David Leyonhjelm guest post on nuclear necessity

Deputy NSW Premier John Barilaro is in the headlines for acknowledging a simple fact, that nuclear energy is inevitable in Australia. Hysterical opposition from those with little knowledge about nuclear power has already begun.

The problem with any discussion on nuclear power is that it is fraught with misinformation promoted by hysterical nuclearphobes. Nuclear power evokes fear of the unknown, because we don’t have nuclear power here in Australia. We’ve also been repeatedly told that it’s scary and something to fear.

We may live in an age that values feelings over facts, but psychologists tell us that the best way to tackle a phobia is to confront it; to take a closer look, and to understand the details, thus removing the mystery upon which irrational fears rely.

Those willing to do that find nuclear power is no big deal. In much of the rest of the world it’s just a normal means of energy production, growing from 3.3 per cent of global electricity generation 40 years ago to 10.6 per cent today. It is a significant energy source in countries like South Korea and Sweden, while in France it provides 75 per cent of electricity generation. The United States, United Kingdom and China are expanding their use of nuclear power by developing small modular reactors which are cheaper, safer, more flexible and generate little waste.

There are 400 nuclear reactors in the world now, and will be over 500 within 10 years. More than 60 are under construction currently and China plans another 200 by 2050.

This global growth in nuclear power is occurring despite the 2011 disaster in Fukushima, Japan, where an earthquake and tsunami killed 20,000 people. It’s often forgotten that the resulting meltdown of an old and poorly located nuclear power plant, while it prompted significant upheaval, actually killed no one.

It may contradict the beliefs of the flower power generation, but the nuclear power industry is significantly safer than other large scale energy-related industries. Fossil fuel power, hydro power and wind power are each more deadly, both in absolute terms and relative to the power they produce. A 2006 review commissioned by the Howard Government came to that conclusion and it remains true today.

An Australian nuclear industry also has the potential to create a secondary industry based on the safe storage of waste products. With vast uninhabited, geologically stable land, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory could become world leaders in the field of nuclear waste storage. If a small country like Sweden can safely generate nuclear power and provide for the safe disposal of waste, so can Australia.

Australia has around half the world’s known uranium deposits. We currently export uranium to other nations that reap the benefits of nuclear energy, and there are more export opportunities to come, yet we are rejecting the benefits ourselves. Meanwhile our household energy bills continue to rise.

Australia is the only G20 country with a blanket ban on nuclear energy. If we are genuine about tackling the energy gap, the soaring cost of electricity and our commitment to emissions reduction, we need to dispel the myths and let the nuclear industry flourish.

David Leyonhjelm is a Senator for the Liberal Democrats

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108 Responses to David Leyonhjelm guest post on nuclear necessity

  1. Tim Neilson

    If we are genuine about tackling the energy gap, the soaring cost of electricity and our commitment to emissions reduction,

    Surely you’re trolling here, Senator.

  2. v_maet

    I wouldn’t trust the Government to be able to regulate the industry to a level of safety required by the populace to support it given how they have failed to regulate anything else effectively.

    Also, the Fukushima disaster has consequences far further than the direct deaths with radiation levels in Hawaii being orders of magnitude higher than the modelling suggested they would be.

    Much easier to just go with coal which is easy and we have an already skilled workforce to develop.

  3. Tel

    Coal is cheaper and IMHO better too.

    I wouldn’t freak out about a heavy water style reactor provided it was stuck in South Australia somewhere.

  4. Tel

    Australia has around half the world’s known uranium deposits. We currently export uranium to other nations that reap the benefits of nuclear energy, and there are more export opportunities to come, yet we are rejecting the benefits ourselves. Meanwhile our household energy bills continue to rise.

    Coal, same!

    Gas, same!

  5. Baldrick

    If we are genuine about tackling the energy gap, the soaring cost of electricity and our commitment to emissions reduction, we need to dispel the myths and let the nuclear industry flourish.

    I’m not interested in emissions reduction. Why can’t we just dispel the Leftard myths and let the coal industry flourish.

  6. Bruce of Newcastle

    Well said Mr Leyonhjelm.

    I’d add that nuclear is fairly insensitive to fuel cost whereas the coal price has been rising lately due to the rapidly expanding demand from China and India. So the cost differential is probably narrowing.

    On the other hand given our “expertise” at building submarines, desalination plants and whatnot I have a fear that our pollies would insist on designing a nuclear power plant on the back of a MacDonalds serviette then building it with CFMEU labour. It would take 50 years to construct and would never produce any actual electricity.

    So yes I like the idea of several nuclear power plants in this country…so long as someone else builds them here.

