sponsor in the side bar of the RF site, but does not appear on the Sponsors page. Furthermore, your position does not appear on the staff list for the Dept of Environment and Geography and nor do any of your co-authors.
      http://envirogeog.mq.edu.au/about/staff/

      So I hope you will see why my initial conclusion was perhaps understandable.

      report
  22. Graeme Alastair McLeay

    Retired anaesthetist

    Firstly it's about perceptions of risk. Burning coal will kill many more people than nuclear ever has and is doing so now. We can build safe (always a relative term) reactors away from fault lines and tsunamis. Renewables must be promoted but have been shown lacking as the whole answer. The leadership void in Australia means that the right, backed by the coal industry, will successfully wedge the left which is mired in anti-nuclear ideology. Sadly,we are running out of time.

    report
  23. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

    Boss

    Nuclear is not there as a climate change solution. It is there because it has been shown, with several hundred working reactors, to be competitive, safe and consistent in supply compared to essentially any alternative.
    You have to understand that some people are off on a trendy jaunt with windmills and solar and geothermal in Australia.

    report
    1. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Mr Sherrington, the trendy windmills have been moving water in this country for longer than Nuclear has been seen as a generation source. Have a look at Southern Cross.

      Nuclear,developed initially for its potential as a weapon, has had huge amounts of government funding from its conception. Renewable energy, on the other hand has not. It may be an interesting comparison the difference between nukes public funding since its beginnings, versus, public funding for renewable energy research, in adjusted…

      Read more
    2. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Les

      "able to be generated at point of use, be developed in the public interest"

      Here's the conundrum. The corporate sector has issue with the autonomy of an energy generated at point of use coupled with public interest.

      How can corporates charge, maintain control of supply, if the pesky public manufacture their own power?

      Corporate interests have to work overtime on convincing we, the people are best served by corporate interests. They don't like hearing anything remotely truthsome.

      report
    3. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Well, they best get used to it, because a lot of the public are interested in doing it. And a lot as stand alone. Here in the country, many of us have poles and power lines across our properties, with the encumbrance of the easement that goes with it, and the companies want to charge an access fee for the power, but we don't get rent for the poles or inconvenience. This is not publicly owned anymore, I bet the power executives would be miffed if I showed up to graze sheep on their lawn.

      As I have previously stated, I am not all anti-nukes. But the attitude of the pro nuclear seems to be we want to do this, and we dont want to consult. This is private enterprise, I am private enterprise, lets talk a deal.

      report
    4. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Loving your words, Les.

      However, such self-initiated entrepreneurial spirit is only permissible when generated by big corpa. I know, it is a contradiction in terms, but that's how it is. The same logic is why we even are still debating AGW in spite of the evidence.

      If the big guys can't control it, they're not all that interested. And they wonder why people don't exactly trust 'em when they claim; "Nuclear energy is so safe I eat it for breakfast".

      BTW

      Would love to see sheep used instead of mowers all over the oh so neat 'n tidy corporate landscapes outside their glass towers.

      report
    5. Fred Smith

      Electrical Engineer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      "Here's the conundrum. How can corporates charge, maintain control of supply, if the pesky public manufacture their own power?"
      I assume the generation you refer to is grid connected rooftop solar. The issue in this situation is one of continuity of supply, as the solar PV is not generating at all instances when the power is being used. Comparisions of the total kWh generated and used are fairly pointless when this is considered.
      Now, these grid connected solar systems are not removing any of…

      Read more
  24. Paul Cm

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    The quantity of nuclear energy debate is a problem for Australia's energy issues, yes, but I think the quality of debate is where most attention is needed.

    report
  25. Lois Achimovich

    Doctor

    Fukushima is out of control. though you wouldn't know. No-one - but no-one - has any idea how to deal with spent fuel rods. (Bob Hawke thinks it's a terrific idea to put all the nuclear waste in the world on Muckatee Station - opined that Australians would be rich for ever in managing it. Thanks Bob - for nothing!)
    No country appears to offer a safe haven for the children of Fukushima - many families are sleeping in schools and gymnasia. Facing the blame at TEPCO is ludicrous - GE chose the site…

    Read more
    1. Luke Weston

      Physicist / electronic engineer

      In reply to Lois Achimovich

      "No-one - but no-one - has any idea how to deal with spent fuel rods."

      Really? Even though we've been dealing with that small amount of material - and the enormous amount of energy that it generates - quite happily for the last 60 years, isolated from the environment completely, and it has never hurt anybody?

