Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Sneator Sam McMahon going all out for Small Nuclear Reactors

Senator McMahon is looking beyond currently commercialised nuclear technology, to Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). None of these exist in service anywhere in the world and as the WNISR2020 report points out, will cost more per kilowatt than conventional nuclear energy – and beyond a few prototypes SMRs are unlikely to come into play.

So, as renewables are perceived to be expensive when backed by storage, the solution is to shoot for a technology that may never hit prime time and even if it does, will be even more expensive than conventional nuclear, push up energy prices and erode carbon mitigation outcomes?

Senator Sam McMahon Still Backing Nuclear Power For NT https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/mcmahon-nuclear-renewables-mb1756/

November 11, 2020 by Michael Bloch  Country Liberal Senator for the Northern Territory Dr. Sam McMahon has clarified her views on renewable energy, but remains steadfast in her support of nuclear power for the NT.

Perhaps channelling Senator Matt Canavan, this is some of what the senator had to say about renewables in late October:

“Renewables are the dole bludgers of the energy mix,” said Senator McMahon. “They are a great hoax perpetrated by the industry on the gullible.”

They were pretty strong words and hard to misinterpret. A couple of weeks on, this is what Dr. McMahon is saying now:

“Do I hate renewables or believe they have no role to play, definitely not, but they are not the panacea of affordable, reliable energy.”

So things have been toned down a little – perhaps resulting from a realisation many Territorians and Australians generally think renewables are a really good thing – and they have been proven to be time and time again here and around the world. Senator McMahon also acknowledges renewables have an important place in the energy mix, but says they need a helping hand.

That’s called storage and smart integration. But:

“Reliable power grid stabilisation and firming can be added to the mix by use of batteries, hydro, hydrogen and other complex systems,” the senator states. “These additional costs are often ignored by proponents of renewables.”

Perhaps Senator McMahon is ignoring that these additional costs; particularly batteries, are getting cheaper by the month.

Here’s something that isn’t.

Nuclear Power For The Northern Territory

Senator McMahon believes when it comes to emissions, reliability and power output, nuclear power is a clear winner and should be considered an option for inclusion in the NT’s energy mix.

On the emissions front, an analysis of 123 countries over 25 years by the University of Sussex Business School and the ISM International School of Management found nuclear and renewables don’t play well together in terms of carbon reduction.

As cost is a burning issue for the Senator and according to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2020 published in September, the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of nuclear has risen by over 50 percent over the last 5 years and it has become the most expensive form of generation except for gas peakers. SQ’s Ronald has also written on how renewable energy increases the cost of nuclear.

A report from the CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator published early this year confirmed wind, solar power and energy storage technologies are by far the cheapest form of low carbon options for Australia.

But Senator McMahon is looking beyond currently commercialised nuclear technology, to Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). None of these exist in service anywhere in the world and as the WNISR2020 report points out, will cost more per kilowatt than conventional nuclear energy – and beyond a few prototypes SMRs are unlikely to come into play.

So, as renewables are perceived to be expensive when backed by storage, the solution is to shoot for a technology that may never hit prime time and even if it does, will be even more expensive than conventional nuclear, push up energy prices and erode carbon mitigation outcomes?

Hm.

Anyway, it’s nice to know Senator McMahon doesn’t hate renewables.

 

November 12, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

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