  7. Helen

    There is an industry going begging here.

    Supply of ready made rods and storage/disposal of same at the end of their lives. From Australian Uranium, by Australia, rented to the world. For the greenies who dont like it, deport them to Tas or NZ and go with what we got.

    F’Me, it is a no-brainer. It could be like OPEC. We could all be driving around in aircon 4WD pretending to be camel herders and flying our jets to shop at Herrods.

    Seriously, there is an opportunity here, for someone with courage to just do it.

  8. Helen

    Slip o the tongue there, Harrods. Herrods is that other bloke.

  9. manalive

    Whether coal or gas or any other generation method is cheaper or ‘better’ or whatever is beside the point, get rid of commonwealth and state nuclear prohibitions and allow a free open market operate.

  10. Dave of Reedy Creek, Qld

    Chances of nuclear power happening in Australia is probably less than zero. Watch the loony left, the manic greens and the unwashed rent-a-crowd start screeching and protesting if this gets an airing. Poor old Oz…stupidity reigns.

  11. Percy Porcelain

    Not only does your average imbecile know nothing about nookular, they can’t even bloody well pronounce it.

    I’m looking at you, Josh Frydembergers.

  12. Chris M

    Agree Dave. But it needs to be pointed out that “the flower power generation” is your own of course.

  13. RobK

    so long as someone else builds them here.
    That would be a given Bruce. We haven’t got that kind of technology but now is a good time to start the journey which would take a decade or more.
    Bicycles kill more people than nuclear electricity generation. Almost anything kills more people than nuclear electricity generation.
    We need all forms of electricity generation to compete. There is plenty of room. I suspect nuclear services would be a bigger earner than electricity generation. Coal is good but presently the delusional carbon dagger hangs over it’s head. Nuclear has a frightening history for many so both of the main viable forms of are rejected by the politics of Australia. If this continues our living standards will fall, ultimately these resources will be developed by our sucessors who by then may be others, not our children or grand children .
    Wake-up Australia. So much potential, so little drive or self awareness.

  14. H B Bear

    Nuclear is the ultimate internal inconsistency of the Gaia hugging crew, zero emissions baseload electricity. We should have a “conversation” about it just to see the Greens and Liars tie themselves in knots over it.

  15. Percy Porcelain

    just to see the Greens and Liars tie themselves in knots over it

    Nooclear wintah! Eleventy gazillion years radioactive half life! Three Mile Island! Chernobyl! Fukushima! If one young gay is poisoned by rogue radioactive isotopes while on his way to blow up ACL Headquarters, that’s one too many! Three headed fish as featured in that documentary the Simpsons! Etc, etc, etc.

    No thanks.

  16. RobK

    Wholesale experimenting with the lowest energy density sources of electricity known is no way to have a secure future. We need to change from all out RE as soon as possible.

  17. Dr Fred Lenin

    Some places will be awash,leftoids wetting themselves over the noocleeah bizness as Georgie bush two would say , the suggestion is far too sensible and true for our polliemuppets to even think about it the alpbc would attack their mate turnbull for this Abbot type suggestion .

  18. Squirrel

    If we had a Government capable of winning difficult public debates, the prospect of nuclear could, at the least, be used to highlight the fact that it would be madness to “de-carbonise” in the absence of the technological miracles (storage) which would be required to run a western economy with renewables. We don’t, however, have such a Government and any flirtation with nuclear by this crowd would end up as yet another massive own goal.

  19. RobK

     the suggestion is far too sensible and true for our polliemuppets to even think about it the alpbc would attack their mate turnbull for this Abbot type suggestion .
    Perhaps. It still needs to be said, loud and often.

  20. Coal is easier to manage, we already have the know how and plentiful supplies. Additionally, we contribute sweet FA to global CO2 (as if it was a problem in any case), so why not follow the KISS principle and just use coal? Fracking would be pretty cool as well: http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/18-earth-day-predictions-were-spectacularly-wrong.

  21. Texas Jack

    As long as it’s unthinkable to do anything other than meekly accept the taboos of the Green-Left in certain households in Wentworth you may as well whistle Dixie than expect progress towards an Australian nuclear industry.

  22. RobK

    Bemused,
    Coal is fine but many areas in Australia are remote from coal fields. Each form has its place.
    There is a time to stop being intimidated by the propaganda of the SJW. Sooner is better than later.

  23. A Lurker

    If the planet is going into an extended cooling/drying trend then we’re going to need as much power as we can generate in order to not only heat our homes, but also desalinate seawater and move water around our dry continent.

    And to be blunt, ruinables simply won’t cut the mustard.