      That used LWR fuel is 95% completely unchanged, unreacted uranium - exactly the same uranium that you started with. That gives you a pretty good idea of how to deal with it.

      report
    2. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Luke Weston

      The truth lies somewhere between what the two of you have said.

      Certainly we know what to do with spent fuel. It is routinely chemically reprocessed at La Hague in France, and has been reprocessed elsewhere as well, though never on the same sustained scale.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_reprocessing

      The end products of reprocessing include re-useable uranium and plutonium (presumably also thorium in the thorium fuel cycle), and high-level waste, namely fission products and activation…

      Read more
    3. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Jonathan,
      Your words have a similarity to a cut and paste from a greenpeace brochure.
      They indicate a lack of knowledge of the topic.
      Can you at least give a hint whether you have personal experience, or whether you are a message boy?
      For example, you write 'unscheduled scramming'. Michael, scramming was designed to cut in when unscheduled events were sensed.
      "Vitrification" is not touted by experts as "geologically stable and quite safe". Rather, it is considered to be an improvement on not encasing in solid. In a few more decades more will be known about the stability of vitrified waste. "Quite safe" is a pop-science term, experts use figures. Science sometimes works by the accumulation of data over long periods.
      The poster child for "prolongued unavailability" is not nuclear; it is solar and wind.
      What is "miraculously" about the French performance? Can you not offer a plaudit?

      report
    4. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Dear Geoffrey Harold Sherrington, Boss,

      I'm sure you have never commented on any subject of which you do not have personal experience, used a pop-science term, neglected to give a numerical estimate for the likelihood of an improbable event which has never yet happened, grudgingly acknowledged someone's successful completion of a risky task you'd have preferred they didn't attempt, misspelled a word in quotes when the original was spelled correctly, called someone by the wrong name, nor produced any language resembling the published works of any association of curmudgeons.

      Congratulations. Forgive me my humanity.

      report
  26. MItchell Lennard

    Researcher - Distributed Energy Systems

    My heart sank as I scrolled through the comments, but Ben, Dhugal and others show that there is room for a bit of rational input.

    The survey authors failed to ask the most important question:

    "Do you believe that the risk to the planet from human induced Climate change is significant enough to warrant the Australian people spending $350 to $500 Billion over the next 30 to 40 years to clean up our electricity and transport emissions?"

    The technologies we use to do this are really a secondary…

    Read more
  27. Paul Matthews

    Mathematics lecturer

    It is interesting to see that the proportion who are concerned about climate change has dropped from 69% to 62% in just two years.

    report
    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Paul Matthews

      Depends how much faith one puts in such surveys Paul ... actually I'm suprised (pleasantly) that the number is still so high considering the outpouring of propaganda folks have had to wade through. Just shows we're smarter than our betters think. I have seen much much bigger declines in 'reported support' for action on climate change from Europe and the USA.

      report
    2. Paul Matthews

      Mathematics lecturer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Ah yes, the 'outpouring of propaganda'. Have a look at the articles on climate at 'The Conversation'. How many of them express climate scepticism? And how many promote climate activism?
      Meanwhile, those who do express scepticism get themselves blocked from the site - e.g. Mr Sherrington.

      report
    1. Dhugal Fletcher

      Critical Thinker

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      This is the trend and that nuclear price does not include the heavy risk borne by governments.

      The plants built decades ago typically carried only half the total costs in their billing, the government held the rest. So double that nuclear price and you're at the start of a real price.

      I think people who still say renewables aren't the economical solution haven't actually read anything for a decade. Even conservative outlooks say they will meet and beat gas and coal in under 20 years, because fossil fuels are running out and can only get more expensive. This is why those companies want to delay a movement away from them as long as possible. They stand to increase profits year on year until we all die.

      http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/shareholder-value.png

      report
    2. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Gary Murphy wrote; " Latest energy generation costs from the US..." You are aware this is the equivalent of a sales brochure? The source of the data is from an nuclear industry industry media group acting as advertising agency. Paid promoters of the nuclear industry who never give the subsidy metrics. Carefully leaving them of the metrics you quoted.
      Which transnational nuclear energy corporation will accept these terms?
      1) no public subsidy for design,
      2) no public subsidy for commissioning…

      Read more
    3. David Bindoff

      manager

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Latest 'rumours' of strike price for EDF nuclear in the UK

      "The strike price, which has been one of the most elusive factors in the negotiations, revolves around £90-£95 a megawatt hour, one of the people said.

