Australian news, and some related international items

Ziggy Switkowski’s nuclear push just does not stack up economically

‘‘Nuclear has had its day,’’ Mr Wakeham said. ‘‘Ziggy Switkowski has been trying to drum up support for nuclear power for five years, but there is not a single company that is interested, and that’s because the economics don’t stack up, particularly in a country like Australia that has really good renewable energy resources.’’

Business in push for Victoria to go nuclear, The Age, Clay Lucas October 19, 2010 “…………Environment Victoria campaigns director Mark Wakeham said nuclear power was currently illegal in Victoria, and should remain so. He said the Committee for Melbourne was trying to ‘‘grab some headlines’’ by including it in its plan. ‘‘But a plan for Melbourne’s future that’s reliant on nuclear energy is seriously lacking in credibility,’’ he said. Continue reading

October 18, 2010 Posted by | General News, uranium | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greens call for ALP, Liberals to be honest about nuclear issue

“The Labor Party says they are against it but have let ANSTO head Dr Zigmunt Switkowski travel all over the country as atomic energy salesman-in-chief…..”An election campaign is when cards should go on the table. The Australian Greens oppose nuclear power in Australia. Where do the others stand?”

Greens call on major parties to declare their hand on nuclear energy , Scott Ludlam, 22nd July 2010, The Australian Greens are calling on Labor and the Coalition to be up-front with Australians about their position on nuclear power after a renewed push by the uranium lobby. Continue reading

July 23, 2010 Posted by | General News, uranium | , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear and fossil fuel lobby’s dilemma over carbon price

The big producers of fossil fuels and uranium, having safely disposed of Kevin Rudd and his resources profit tax, are now treading carefully on the Climate Change issue.  They and the servile mass media did a good job on discrediting Climate Change – so we wouldn’t need to do anything about carbon emissions. The idea is to keep coal roaring on until it can be replaced by nuclear power.

The problem is that their pitch on nuclear power is that it’s the answer to global warming , (even though global warming isn’t supposed to be  real or man-made).  Therefore  Australia would need a carbon price,  shudder! a carbon tax!

No wonder Ziggy Spinowski’s  being a bit quiet these pre-election days!

July 13, 2010 Posted by | Christina reviews, climate change - global warming, uranium | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear lobby needs a carbon price – how embarassing!

John Howard asked Ziggy Switkowski in 2006 to look at nuclear power, and Switkowski told him it couldn’t happen without a carbon price. So, no nuclear power without a “great big new tax”……

No carbon price? You’re being conned | Crikey, 12 July, by Bernard Keane “……..The Coalition is dead keen on nuclear but won’t ever move without Labor giving them cover. But as Crikey showed in November last year, nuclear power is ludicrously expensive and needs massive taxpayer support, otherwise it costs a lot more to build and more to operate than renewables. And that’s before you figure out where to park the waste for a few hundreds of thousands of years or decommission reactors. Continue reading

July 13, 2010 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy, politics, uranium | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Renewable Energy: False Claims by Switkowski Report and the Nuclear Lobby

The promoters of nuclear power claim that we have to choose between coal and nuclear, that there is no alternative. This is a false choice, between BHP-Billiton and … BHP-Billiton.

Nuclear power: no solution to climate change, Green Left, quoting Mark Diesendorf , 17 April 2010 “………The 2006 Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Review, chaired by Dr Switkowski..  claimed that “nuclear power is the least-cost low-emission technology that can provide baseload power”. However, there was no basis in the report for such a gratuitous statement, which was outside the terms of reference of the report. Continue reading

April 19, 2010 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, solar, spinbuster, uranium | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Australian mainstream media’s pro-nuclear bias

by Christina Macpherson 8 April 2010.  Yesterday’ s National Press Club Debate between Ziggy Spinowski, (pro-nuclear) and Bob Brown (anti-nuclear) was duly reported by Australia’s mainstream media.

And all these reports covered both points of view, both arguments.

BUT – look how the mainstream media chose to headline these.  You wouldn’t know that Bob Brown was even there, would you?

Ziggy Switkowski: we need nuclear power for climate – THE AUSTRALIAN

Nuclear power ‘won’t fuel arms race’ ABC Online The head of Australia’s nuclear science agency has rejected claims that nuclear power in Australia could lead to nuclear weapons in the region. (surprise, surprise!)

Nuclear technology safer than coal shipping: chief Sydney Morning Herald AN AUSTRALIAN nuclear power industry would bring little risk of an environmental disaster such as the potential oil spill on the Great Barrier Reef, Ziggy Switkowski says.

Nuclear shift ‘likely’ The Age Nuclear energy advocate Ziggy Switkowski says he expects the public mood to shift in favour of nuclear in the next three years.

April 8, 2010 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy, media, uranium | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gambling Central Australia’s future, with nuclear wastes

A major omission in Dr Switkowski’s comments concerns what effects over thousands of years that leaking and leeching radioactive waste might have upon Australia’s precious subterranean aquifers. For a nation as reliant as we are on underground water, that represents a massive gamble to say the very least.

NUCLEAR UNDER TONES?, Larry Buttrose,  15 March, 2010, “…Dr Switkowski continues: “Eventually spent fuel is transported to a national repository, a well-engineered deep hole in the ground, probably in central Australia.” Continue reading

March 16, 2010 Posted by | environment, Northern Territory, water | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is nuclear energy a reasonable option for Australia?