  24. Coal is fine but many areas in Australia are remote from coal fields. Each form has its place.

    But first off, bring back what we had, then consider what else is needed.

  25. RobK

    Bemused,
    I agree on a return to baseload and i have nothing against coal, but if we are to renew the baseload fleet then coal and nukes should be given equal access to bid for approval on their merits.

  26. BorisG

    Also, the Fukushima disaster has consequences far further than the direct deaths with radiation levels in Hawaii being orders of magnitude higher than the modelling suggested they would be.

    reference?

  27. BorisG

    Gas, same!

    Australia’s gas resources are about 4% of the world gas resources.

  28. BorisG

    Whether coal or gas or any other generation method is cheaper or ‘better’ or whatever is beside the point, get rid of commonwealth and state nuclear prohibitions and allow a free open market operate.

    ‘exactly. Of course the nuclear industry would need to fund the insurance.

  29. BorisG

    We don’t, however, have such a Government and any flirtation with nuclear by this crowd would end up as yet another massive own goal.

    It may lead to nothing but how it can be own goal, especially a massive one?

  30. Entropy

    This is yet another reason why we should seriously looked at getting a dozen Virginia class nukes. Get people used to the idea, and the subs could also provide emergency power for Adelaide.
    Next step our own nukes.

  31. benaud

    I must say turning Adelaide into a Nuclear waster storage site is very appealing.

  32. RobK

    https://m.dailykos.com/stories/2017/5/16/1662958/-Measuring-Fukushima-Contamination-in-Fish-Caught-in-Hawaii
    In 3 fish statistically significant (>95% confidence interval) but trace levels of 134Cs was detected.  Given that 137Cs/134Cs ratio in vast majority of the release from the Fukushima site was ~1 the authors were able to determine the fraction of radiocesium present in these fish owing to Fukushima versus legacy sources like atmospheric weapons testing.  Maximum radiocesium levels in the fish approached 0.7-0.8 Bq kg-1 which is more than 1,500 fold lower than conservative levels thought be a health risk set by the FDA (1,200 Bq kg-1).  Most fish had radiocesium attributable to weapons testing fallout. Fukushima radiocesium accounted for ~60% of the radiocesium detected in an Ahi measured by the authors.

    Not much substance to the claim it seems.

  33. egg_

    Nuclear is the ultimate internal inconsistency of the Gaia hugging crew, zero emissions baseload electricity. We should have a “conversation” about it just to see the Greens and Liars tie themselves in knots over it.

    +1

    Ooga Booga ‘lectricity trumps windmills.

  34. Eyrie

    A little nukie never hurt anyone.

  35. RobK

    Looks like very little problem for Hawaii.
    http://www.pacioos.hawaii.edu/projects/fukushima/#ocean
    monitored oceanic cesium activities around Oʻahu because models predicted that the radiation plume released to the ocean would reach the main Hawaiian Islands in about 1-2 years. What is favorable for the islands in this prediction is that by that time the activity of cesium-134, which has a 2-year half-life, would be halved. Also, the longer it takes for the plume to reach Hawaiʻi the more the horizontal and vertical mixing processes dilute concentrations of radionuclides in the plume. The authors analyzed surface ocean samples from Station ALOHA and Honolulu monthly between March 2011 and March 2016. Cesium-137 was consistently measured at around 1.5 Bq/m3 in all samples (see Figure 4) while cesium-134 was never detected in any of these samples. Contrary to model predictions, the authors concluded that the radiation plume had not reached Hawaiʻi in detectable concentrations within 60 months of its release from Fukushima. They subsequently sampled every 6 months for further monitoring.

  36. RobK

    V_maet,
    Also, the Fukushima disaster has consequences far further than the direct deaths with radiation levels in Hawaii being orders of magnitude higher than the modelling suggested they would be.
    As it turns out the measured radiation is orders of magnitude less than predicted and quite harmless, infact barely detectable. A minor detail in the narrative. Nevermind.

  37. Nerblnob

    People don’t realise how much background radiation we live with every day.

    Also the cost of nuclear is inflated by crazy safety requirements (I’m told by atomic engineers).

    I’ve looked at plans for drilling wells to bury nuclear waste in Scotland. The volumes are tiny. You’d see more volume in empty beer barrels out the back of your local pub.

    Having said that, Australia should go all-out for new coal power in the meantime.

    No point trying to appease Greens. They founded their party on opposition to renewable energy in the form of hydro.

    These people won’t even let you build a dam if you give in to their brainless obstructionism – as Australia has.

  38. Bruce of Newcastle

    A little nukie never hurt anyone.

    Yep. It’s protective. The Greens have been suppressing this since nukes were invented for the obvious reason.