      EDF had been asking for a price of about £95 a megawatt hour, while the British government sought a price between £80 to £85 a megawatt hour, the people said."

      http://www.marketwatch.com/story/edf-closes-in-on-224-billion-uk-nuclear-deal-2013-10-14

      at 90GBP i,e ~$152 aud , this…

      Read more
    4. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to David Bindoff

      David,
      Clutching at straws?
      I think the price you mention for French nuclear is the price of the French screwing their neighbours. Of more interest is the fundamental, inclusive generation cost.
      Spain is of more interest for its record of non-performance, not the occasional 36 days without a stop, which is trivial. Sure, 24/7 can follow in the imagination, but believe it when it is actual and not a hopeful.

      report
    5. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Paul,
      Surely the way to argue this is to put up your preferred figures, then compare and contrast with the alleged sales brochure version. You know as well as others that summaries of prices like these are highly dependent on assumptions made in their estimation.

      report
    6. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Dhugal Fletcher

      Dhugal,
      Who in Australia mostly controls the price of electricity at your meter? Would that the an Australian Energy Regulator? Would that be a Federal Government office? So what's new about government involvement in electricity generation? It happens.

      report
    7. Dhugal Fletcher

      Critical Thinker

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      I didn't realise that controlling the price was the same thing as being solely responsible for the results of a major incident, or paying more than half the cost.

      It doesn't sound even vaguely the same to me.

      report
    8. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dhugal Fletcher

      The issue in favour of nuclear power is energy density, being the only prospect for provision of high density energy that could replace the energy density of hydrocarbon energy. If we had to pick the better of two evils, I would have to rank nuclear as less risky than burning coal. (That’s not to say that its risks are not significant.)

      The limitation of nuclear (and also that of solar and wind etc) is that our obsessive fixation on electrical energy does nothing to resolve all of the other multitudinous…

      Read more
    9. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Bindoff

      The sixty year old nuclear utopia has never proved its full cycle of metrics.
      David Bindoff wrote; "... cost to build in Australia would be a sizable factor more expensive" Good point.
      The serious context of thread is about risk management, integrating an energy system due to climate change.
      The tendering, design and commissioning of any nuclear solution will not fit a useful time frame. Any investment by the Australian people will be wasted and better spent localising energy grid efficiency…

      Read more
    10. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey Harold Sherrington wrote; " ... highly dependent on assumptions made in their estimation." Could not agree more all we have ever had for over sixty years is projections.
      Personally I have no issue with the science and possibilities surrounding the nuclear solution. The problem is no corporation wants to step up on their own, simply because the risks are too great.
      What is at issue is having an evolved civilisation capable of handling the technical and social needs when using the solution…

      Read more
    11. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Paul,
      You naysayers are good at fabricating doom and gloom. Why not take the glass as half full and say "What research can we do to minimise the FOAK costs of nuclear in Australia?"
      There is really no inherent engineering or technical reason why it has to be expensive. One could transport the present Chinese experience to a plot of land in Australia and end up with costs well below those commonly quoted by the delay brigade.
      The dominant problem is that people create imaginary mental crises and treat them as added costs.

      report
    12. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey Harold Sherrington wrote ; "... people create imaginary mental crises... True. But why?
      For the same reason scientist have stepped out the shadows to stand up to the climate change issue. Risk management.
      There is a time to take calculated risks as humans and times not too.
      Human history over the last sixty years has proved we have not evolved enough to deal with the nuclear solution. Nothing will change our geopolitical reality and certainly no amount of positive probabilities based…

      Read more
    13. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris,
      You write "They ought to work together rather than flog each other to death."
      Permit a disagreement. If one is clearly better than the other - as nuclear is - then it is logically and clearly the one that should proceed. On its merits.
      Nuclear succeeds with no special pleading about environment values that are a hallmark of alt energy.

      report
    14. David Bindoff

      manager

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      GHS,

      fortunately I feel no need to clutch.

      Flamanville 3 in France has similar problem, big delays, cost blowout, now projected to cost 8.5 billion euros for a 1650MWe plant. The end price for power is likely to be similar to UK. (and again almost double the going [european] wholesale rate)

      Subject to examination of the detail of any specific and serious proposal I'm fairly agnostic on the nuclear power issue. I'm not sure where your thoughts are being informed, studies by NREL, University…

      Read more
    15. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to David Bindoff

      David,
      My main nuclear source - but not the only one by far - is a weekly study of World Nuclear Association newsletters commonly with follow up of links therein.
      Politics is boring. I'm not affiliated with anyone.
      "Point to", "Might", "Forecast", "Studies show", "Scientists claim" type words are off putting. Alternative energy has a long history of promises that have failed.

      report
    16. David Bindoff

      manager

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      GHS,

      'alternative' no longer includes wind and solar PV but perhaps you could argue CSP with storage is still 'alternative'

      9GW of solar PV installed last quarter, I would call that well established.

