Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Failing nuclear industry is on subsidised life support

In no deregulated energy market, anywhere in the world, is the private sector putting up its own money to build nuclear power stations. The industry remains on subsidised life support everywhere and is making headway only in a tiny handful of countries with state ownership of generators and command and control energy networks.

Old-tech nuclear power is not the answer  Scott Ludlam : The Australian * September 17, 2010 “………….An apparent blindness in the boardrooms and editorial desks of Australia is preventing the acceptance of this basic fact: the nuclear industry, at heart, is a military industry holding up a battered commercial facade.

Nowhere is this more true than in the new markets of China, Russia and India – nuclear weapons states – all of which the Australian mining industry is desperate to access. The proposed ramping up of uranium sales to these countries under the cover of “safeguards agreements” needs to be the subject of open-minded and well-informed debate in Australia.

It is hard to identify where in the mainstream media this debate will be given a chance to develop beyond the juvenile anti-Greens spitting contest we’ve witnessed during the past 48 hours.

To the great dismay of those who genuinely thought nuclear fission would be a cheap way of spinning a turbine, attaching plutonium plants to steam engines turned out to be a potent force for mass bankruptcy.

In no deregulated energy market, anywhere in the world, is the private sector putting up its own money to build nuclear power stations. The industry remains on subsidised life support everywhere and is making headway only in a tiny handful of countries with state ownership of generators and command and control energy networks. The net effect, as researcher Mycle Schneider has graphed in stark terms, is that the nuclear industry flatlined in the 80s, began to decline in 2002 and is headed for steeper decline, or in the best case stagnation, for the foreseeable future.

The reasons are a complex mix of ageing reactors, formidable project costs, the unwillingness of insurance companies to cover the astronomical liabilities of reactor accidents and the 65-year unanswered question of what to do with radioactive spent fuel for the next quarter of a million years.

This is reflected, in part, in the recent world uranium price slump and the 24 per cent drop in Australian uranium export earnings in the past 12 months. We still earn more from our cheese exports than from uranium. If there is a riskier, more expensive, slow moving and downright ridiculous way of tackling climate change, then I haven’t come across it yet.

Is it really the view of the Australian media and business establishment that people who ask these difficult questions are extremists or economic illiterates? Or is it just that the uranium mining industry would rather not expose the unpleasant reality of their business model to the harsh light of a genuine debate?

Old-tech nuclear power is not the answer | The Australian

September 17, 2010 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, uranium | , , , ,

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