  39. Sydney Boy

    You receive more radiation on a long haul aeroplane flight than you would receive in a lifetime of living in Hawaii.

  40. Boambee John

    Rob K at 1927

    The Becquerel is known in the nuclear business as the “bugger all”.

  41. RobertS

    David said:
    “There are 400 nuclear reactors in the world now”.
    Did you count the reactors in naval vessels David?
    What we need to do is hire the US Navy to run Australia’s transition to nuclear power.

  42. RobK

    Over 140 ships are powered by more than 180 small nuclear reactors and more than 12,000reactor years of marine operation has been accumulated. Most are submarines, but they range from icebreakers to aircraft carriers.http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/non-power-nuclear-applications/transport/nuclear-powered-ships.aspx
    Thanks RobertS

  43. Y

    While I am fully in favour of nuclear power, the idea of it being built and run by our current political, beaureacratic, and construction classes gives me nightmares.

  44. Perth Trader

    Joint News Release WHO/IAEA/UNDP

    5 September 2005 | Geneva – A total of up to 4000 people could eventually die of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) accident nearly 20 years ago, an international team of more than 100 scientists has concluded.

    As of mid-2005, however, fewer than 50 deaths had been directly attributed to radiation from the disaster, almost all being highly exposed rescue workers, many who died within months of the accident but others who died as late as 2004.

  45. Perth Trader

    there have been 4000 cases of thyroid cancer, mainly in children, but that except for nine deaths, all of them have recovered. “Otherwise, the team of international experts found no evidence for any increases in the incidence of leukemia and cancer among affected residents

  46. Perth Trader

    As for environmental impact, the reports are also reassuring, for the scientific assessments show that, except for the still closed, highly contaminated 30 kilometer area surrounding the reactor, and some closed lakes and restricted forests, radiation levels have mostly returned to acceptable levels. “In most areas the problems are economic and psychological, not health or environmental,” reports Balonov, the scientific secretary of the Chernobyl Forum effort who has been involved with Chernobyl recovery since the disaster occurred

  47. Perth Trader

    According to the Forum’s report on health, “the mental health impact of Chernobyl is the largest public health problem unleashed by the accident to date.”

  48. RobK

    Y,
    There are substantial international institutions that set the standards for safety. It wont be the pollies.

  49. Perth Trader

    50 , fifty, FIFTY……this number needs to be repeated. 50 people dead from the greatest, biggest, hugest nuclear accident in mans history up to the last major report in 2005.

  50. RobK

    From the linkhttp://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/non-power-nuclear-applications/transport/nuclear-powered-ships.aspx
    The US Navy has accumulated over 6200 reactor-years of accident-free experience involving 526 nuclear reactor cores over the course of 240 million kilometres, without a single radiological incident, over a period of more than 50 years. It operated 81 nuclear-powered ships (11 aircraft carriers, 70 submarines – 18 SSBN/SSGN, 52 SSN) with 92 reactors in 2017. there were 10 Nimitz-class carriers in service (CVN 68-77), each designed for 50-year service life with one mid-life refuelling and complex overhaul of their two A4W Westinghouse reactors. The Gerald Ford-class (CVN 78 on) has a similar hull and some 800 fewer crew and two more powerful Bechtel A1B reactors driving four shafts as well as the electromagnetic aircraft launch system. It has an expected service life of 90 years.

  51. Nelson Kidd-Players

    I figure the Chernobyl plant was the nuclear equivalent of the Trabrant.
    I figure the Fukushima plant was the equivalent of the Isuzu Bellett.
    Heopfully if we get a plant it shall be a little more up-to-date.

  52. Rafe

    The problem at Fukushima was the location within the range of the tsunami also failure of cooling pumps which were submerged. Both easily avoided with good planning.
    See Merkel’s insane response.

  53. Nelson Kidd-Players

    Rafe, the Victorian SEC used to have land on the French Island reserved for a plant. Couldn’t get a better place in terms of protection from rouge waves, while also being reasonably close to the path the power takes from Gippsland to Melbourne.

    The land was subsequently sold – after all we have so much cheap brown coal that nuclear would never be worth it. How times change…

  54. Dave;

    Chances of nuclear power happening in Australia is probably less than zero. Watch the loony left, the manic greens and the unwashed rent-a-crowd start screeching and protesting if this gets an airing.

    It would be worthwhile doing it for the entertainment value alone.

  55. BoN;
    I see the Taiwan Building made from steel contaminated with Co60 is mentioned.
    Good stuff.
    Perth Trader:
    There were many abortions carried out in Europe after Chernobyl. The panic and fear merchants caused an infinitely greater loss of life than the accident did.