      I think alternative now would be wave power and low grade geothermal, just my perception.

      report
    17. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to David Bindoff

      David, People keep changing the definitions, which were pretty meaningless from the beginning. My error, I apologise.
      Is 9 GW the nameplate value, or is it the actual measured output averaged over irregularities and representing the whole quarter?

      report
  28. Marc Hendrickx

    Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

    The authors may not have seen this excellent TEDX presentation.. by Ivo Vegtar

    Scary bananas: How environmental exaggeration harms emerging economies.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zJn4gxCx3c#t=40

    report
    1. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Ivo Vegtar is a massive hypocrite

      One of the examples in this talk was that because green groups lobbied against Nuclear - the government introduced more coal

      He then says "Good work Green Lobby"

      This is similar to if you were punching me and I asked you to stop and so you then stab me - I didn't ask you to stab me, I asked you to stop punching me

      Likewise green groups didn't ask the government to introduce coal - they protested against coal, they also protested against Nuclear.

      Whilst he has some valid points, he is obviously pushing an agenda or else is just a massive hypocrite

      report
    2. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Also, he suggests that banana's have the same amount of radiation as nuclear waste

      the implication being that it is therefor as safe to roll around in mushed banana's as it is to roll around in nuclear waste

      report
    3. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      A quick perusal of your TC contributions suggests that in one day, you posted the Ivo Vegtar link five times. In addition, Peter Lang reposted the link on your behalf. Are you familiar with the term OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

      You have also posted the link on your blog: “ABC Watch” where your endeavours to smear The Conversation are duly noted:

      QUOTE: Climate spin at the Con…..ABC’s academic arm at the Con……… Labels: propaganda, the conversation....... In a tiz: Meanwhile the…

      Read more
  29. Eddy Schmid

    Retired

    Australians are against nuclear power, because for the first time in my life, Australians can avail themselves of the FACTS on this issue, widely and readily available on the WEB. The FACT, that proponents of nuclear power in Australia all seem to have financial connections to the industry one way or another, also spells out the bias in the comments made from such sources.
    Another FACT, is there has NEVER EVER, been a nuclear power station built with PRIVATE funding. In EVERY case, the funding has…

    Read more
    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Eddy Schmid

      Eddy,
      There are many functions taken on by central governments. Defence, for example. When did you last see a tank made for corporate use, or a large submarine.
      You are looking at the matter the wrong way round. Governments were invented to do jobs that are better done collectively, on behalf of the populace, rather than individually or corporately.
      Early on, because of the obvious nuclear-military connection, governments were routinely involved in the nuclear power industry.
      There is nothing…

      Read more
    2. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, I'm a tad amused and encouraged by your pro-nuclear advocacy because the ultimate trump card of the nuclear power lobby is that nuclear power is a solution to climate change and this runs contrary to all of your sceptical writing on that subject.

      It's a funny sort of irony that the nuclear debate serves as a vehicle for some AGW sceptics to switch and become ardent climate change activists.

      Nuclear science advocates in Australia don't tolerate climate change denial, it is big part of their raison d'etre to turn off coal.

      report
    3. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris,
      Have you conveniently forgotten that I wrote above that nuclear should be treated in its own right, not propped up by environmental solutions?
      Have you forgotten that I have not used pro-nuclear advocacy? I've simple quoted or stated a few views to balance the discussion here. Where have I pushed it?
      I am completely unaware of nuclear science in Australia having any expression of views in relation to climate change denial. All of my many colleague stated years ago that climate change is real, that's a given, irrespective of which partly line they follow. Some have problems with the fairyland of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, in part because of the present 15 year plateau in global temperatures, coupled with the 100% inability of any person to rigourously predict if the global temperature next year will be higher or lower than this year.

      report
    4. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Well good, Geoffrey, good luck with the balancing act!

      Please note that Australia's most prominent nuclear advocate, Barry Brook, overtly declares his site (bravenewclimate), and nuclear technology generally, to be very much tied to saving society from catastrophic climate change.

