Australian news, and some related international items

Some points on #NuclearCommissionSAust Issues paper 3

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINRoger Sowell , Sowell’s Law Blog 22 July 15 .It is interesting indeed that the questions for Paper 3 did not specifically mention renewable energy as providing supply to the grid. It is perhaps not surprising, given the Commission’s charter to examine the Nuclear Fuel Cycle. However, questions 8, 12, 15, 16, and 17 have wording that is sufficiently broad that one could include renewable energy in the answer.

A more encompassing grid planning study would (and many do) include various forms of energy generation. The advantages and disadvantages of each form are assessed. An excellent example is from the California Energy Commission, at, Comparative Costs of California Central Station Electricity Generation, published in 2010. However, even this study is confined to a comparison of costs, both initial and operating costs. Safety, impacts on the grid, fuel supply and price volatility, environmental impacts, and reliability are not included.

scrutiny-on-costsI would not anticipate the nuclear power industry being able to kill renewable energy, in fact, quite the opposite is very likely to occur. Most forms of renewable energy have a decreasing unit cost over time, most especially wind turbines over the past decade. Meanwhile, nuclear-based power has an increasing unit cost. The only examples I can find where nuclear power plants can be built for approximately $4,000 per kW are those countries where labor rates are still very cheap, such as China. But, labor costs increase over time so that small advantage will disappear. Finally, the grid-storage problem has been solved technically, with under-sea storage and hydroelectric power as described by MIT. As offshore wind-turbines decline in installed cost, and the under-sea storage costs also decline with experience, truly sustainable and inexhaustible clean power on demand will finally exist. The electricity may not be too cheap to meter (the big lie of nuclear power), but it will be relatively cheap and not subject to price increases due to fuel availability.

July 22, 2015 - Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016

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