  56. Today’s Australia is really too stupid to try nuclear. This is not pioneering, have-a-go Australia.

  57. BorisG

    50 , fifty, FIFTY……this number needs to be repeated. 50 people dead from the greatest, biggest, hugest nuclear accident in mans history up to the last major report in 2005.

    The number of deaths caused by this is hotly debated. A conservative figure is about 4,000.

  58. nerblnob

    French Island reserved for a plant. Couldn’t get a better place in terms of protection from rouge waves,

    Rouge waves?
    What’s the max factor on those?

  59. Herodotus

    You can talk sense about this, about climate, about various things political, but it won’t make a jot of difference to the majority of the media, who in turn tend to have the pollies by the short and curlies.
    They can’t even talk too freely about mending the budget or paying down debt. Austerity has been created as the fifth horseman, and it’s mean, uncaring, unfair to tey and curb expenditure.
    Nuclear energy? For how many decades has it been off limits?
    Dams? Now coal.
    Signing up to Kyoto or Paris has been done to win brownie points with the media-fed activists and general purpose lefties.
    It’s going to take some political brawn, like those Hungarians have, to turn the tide. David won’t be able to do it with sweet reason.

  60. Spring is coming

    I’m terrified of Nuclear power…

    Being three to four times the cost of coal!!!

  61. RobK

    Herodotus,
    I understand your sentiment but thats no argument for it not to be said; put it out there, often and loudly. It’s the least you can do to show some defiance. It beats total capitulation to ignorance.

  62. RobK

    Spring is comming,
    What do you base that assertion on? Consider:
    https://en.selectra.info/energy-france/guides/electricity-cost#structure-electricity-bill-France
    France enjoys one of the lowest electricity prices in Europe; at 14.72 eurocents per kWh, the average cost of electricity in France is 26.5% cheaper than the EU average (20.02 euro cents per kWh).
    The price of electricity in France includes three types of costs:

    The cost of generating the electricity itself: this represents about 31% of the cost of electricity for residential customers. About 75% of electricity generated in France comes from nuclear-generated power.
    Delivery costs: this is known as the TURPE (Tarif d’utilisation des réseaux publics d’électricité – Usage Tarif for Public Electricity Networks) and represents about 33% of the residential customer cost of electricity. The TURPE covers the costs of delivering electricity from power generating facilities across high voltage lines (managed by the RTE – Réseau de Transport d’Electricité) and local distribution lines (managed by the ERDF, which covers about 95% of France)
    Taxes: there are several taxes that are applied to electricity consumption (see below), and when put together, they represent about 31% of the cost of electricity for residential customers

  63. herodotus

    RobK, what I’m saying is look at what actually works. You have to play hardball at some point.
    Is it any coincidence that two diametrically opposed regimes have adopted the same approach of “editing” the media? Our lefty media are moaning about how Orban has suppressed media that is critical. They seem less concerned with the Turkish “coup” that was false flag, with the massive purging of the military, and the suppression of media to the extent that hardly any are remaining who dare speak against Erdogan. He’s taking the secular state apart and paving the road back to Islamism.
    So, on the one hand we have the Turkish recidivist Erdogang, and on the other the conservative Hungarians under Orban. Both are effective in what they are doing. Orban’s government has had a big win in the latest election.
    It’s all very well to spout the easy motherhood statements about letting the press run free, but the reality is that they are for the most part “enemies talking to our friends.”
    I’m grateful for those handful who speak sense, and we all know who they are. But they are a minority in both the media and the parliament. It has not changed anything, it will not change anything without a force majeure of some sort. We last saw that happen when the grassroots of the Libs all yelled at once, and it was still a close run thing that got Tony in to replace Malcolm in 2009.

  64. RobK

    BorisG,
    The number of deaths caused by this is hotly debated. A conservative figure is about 4,000.
    Perth Traders link on the subject said some estimates suggest the final death toll may approach 4000, to date 50 confirmed.
    Where do you get “conservative figures” from?….reference?

  65. RobK

    Herodotus,
    I agree that it will take something more than David’s post to turn the tide. However, raising the issue regularly and arguing the point will keep it simmering and there’s the odd chance of picking up some wayward soldiers for the cause along the way. Every little bit helps. It will be a long march back from the long march.

  66. Linden

    What gets me is that, this of the year thousands of Australian tourists will go to Europe and spent very pleasant time admiring everything they are seeing and doing, all the while often in close vicinity of a nuclear power station facility. Not once I ever heard anybody say that they were frightened about it, I would say in every case they never even thought about it. If you do a trip down the Rhine into Amsterdam you will pass one such facility on the river bank. I never heard any Australian tourist going off their heads about this power plant!