      If nuclear energy can't be argued to do that then it's prospects look very dim indeed considering the bundle of hurdles that would have to be overcome.

      report
    5. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris,
      Then you take it up with Barry. I red his blog as a measure of duty and don't always agree with it.

      report
    6. Eddy Schmid

      Retired

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, Please reassure me, that the alleged "higher radiation ore and put it into comparative isolation, well managed and contained, leaving less behind at the mine to harm future environments." is SAFE.
      How can you say it's safe AFTER it's been dug out of the ground when you admit even IN the ground it was giving off HUGE radiation anomaly ?
      This is the kind of double speak folks like you have been preaching for years, lets face it, you make your bread and butter from this industry, so of course…

      Read more
    7. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Eddy Schmid

      Eddy,
      Basically, you are close to right on most points you raise, IMO.
      The bit about digging up U and making the environment safer was tongue in cheek, as I've already mentioned. I was trying my hand at prose of the obfuscatory type that exaggerators and doomsayers often use on TC. It's correct in theory, but of no consequence.
      Also IMO, the nuclear industry has been about the least misleading of any major global industries. There were 'neutral' bodies like the IAEA right from the early days and…

      Read more
  30. Steve Hindle

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    Perhaps one of the biggest problems facing the nuclear industry is the complexity involved in understanding radiation. This makes it difficult for the average person to make a rational guess as to what the real risks are.
    The chart at the end of this link helps put things into perspective. Although it is not authoritative, it has some very surprising data.
    http://imgs.xkcd.com/blag/radiation.png

    report
    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Steve Hindle

      Steve,
      It does not take long to get adequate knowledge for general reading. It takes a little while more to nit pick selected items for protest. However, you are still way behind people who have worked in the industry.
      The chart you highlighted deals only with a small part of radiation safety. I did not look at it closely, but it seemed to be on the level.
      One of the 'problems' with radioactivity is that from the early days, ways to measure it - particularly gamma radiation - were very sensitive…

      Read more
  31. Gerard Dean

    Managing Director

    78% of people who don't like nuclear power love visiting France to enjoy sipping a cafe latte on the left bank.

    Zero % of those same people care that the French coffee they are drinking is heated by nuclear power.

    I may well have made up the statistics, but I think you get the picture.

    Gerard Dean

    report
    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Gerard,
      If you extend the analogy a little, most people have electricity fitted throughout their homes and work places. Electricity can kill, and does via the electric chair, for example.
      Can you imagine the selling job that would have to be done if wiring of homes was just being discovered today? Protestors would be marching in the streets demanding that this evil threat to them and their children never be let out of the lab.
      That partly sums up my feelings about anti-nuclear protest. It is so…

      Read more
    2. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      This is completely spurious argumnet and has no validity in this conversation!

      report
  32. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to account deleted

      something interesting for you. On a full moon clear night, my friends inverter shows a trickle of charge from his panels.

      report
  33. Garry Baker

    researcher

    As suggested once before in an essay here. Australia won't be embracing the Nuclear option until its way too late - Say mid century when its certain that tipping points have been reached.

    However, sometime before then, our country managers will have run out of assets to sell - thus they will be strapped for money. Enter the Nuclear waste dump option, where the world will come to us

    So yes, we will embrace Nuclear alright

    report
  34. Jonathan Maddox
    Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Software Engineer

    The biggest problem for nuclear energy is that it competes with both fossil fuels and renewables, which have lower barriers to entry, very fast R&D, and can exploit every economy of scale.

    Nuclear energy *is* cheap, and it *is* safe. However these advantages come with very big disadvantages. The public perception of its dangers is only one of these. Others are security, scale and the close ties with the public sector.

    Nuclear energy is only safe because it has been heavily regulated and…

    Read more
    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      One quibble ... when you say nuclear technology (fission) is safe that may be technically true ... depending on where and who. Might be safe in a relatively stable country like France ... how about North Korea? Iran? Yemen? Colombia? Mexico? Anywhere near fault lines, earthquake zones or tsunami prone places ... obviously not. Anywhere near dictators, crime gangs, insurgents, civil wars and extremists of any shape or size - probably best not even try.

      I know engineers of various sorts have…

      Read more
    2. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      History is that people in agitated places prefer suicide bombs for the time being.
      No real story of nuclear terrorism.
      Maybe the TV crews stay well away if you pop a radioactive device.

      report
    3. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Jonathan,
      If a bomb is made of DU, that's a no-brain amateur effort because it's so low in radioactivity that you can't call it 'dirty'.
      Your house contains a few ppm uranium. It's not talked about as 'dirty' because of this.
      Heck, I used to have a paperweight made of plutonium until a PC inspector took it. I used it to scare greenies deficient in knowledge of radioactivity physics, but it was no hazard at all.

      report
    4. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Hi Peter, glad to see your thoughtful and often humorous comments.