Nuclear power and Australia John Quiggin January 21st, 2010 There’s been a bit of discussion about nuclear power lately, but it tends very much to the abstract. I thought I would look into the question of when, if ever, nuclear power might be a reasonable option for Australia to consider, and how we should go about it.

An obvious starting point is the Switkowski report commissioned by the Howard government, which I’ve uploaded here. There are three main points which allow me to provide an answer to the question, at least for the next decade or so.
(i) In the absence of a substantial carbon price nuclear power is not competitive with coal
(ii) First-of-a-kind (FOAK) nuclear plants are likely to be very expensive (above $80/MWh), not competitive with wind or gas (even with CCS)………………minimal conditions can’t be met before 2025 at the earliest.

The US, which has been attempting for a decade to restart its nuclear industries is still at the pilot stage, exploring a number of technologies, and offering to subsidise the construction of three plant designs for each major option. Most of the proposals are on existing sites, only six have reached the point of a plant actually being ordered, and none is anywhere near starting construction……..

……That suggests that Australia should forget about nuclear power entirely for at least the next five years. If things are going well for nuclear, and not so well for renewables, that would be the time to start setting up regulatory structures, looking for sites and so on.

January 22, 2010 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, energy | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ziggy Switkowski’s nuclear plan would cost $225 billion or more

This could cost about $225 billion in today’s money, or close to half a trillion dollars for 50 reactors……….

Nuclear economics just don’t add up Sydney Morning Herald MICHAEL R. JAMES December 24, 2009 -“……. it was inevitable that the federal Opposition would revisit nuclear power as an option for a low-carbon future in Australia. Given the recent sobering Government report on carbon capture and storage, “clean coal” seems less and less as the likely saviour………… Continue reading

December 24, 2009 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ziggy Spinowski still spruiking “clean” “green” nuclear power

Christina Macpherson 18 Dec 09 Why does the media continue to give such a platform to the narrow views of a nuclear physicist obviously spruiking for his business?   Is it because of some mindset that sees “hard” science (nuke physics, geology etc) as somewhow “real” scince, as compared to the “soft” sciences like ecology, environmental science, climatology?

It wouldn’t be so bad if Ziggy Switkowski showed that he had a clue about the ecological effects of radiation from uranium tailings, or the discharge of hot water into marine environments. He obviously doesn’t.  Nor does he show any understanding even of the  problems that will shut down nuclear plants as extreme weather events occur, and as sea levels rise.

But perhaps most of all, Ziggy Switkowski is right out of his depth on economics – as predictions of nuclear’s likely costs show not just the exorbitant construction costs, but also the running costs. As quoted today (by Tessa de Ryck) “a 2007 report that nuclear power will likely cost over $7,000 per kilowatt, Moody’s Investor Services is now taking an even more cautious view towards investment in nuclear power,”

A clean and green way to fuel the nation THE AUSTRALIAN , Ziggy Switkowski, 18 Dec 09 “………Cost. Nuclear energy has the highest capital cost, up to $4 billion to 6bn for our first 1000MWe reactor, but low running costs largely independent of the cost of uranium itself………………….

Water. Nuclear reactors operate on the same thermodynamic cycle as coal and gas-fired stations and need access to water at about the same level. However, use of sea water is a practical option so reactors are frequently sited along a coast…………..The Productivity Commission may be a good place to start.

December 18, 2009 Posted by | 1, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, uranium | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Ziggy Spinowski doesn’t mention radioactive wastes

Ziggy-glowingHave you noticed how nuclear spruikers, such as Ziggy Spinowski, never talk about the “back end” of the uranium and nuclear industries? It’s all about the “front end” – the wonderful “cheap, “clean” “best practice” mining and reactors. But what does everybody do with their wastes, (apart from shutting up about them)?

Well, that’s a mystery. Mountains of radioactive uranium tailings – Polluted towns and areas – Dead reactors – too “hot” to move for decades, perhaps centuries?

Mostly – radioactive wastes just sit there – in cooling ponds, in containers. But then where to? Dumped in some “Third World” country? Or in the ocean- but always in or near the land of some indigenous peoples, who won’t have the financial, legal, media or whatever sort of resources you need to stand up to nuclear corporations.

October 31, 2009 Posted by | Christina reviews, uranium | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exposing Ziggy’s spin

a-cat-CANZiggy Switkowski is pretty careful these days, on where he spouts his pro-nuke spin. He doesn’t want demonstrations and hecklers. So, it’s usually to the refined world of corporate Australia. Or at Lucas Heights, where he recently spruiked on the seemingly inevitable move to nuclear power.

Ziggy talks about Australian public pro-nuke opinion, without any evidence to support this. He does not mention cost, nor water use, nor waste disposal.

Ziggy continues to tout nuclear as the solution to global warming, ignoring the factors of nuclear fuel cycle carbon emissions, and the fact that even if it did work, nuclear power would supply only electricity, and would be years too late.

Ziggy prophesies a future of continued unbridled energy consumption while the world is waking up to newer ways, energy conservation, energy efficency, cogeneration. Of course, Ziggy dismisses renewable energy sources, rather as horse and buggy experts might have dismissed the automobile a century ago.

September 22, 2009 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina reviews, spinbuster, uranium | , , , , , , | Leave a comment