  67. OneWorldGovernment

    We should have a nuclear power plant for every desalination facility.

    The ‘scumiferous’ marxist socialist politicians and bureaucrats of Australia figured that desal plants would be run off ‘renewables’.

    Who is in charge of the tumbrels?

  68. Nerblnob

    Linden – I’ve probably linked here before that the #1 & #2 most touristed countries in the world, France & USA, are also the #1 & #2 with most nuclear power stations.

    Since I’m always banging on about drilling rigs, I could show you a few places where you probably went right past drilling sites without ever being the wiser. Like 2010, a big directional well under Lake Geneva from behind a lakeside caravan park near Montreux. At one point the drill crew and service hands who weren’t in their own caravans had to move across the border to France because their accommodation had been pre-booked for the jazz festival.

    Fear campaigns – nuclear, fracking, csg – work on ignorance and unfamiliarity.

  69. Tel

    I figure the Chernobyl plant was the nuclear equivalent of the Trabrant.
    I figure the Fukushima plant was the equivalent of the Isuzu Bellett.
    Heopfully if we get a plant it shall be a little more up-to-date.

    Both of those accidents were very preventable. However there’s a simple reason why nuclear plant gets used well past it’s design date, and that’s because every day you can keep it running makes more money but the day you stop it you face a massive cleanup cost and it stops making money. Thus the marginal incentive to, you know, just keep it ticking over for one more day, is huge.

    You would need rules in place to put money aside for cleanup during the lifespan of the plant, and have an honest trustee to hold that money only to be released after the power station gets shut down and cannot be restarted.

    That’s why coal and gas is better right now, we don’t have the legal and governance infrastructure to find any person or organization that can be trusted with a front loaded profit and a future cleanup cost. With a coal plant you can just shut it down temporarily, replace some pipes or upgrade the boiler, do some refurbishing and bring it back. With nuclear all that steel becomes radioactive, you cannot just go in there and start welding new pipes.

  70. Nerblnob

    The ‘scumiferous’ marxist socialist politicians and bureaucrats of Australia figured that desal plants would be run off ‘renewables’.

    Unless your grid is powered by hydro only, or hydro & geothermal like Iceland, nothing big is run off renewables.

    “Green” powered deals get their power from the same grid as everybody else.

    I believe the Innamincka pub was running off Geodynamics geothermal for a while.

  71. Anonandon

    What we really need is a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver it over long distances. The North Koreans have proven the strategic value of having one. Then we don’t need 50B subs.

  72. RobK

    Tel,
    All large scale types of generation have legacy issues, including RE. Reactors are designed to take account of the maintenance issues you raise. Disposal of high and low level waste is an area where Australia could really excel.

  73. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Coal is cheaper and IMHO better too.
    I wouldn’t freak out about a heavy water style reactor provided it was stuck in South Australia somewhere.

    I’m with Tel, as above.

    I’d love to freak out the Greenies with discussions of South Australia’s nuclear future for generation and disposal while we get busy building more coal-fired capacity. Nuclear is a down-the-track option for Australia but not yet. Get back to coal first. And very, very soon. Speak up for it now, David L.

  74. Dr Fred Lenin

    Lizzie,I agree,SA is the logical place for a nuclear power station. Several in fact. It produces the uranium and its previous Peoples Decromatic socialist government blew up the coal fired station,this would compensate the power deprived unfortunates who live there .

  75. RobK

    Lizzie,
    I agree but by putting all the cards on the table the best choice will be obvious. JoNova has a revealing post of what we are in for. We need all guns blazing to get out of this contorted mess.
    joannenova.com.au/2018/04/even-aemo-head-admits-solar-panels-are-a-big-disrupter-in-australia

  76. Boambee John

    Linden
    #2694853, posted on April 25, 2018 at 8:12 am
    What gets me is that, this of the year thousands of Australian tourists will go to Europe and spent very pleasant time admiring everything they are seeing and doing, all the while often in close vicinity of a nuclear power station facility.

    While I have no substantive evidence to support it, it remains my opinion that Chernobyl convinced Gorbachev, among others, of the utter impracticality of fighting a major conventional war in Europe littered with nuclear reactors. I think this helped turn Gorbachev towards Perestroika, and led to the fall of the Wall and the ultimate collapse of communism.

    The watermelon communist greens are trying to ensure that that problem doesn’t arise here.

  77. Tel

    Disposal of old windmills is expensive and labour intensive but not particularly hazardous (unless broken bits of it drop on your head, or you slip on a decaying eagle carcass).