      As to your remarks about safe, I come from mechanical engineering back ground, There is not an engineer on the face of the planet, that can in good faith, disagree with the following statement;
      Every minute that machinery operates, is a minute closer to a component failure within the machinery. And, with systems of preventative maintenance, that are the best possible ( and Nukes have PM systems that are 1st class) , component failure, due to human error or undetectable structural weakness, is impossible to avoid. That is a fact.

      report
    5. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Les, that is beyond you and me and the scope of this blog.

      report
    6. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Jonathan, radio active material is available from lots of places. There was a case in the 80s in Brazil of some fools getting hold of caseum chloride? from a medical establishment.

      Dirty bombs are really not the worry,the spread of the radio active material by conventional explosive would harm hardly anyone compared to the blast wave of the explosion itself. I think it is safe to say that the technical knowledge needed to make a radio active of similar capacity to a even a small nuclear bomb is beyond the average terrorist. The dirty has a higher psychological warfare value than its weapon status.

      The real concern with terrorism and nuclear power is that a terrorist group could cause an event to increase the magnitude of the act of terror with a radio active "spill".

      My understanding is that security in nukes is very high and 1st class, and that the screening of employees is even a normal procedure. I don't think we need worry too much.

      report
    7. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      Les (and Geoff), you misunderstand me.

      I am not suggesting that depleted uranium has been used by guerillas or amateurs. It is quite commonly used by the armed forces of the United States, however, and it damn well *is* radioactive.

      Lumps of it are relatively harmless as long as they stay outside of the body. But shred it by firing it into a brick wall, a vehicle or a skull, and the fragments may well become lodged in peoples' bodies or even inhaled. That's not the same thing, and it's not…

      Read more
    8. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      So Afghanistan would be a good place to pop one in then?

      This happens to economists all the time ... we invent these beautiful little economic gadgets and systems that work perfectly in perfect conditions - all things being equal - but they never are equal out in the real world.

      It would do everyone a power of good if these engineers realised that they are dealing with the real world out here ... places where we wouldn't really like the local ppowers that be or might be to have their mitts on a source of weapons grade material. Ask Israel about Iran's peaceful nuclear power program, or Japan about Pyongyang's enthusiasm for fissionable materials.

      See the porblem is we must actually anticipate future regimes or the intentions of existing ones. We must anticipate the consequences of climate and sea level rises, we must anticipate the costs of things going wrong and who will pay.

      Reality really sucks.

      report
    9. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Jonathan,
      Depleted uranium has so little radioactivity that you would not be able to detect a block of it with a normal radiation counter wheres you can easily detect elevated radon-222 and its decay products in your cellar For health & safety purposes, it would be wrong to list it as a radioactive hazard.
      Rn-22 has a half life of 3.8 days. Uranium -238 has a half life of 4.47 billion years, ie, very infrequent decay events.

      report
    10. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Les Wilesmith

      “My understanding is that security in nukes is very high and 1st class, and that the screening of employees is even a normal procedure.”

      Indeed the screening of employees has increased since Fukushima:

      US nuclear facilities – Alcohol and controlled substance violations – 2013:

      Supervisor at Fort Calhoun at nuclear generating plant fails fitness test
      Supervisor at Limerick nuclear plant fails fitness test
      Supervisor at Oyster Creek nuclear plant fails fitness test

      Etc. etc., and so on: http://enformable.com/author/enfo/

      report
  35. Sarah Glass
    Sarah Glass is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Retired scientist/technologist

    Nuclear has changed. The new reactors are nothing like the old ones and even use the waste from the old ones as fuel.

    I would like to know a lot more about it, I think the reticence is because of history and the poor selling of nuclear recently along with all alternatives to fossil fuels. The mainstream press and it's sceptic bias is largely responsible for this.

    We are at the stage when we need to consider all options, time is nearly out.

    report
    1. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Sarah Glass

      Well no, the nuclear power industry has not changed.

      Innovative reactors "using the waste from the old ones as fuel" and so on were technologies developed in R&D labs in the 1960s and 1970s (and always involved a lot of chemical reprocessing of spent fuel outside the reactor). The power industry and the military do not use such interesting technology. The world has maybe three smallish working breeder reactors; expensive attempts to scale up have been fraught with problems and abandoned…

      Read more
    2. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Jonathan,
      You stopped writing too soon.
      You missed the part that says "On the other hand, the undoubted benefits of nuclear power have been shown to be .....".
      Let's try for balance, eh?

      report
  36. Shirley Birney

    logged in via email @tpg.com.au

    The nuclear industry has less credibility than the tobacco industry. Now the Gen IV ideologues say “Trust us, we’re fool proof. We’re going to gobble up all that dangerous waste that’s been dumped on the hapless masses.” They obscure the criminality of a nuclear rust bucket that’s now suffering the death rattles but one that continues to slaughter billions of marine life every year with its OTC "technology," invented by maniacal nuclear engineers/scientists. Each one of these Gen III/IV pundits…

    Read more
  37. MItchell Lennard

    Researcher - Distributed Energy Systems

    Oh another 24 hours and another lot of opinion dressed up as fact.

