Australian news, and some related international items

David Glynne Jones on the unwisdom of nuclear power for Australia in a heating climate

Inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia Submission 249  David Glynne Jones

…………4. Australia’s fresh water supplies are already under extreme pressure to meet existing and future environmental flow, agricultural, urban and industrial requirements, and the use of very large quantities of fresh water for the cooling of nuclear power stations is unlikely to be either viable or acceptable.

  1. Consequently the only likely viable option will be to use seawater cooling, requiring nuclear power stations to be located close to the coastline, and with significant environmental impacts on affected coastal waters resulting from water heating and very large water flows.
  1. By comparison, solar photovoltaic and wind turbine generating systems do not require the use of any significant water resources for cooling……..

Energy affordability and reliability

  1. Recent European experience has shown that nuclear power generation is not reliable during extreme heatwave conditions, with nuclear power stations being required to operate at reduced power levels or shutdown completely.
  1. Given that the future climate outlook for Australia is longer hotter heatwaves during the summer, this must be given serious consideration in any decision to adopt nuclear power generation in Australia.
  1. There is no evidence that nuclear power generation using either LMR or SMR technology can compete with other emerging 21st century electricity generation technologies, which are evolving at an increasingly high rate and have gained broad market investor confidence.
  1. The AEMO/CSIRO GenCost 2018 report projects capital and operating costs for both LMR and SMR technology at uncompetitive levels for the foreseeable future.
  1. There is no evidence of market investor appetite for nuclear power generation investment in the absence of government subvention.
  1. The UK SMR program has a NOAK target of GBP 60/MWh (~ AUD 110/MWh), but this cannot be demonstrated until a significant number of reactors haved been built and operated for a significant period. The FOAK target is GBP 75/MWh (~ AUD 140/MWh).
    1. The report found that “Investing in a nuclear power plant is uneconomical. This This
      holds for all plausible ranges of specific investment costs, weighted average cost of
      capital, and wholesale electricity prices”.

      1. Economic feasibility
      2. A recent report published by the German Institute for Economic Research (known  as DIW Berlin) reviewed the development of 674 nuclear power plants built since 1951, finding that none of the plants was built using ‘private capital under competitive conditions’. A full copy of the report is available at

      1.pdf. holds for all plausible ranges of specific investment costs, weighted average cost of  capital, and wholesale electricity prices”.

      1. It would be sensible for the Committee to seek input from the energy investment
        1. It is highly unlikely that the commercial insurance industry would ever be prepared
          1. The cost of firmed renewable-generated electricity is already as low as AUD
            1. For a proposed Australian nuclear power generation industry capacity of 20 GWeThe report found that the expected economic loss for a 1000 MWe (1 GWe) nuclear power station would be in the range of Euro 1.5-8.9 billion – approximately AUD 2.4-14.4 billion).this would translate to a future economic loss in the range of approximately AUD50-300 billion………..

            10.The biggest risk for potential market investors in nuclear power generation is the future uncertainty created by competing technologies, given that there is currently no operational evidence that nuclear power generation can ever compete directly with other electricity generation technologies. 70/MWh (, and is likely to reduce further over the next two decades.

          12.Australia has a superabundance of solar energy resources – the largest of any nation state in the world. At current solar energy conversion efficiencies Australia has the potential to produce 30% of the world’s current electricity demand from just 1% of its land area (by comparison agriculture uses 53% of Australia’s land area).

          13.The increasing technological and commercial viability of long distance HVDC transmission means that Australia will be able to export highly competitive low cost renewably generated electricity directly to the Asian market. to underwrite the risks of catastrophic failure, and consequently this will need to be underwritten by government (ie taxpayers), as is currently the case in other countries with nuclear power industries. and insurance industries.


October 7, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics

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