Australian news, and some related international items

Never mind the danger: economically nuclear power for Australia is a stupid idea

Nuclear energy is still a stupid idea for Australia, SMH,
You don’t even need to monger any scares about radiation: nuclear energy isn’t remotely the solution to Australia’s self-created energy problem 
Andrew P Street, 16 Mar 17 As you are doubtlessly aware, our nation is currently gripped in an energy crisis that demands rapid – indeed, hasty and reckless – action to address.

Plenty of new solutions are being suggested – except for renewables, obviously, which could meet all of Australia’s energy needs right now if wind and solar energy wasn’t all a socialist leftist plot fermented by that notorious Safe Schools-loving Marxist feminist greenie, the Weather.

The Prime Minister has announced plans to expand the Snowy River Hydroelectric scheme, which will be a boon to employment via massive construction projects and generate enough energy to power half a million homes – an excellent plan that will benefit places that aren’t actually having any problem with their power supply.

And, predictably, a bunch of Coalition backbenchers have come out in favour of that old conservative favourite, nuclear energy. Which isn’t going to happen in Australia, obviously, because words like “Fukushima” and “Chernobyl” trigger the bit of people’s brains that don’t want to endure a slow, lingering death from radiation-induced cancer. …

The biggest problem is one that you might not be aware of, which is that electricity demand in Australia has been dropping for years – partially because of better efficiency, partially because of higher prices, partially because of government regulation, and partially because of the decline of heavy manufacturing in Australia.

This is one of the reasons our liquid natural gas manufacturers have been focusing on export rather than local generation: the demand in Australia just doesn’t exist to a suitably profitable extent….

as the SA storms showed us, the biggest liabilities relating to Australia’s energy security is the profiteering of the national electricity market, and the weakness of the grid itself.

If we’re seriously thinking about large scale investment devoted to shaking up the way we meet Australia’s energy needs, maybe having a handful of large, centralised generators with long spindly arms of distribution towers which get blown over isn’t the best model to maintain.

So you might conclude that right now might not be a great time to sink billions into making more large-scale electricity plants of any shade – but there are some extra costs that are unique to nuclear reactors.

  • First up, nuclear reactors are very, very, VERY expensive to build……
  • Depending on the level of regulation a plant takes between five and seven years to build and another year or more to get online – so, again, not a great short-term solution for power generation by a government eager to improve energy security.

    And that’s assuming that a large-scale project of this type and complexity never runs into any snags.

  • then you have the decommissioning costs, which are in the billions of dollars. ….
  • the state is forced to pick up the tab for de-poisoning the site, which is what’s currently happening at Sellafield in the UK.

    There’s also the cost of storing radioactive waste, which is a whole extra issue – but if the British experience is anything to go by, the public can expect to be paying for that too. …..

  • any green credentials are more than offset by the carbon emission heavy process of mining the uranium to fuel it, which is an environmental nightmare. Right, Ranger Mine?…….
  • So, to recap: nuclear energy costs a lot to set up, a lot to break down, creates extra new storage problems that are expensive to fix, and isn’t a long term solution in any case. Advocating for power plants to be built in Australia is just another excuse to subsidise the construction and mining industries – so at least it’s in line with the rest of the government’s existing policy priorities.

    If only the sun hadn’t been built by Karl Marx and was therefore ideologically untenable. Then we’d all be fine.

March 17, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business

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