    Just for fun I will ask my question again,

    Before you all get upset / excited / rush to the barricades etc over which particular technology you all think is the most excellent can we just take a breath and go back to the basic question... do we have permission / agreement /social licence to spend the $500 billion.

    We know from two excellent bits of research from AEMO and from Grattan that a renewables based network will end…

    Read more
    1. Les Wilesmith

      horseman

      In reply to MItchell Lennard

      Sorry if i missed an earlier comment, containing this question. The answer is simply NO. I think the people made it pretty plain a few weeks back.

      report
    2. Martin Nicholson

      Energy researcher and author

      In reply to MItchell Lennard

      Mitchell, I assume by use of Hinkley Point as a cost base for new nuclear plants, you are disputing BREE's estimate for nuclear power at $3,500/kW. BREE didn't just pull this number out of the air.

      My estimate for a system with 25 GW of nuclear, 20 GW of gas and 50 GW of renewable and distributed generation systems by 2050 at $175-235 billion. Significantly less than the AEMO model.

      http://www.atse.org.au/Documents/Events/nuclear-energy-australia/pr-nicholson-martin.pdf

      report
    3. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Martin Nicholson

      G'day Mitchell,

      I just had a read of your presentation but I couldn't find what provisions you'd made for any whoops moments ... or is the idea that we won't be having anything like a Fukushima happening here and, if so, like Japan it will be the taxpayer as insurer of last resort.

      I have a bit more optimisim for thorium as a long-term energy supply system - much less inherent risk. But a long way off... as is a nuclear option.

      All a bit of an academic argument really given the very unlikely prospect of finding any investors for such a project as you suggest in the private sector and the time frames involved.

      So the short question is, how do you handle economic risk in your calculations?

      report
    4. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to MItchell Lennard

      Mitchell,
      Australians can afford a lot. (Just imagine how much is spent to attend sporting events).
      There are many 'luxury' expenditures. It's a matter of priorities.
      Australia, by some measures, is among the richest countries in the world.
      It's not good to go crying poor.

      report
    5. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Hi Peter,

      I'm very curious as to why you think a thorium-based nuclear fuel cycle has "much less inherent risk" than a uranium-based one.

      Thorium breeder reactors have included boiling-water and pressurised-water reactors very similar to traditional power reactors, as well as experimental types such as molten-sodium, gas-cooled and pebble-bed reactors. The water-cooled types have essentially identical risks -- in terms of both safety and cost -- to uranium breeder reactors.

      Pebble-bed reactors…

      Read more
    6. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      No argument that there are still major risks involved in thorium - but substantially less than the alternative presently on offer. It looks more promising for future work - largely because of the lack of a waste problem and the de-linking from weapons.

      Depends how desperate we get Jonathan - personally I believe (hope) that we never will and that we will use our cleverness to re-engineer our societies to cope with decentralised power and use less of the stuff. So I'm anything but a nuclear…

      Read more
    7. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I've read most of the links Cannara has posted here :-)

      It's complete myth that the thorium fuel cycle has no, or even reduced, waste or weapons risks. The risks are almost the same as for uranium fission. There is one difference, being that fresh thorium fuel for a thorium breeder reactor does not already contain enriched fissile material, but the reactor can't be *started* without enriched fissile material in some form. Past and existing thorium reactors have all been started using fission…

      Read more
    8. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      All greek to me ... I'm a very poor physicist indeed. The articles sent by Alex weren't posted here but to me personally. They involved a pretty solid critique of existing nuclear power and proposed thorium as a "potential" source of concentrated energy ... but none could be considered pro-thorium - rather anti-nuclear in tone and tenor but raising the potential advanatges of thorium once bugs had been ironed out ... and those bugs certainly seemed a lot smaller, less volatile and less risky than the existing nuclear industry. I'll go find them tonight and post them here for you.