    Disposal of old solar cells is not fun at all. They produce fine splinters of glass, contain exotic elements like Cadmium, and often they are glued together with plastic layers that make them difficult to dismantle.

    Coal and gas plant… made with good honest steel and concrete.

  78. RobK

    Australia could really move forward if remote sites didn’t have to run on deisel. If desal ran on nukes, deserts could bloom.

  79. tgs

    While I have no substantive evidence to support it, it remains my opinion that Chernobyl convinced Gorbachev, among others, of the utter impracticality of fighting a major conventional war in Europe littered with nuclear reactors.

    Nah both cold war powers assumed western Europe would turn NBC as soon as hostilities broke out.

    Not true at all.

  80. Anthony

    I’m all for nuclear power. In Australia the health damage to burning coal subcritically is fine particulates that gets into people’s lungs causing or exacerbating respiratory disease. However, the damage caused amounts to maybe $2.5B/year. If we built 25GW worth of nuclear reactors at $5 billion per GW that is $125 billion and a 50 year payback – so its a long time.

    The primary issue I see is that its a lot of money to invest in a plant that may take 5-10 years to build. There is an established playbook by anti-nuclear activists whereby they encourage legislators and regulators to enforce design changes mid build. The fixes then need to be modelled and approved before installation. The cost overruns and delay for the first plant will be horrendous. The better bet is small modular reactors used by other countries built in a factory and simply installed on site.

  81. Entropy

    How about the first one is built somewhere in northern Australia we want to populate? It is used to desalinate irrigation water and thus transform the local area, and run oodles of air conditioners.
    Like anthony suggested, a prepackaged reactor(s).
    Importantly deliver cheap power far away from the nimbies.

  82. Entropy

    What gets me is that, this of the year thousands of Australian tourists will go to Europe and spent very pleasant time admiring everything they are seeing and doing, all the while often in close vicinity of a nuclear power station facility.

    When much younger and on a tour with a well known Australian bus tour company, I much enjoyed pointing out to the sweet young blondes at the back of the bus a nuclear power station in the Loire as we drove past. Their eyes widened like saucers.

  83. Boambee John

    tgs
    #2694927, posted on April 25, 2018 at 10:10 am
    While I have no substantive evidence to support it, it remains my opinion that Chernobyl convinced Gorbachev, among others, of the utter impracticality of fighting a major conventional war in Europe littered with nuclear reactors.

    Nah both cold war powers assumed western Europe would turn NBC as soon as hostilities broke out.

    Not true at all.

    Neither of us can know for certain, but both sides in tge previous decade had poured massive resources into updating and reorganising their conventional forces.

    Just sayin’ …

  84. Is there a site that shows just how much electricity a city needs, say, per head of population or in total?
    For example – how much power is used in Darwin each 24 hours or Alice Springs, or Blackstone WA?

  85. RobK

    Modular reactors would be the way to get the ball rolling i think.

  86. RobK

    Winston,
    http://www.industry.gov.au/Office-of-the-Chief-Economist/Publications/Pages/Australian-energy-statistics.aspx#
    Gives a breakdown on energy use in Aus but i didn’t find exactly what you asked for, though it does dice it up a bit.

  87. Mark A

    Winston Smith
    #2695032, posted on April 25, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Is there a site that shows just how much electricity a city needs, say, per head of population or in total?
    For example – how much power is used in Darwin each 24 hours or Alice Springs, or Blackstone WA?

    Unless you live alone and use gas for cooking, just look at your electricity bill.
    For a family of 3 or 4 it will be a good average no matter where you live.

  88. RobK

    A lot of energy is used in commerce, industry and public utility such as water and streetlights, sewage pumps.
    Ventilation in highrise etc

  89. egg_

    For a family of 3 or 4* it will be a good average no matter where you live.

    *An electric off-peak hot water service will be approximately one third of the energy bill for the average family of 4, below that it is uneconomic.

  90. Each day a volume of Sydney Harbour of clear sweet water from the Ord flows in the sea. This sweet clean water, if pumped across the Central Australian desert it would, through irrigation, evaporation and precipitation turn the desert into a rainforest. Birds and animals will come and humans will follow. Not a new or first experiment. Israelis already have done it in their desert and are repeating it in Africa.
    To do it successfully, we need to pump a large volume of water over long distances. This would require a lot of power. This power could be generated from a series of nuclear-powered power station built across the desert that would operate the pumping station to pump this huge volume of water. Later on, when humans move in and built settlements and towns, these power stations will be ready to provide power for homes and industry. …………….and dream on ………………..

