Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Minerals Council renews push for nuclear energy, but rather coy about its costs

“The construction of nuclear power plants has proven to be an economic disaster for the corporations involved and a massive waste of public monies, given the plants are all entirely reliant on government financial subsidies,” IEEFA said.

Nuclear inquiry sparks industry campaign to lift moratorium,  https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/nuclear-inquiry-sparks-industry-campaign-to-lift-moratorium-20191201-p53fsz.htl By Mike Foley, December 1, 2019 — The Minerals Council is ramping up its long-run campaign to remove Australia’s ban on nuclear power, claiming new market research shows majority community support for the technology.

Federal Parliament banned nuclear power in 1998, and the moratorium has remained in place with bipartisan support ever since.

The Morrison government has asked the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Energy to investigate the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia.

According to the Minerals Council of Australia, one prerequisite for nuclear power, community support, could be achieved if the public are properly informed about the technology.

The Minerals Council commissioned JWS Research to sample Australians’ support for nuclear power. The survey of 1500 people found 40 per cent support nuclear power and 33 per cent oppose it.

The support for nuclear energy rose to 47 per cent when respondents were presented a range of positive and negative facts about the technology.

“The more people learn about it, the greater the support for nuclear energy,” said Minerals Council chief executive Tania Constable.

She said the survey showed politicians that Australians wanted nuclear to be considered in their future energy mix.

“This should give them the courage to act. Any government serious about addressing climate change must be looking at nuclear, the zero-emissions foundation of electricity systems across the globe.”

Focus groups identified the top four positive and negative factors that influenced people’s opinions on nuclear power. These factors were then put to the survey respondents.

The factors for nuclear energy were delivery of emissions-free power around the clock, Australia’s vast landmass could safely house reactors in remote locations, increased uranium mining, and nuclear power plants could bring jobs growth, and Australia already permits uranium exports – which could be utilised at home.

The factors against nuclear energy were the potential for human error to cause accidents at a reactor or waste facility, previous catastrophic failures such as Three Mile Island and Fukushima, concerns of health impacts for people living near reactors or waste facilities, and the risk that uranium exports could be used for weapons.

Energy analyst Lazard’s estimates the current cost of energy production for nuclear is more expensive than renewables.

The levelised cost of solar power around the world for solar power is about $60 per megawatt hour, $42/Mwh for wind, $145/Mwh for coal, and $220/Mwh for nuclear.

Nuclear power production costs could come with new technology. Small to medium sized reactors are proposed as potential cost savers, but there are no commercial examples in operation.

Government contributions would likely be required to underwrite private investment in a nuclear power plant in Australia. The cost of building Britain’s first nuclear plant in a generation, Hinkley Point, has blown out to more than $42 billion. It is contracted to supply the government with power at $176/Mwh.

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis submission to the inquiry believes nuclear is one of the most expensive power sources.

“The construction of nuclear power plants has proven to be an economic disaster for the corporations involved and a massive waste of public monies, given the plants are all entirely reliant on government financial subsidies,” IEEFA said.

The Minerals Council submission said nuclear’s zero emissions power generation had to be incorporated into Australia’s future energy mix.

December 2, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, marketing for nuclear, spinbuster

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