      I hope I've still got them and that it wasn't a laptop or more ago. Bloody human technology :)

      report
    9. Martin Nicholson

      Energy researcher and author

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      For once I agree with you Jonathan. The safety issue comes more down to the reactor type than the non-fissile (fertile) isotope used in the reactor Th-232 or U-238. Th probably made more sense when it was thought that U was rare. We seem to be finding more sources of U so I don't see Th as becoming the major fuel source anytime soon.

      But the thorium advocates do seem to have done a good job convincing themselves that it is safer than uranium. For countries like India that has greater known reserves of Th than U then they may well go with Th but not on safety grounds.

      report
    10. MItchell Lennard

      Researcher - Distributed Energy Systems

      In reply to Martin Nicholson

      Hi Martin,

      I am familiar with all the existing Estimates ( including the BREE work) and I am highly sceptical. There is always a significant difference between what is initially estimated and what eventuates , especially when the initial estimates are generated with input from vested interests. The Hinkley Point C 'price' is a good one as its what EDF will sign up to, not what economists estimate. Given that my state has just paid out $4 Billion for a desalination plant I think the price quoted…

      Read more
    11. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to MItchell Lennard

      Mitchell,
      To avoid confusion, Geoffrey did not make the claim that we " are morally obligated to make this change". Geoffrey does not talk in emotive terms like that, preferring hard science over ideology.

      report
    12. MItchell Lennard

      Researcher - Distributed Energy Systems

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Sorry Geoffrey,

      My poor grammar has allocated my opinion to you.

      That said as an engineer and scientist I reject comprehensively the notion that asserting an opinion on moral obligation is a in any way emotive and somehow less rationale than cloaking self interest within quasi science and dodgy economic belief systems

      My conclusion that we all have a moral obligation to act on climate change is not an emotive response but rather the result of some highly structured analysis that draws…

      Read more
    13. Martin Male

      Somatic Psychotherapist

      In reply to MItchell Lennard

      I agree we all have a responsibility to respond to climate change. I would also add promptly and in a way that makes significant difference. I don't agree that nuclear is in its current form a solution. Nuclear will take way too long, as well as there have been some thorough posts here stating the full costs, that simply make it untenable.

      Incidentally I strongly disagree with the desalination plant. It is on par with a nuclear power plant an expensive "solution" with little benefit and many long term costs. It would have been more cost effective to provide people with water tanks and actively discourage water wastage. The real solutions to water "problems" in many ways is not much different to energy, reduce wastage , increasing recycling (including the use of clean sewerage water) and have the full costs directly paid by all consumers ( industry included).
      Thanks I did enjoy your post ;)

      report
  38. Gary Murphy

    Independent Thinker

    The answer to your question "Why don’t Australians see nuclear as a climate change solution?" is simple:

    Because we don't want it and we don't need it.

    report
  39. Trevor S

    Jack of all Trades

    "Why don’t Australians see nuclear as a climate change solution"

    I can't speak for any other Australians but myself. If you think Nuclear is the answer, you don't understand the question.

    I was all for fission in the '80s but we've left it too late.

    report
  40. Barbara Darvall
    Barbara Darvall is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Retired, science follower

    Les Wilesmith you're right, if something goes wrong, there's 'no brake'.

    And every time I read something about nuclear power stations, it seems to be reporting that the safety tests have been faked, or cheated in some way. Latest time, New Scientist, 17 August, reporting three nuclear power plants had been taken off-line in South Korea because of this.

    Maintenance is key, and cheating seems to abound. The management hasn't proven to be trustworthy.

    report
  41. Yoron Hamber

    Thinking

    So tricky this one. First of all, they are different, coal relative nuclear, not really comparable when it comes to how they work. Although coal is 'dirty' environmentally it's one of those 'natural' products we understand the risks of. Nuclear on the other hand is a unknown, when it comes to what it might do as something goes very very wrong, as in Fukushima. Two different concepts, one will air pollute as we use it normally, the other will not, comparatively speaking here. But if it goes wrong…

    Read more
    1. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Sort of senile those days I'm afraid. What I forgot to point out is the GWP (global warming potential) of coal. That's where nuclear power wins. But when disaster strikes? Go for a reduction of population world wide instead. And whatever natural sources of energy existing first, like water, sun, wind etc, those more dubious power sources, nuclear, coal, 'natural gas' (methane) and oil as a last resort when those sources can't be utilized any more.

      report
  42. Zvyozdochka

    logged in via Twitter

    "Why don’t Australians see nuclear as a climate change solution?"

    Because Australians understand that if we really put our mind to it, we can transform our energy sector with renewable energy and very cheap efficiency measures.

    Resistence to making that work is political via vested interests.

    report