  91. Rafe

    Nice Tel!
    OHS alert on eagle carcases ☺

  92. Rafe

    Posting from Herzlyia station Israel.

  93. Why would we install nuclear when we have hundreds of years worth of coal and gas underground within easy reach?
    One day we will discover or develop a new energy generation method making all those underground resources virtually worthless. Why not use them while they’re worth something and make money as well?

  94. RobK

    Baa Humbug,
    We also have a good proportion of the worlds nuclear resources. Why should we leave that undeveloped? Especially as it will lead to possible down stream industries such as waste management. This is an issue with coal too but its not practical to remove it from site where it is used.

  95. RobK

    Both coal and gas have uses other than burning for fuel.

  96. Thanks for the answers above.
    They help.

  97. BaaHumbug;

    Why would we install nuclear when we have hundreds of years worth of coal and gas underground within easy reach?

    The cost of transporting the fuel would be a factor. A string of pumping stations serviced along a pipeline powered by diesel or coal requires a railway for fuel transport. I doubt that it would be practical to lug these bulky supplies in in an initial project. However if it was going to be a highway/railway/pipeline project, the initial cost wouldn’t get past the beancounters.
    Just my thoughts.

  98. Rafe

    We could pay off the national debt the NBN NDIS and Gonski by storing the nuclear waste of the world.

  99. Rafe – we could use the energy remaining in that stuff to do all kinds of things.
    Glassify it, run water through the bricks, turn it into steam and generate electricity.
    It just takes imagination – something Leftists have in abundance, but they refuse to have an engineer to do the numbers.
    Because feelz…

  100. I’ve never ruled out nuclear energy – I agree that a lot of the fear of it is not justified.
    But I have never been able to figure out the real LCoE. The most authoritative report I’ve seen was used by BREE about ten years ago, but it had two serious deficiencies.
    1. It had no figure for the cost of full indemnity insurance at market rates. This information is not publicly available. Every nuclear power today either indemnifies the industry or provides cut rate insurance at public expense.
    The report excused this hole with the ludicrous argument that no insurance premium costs were being added to their wind and solar analyses either.
    2. The cost of decommissioning was magicked away by applying the same high discount rate as was applied to earnings. No, no! That’s an accountancy solecism. Decommissioning cost would be covered by a sinking fund in a nice safe investment at a much lower rate.

    Since then, construction costs for new nuclear seem to have gone into orbit. Hinckley Pt C is costing the UK AUD160/MWh. Lazard https://www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-of-energy-2017/ puts nuclear at 3 times the cost of wind and 50% more than CCGT. A grid of wind, solar and CCGT firming can be quite low emissions yet highly reliable, and a deal cheaper.

    So, can anyone out there supply a persuasive cost analysis that makes sense for Australia?

  101. Anthony

    We could pay off the national debt the NBN NDIS and Gonski by storing the nuclear waste of the world.

    Gross debt is $550 billion. Meanwhile, we would probably only be able to make a few hundred million or a few billion per year storing waste. Probably less than half a milion tonnes of high level waste has been produced historically. Ie less than 5x soccer pitches 1 metre high filled with waste. For the low level waste, three quarters has been disposed of. So, maybe if a lot more countries started using nuclear technology
    and everyone sent us both their low and high level waste.

    Also, keeping in mind that some politicians like Democrate Harry Reid believe you can keep the nuclear waste at the power plant, just 10 feet underground. So, Australia making a profit off a problem some people dont think exist may be difficult.

    The other issue will be the costs of building a facility to survive at least three centuries. So you need dedicated ships and vehicles, a specialised port etc? I would argue that if you are taking nuclear waste that you need to consider taking regular toxic waste to increase the economies of scale. Globally several hundred million tonnes of toxic waste are produced. Vastly more than all nuclear waste produced in history.

    Rafe – we could use the energy remaining in that stuff to do all kinds of things.
    Glassify it, run water through the bricks, turn it into steam and generate electricity.

    This is a really interesting idea. Artificial geothermal?

  102. rugbyskier

    If the Greens think people are frightened by nuclear power can they explain the population growth of Pickering, Ontario, where a nuclear power station was commissioned in 1971. From 1981 to 2016 the population of Pickering has trebled from 35,000 to around 100,000 and would have been higher if the provincial government hadn’t restricted the city’s development. There are suburban housing developments within a kilometre or two of the power station and North America’s busiest highway is a few kilometres north.

  103. tgs

    Boambee John
    #2694993, posted on April 25, 2018 at 11:38 am
    tgs
    #2694927, posted on April 25, 2018 at 10:10 am
    While I have no substantive evidence to support it, it remains my opinion that Chernobyl convinced Gorbachev, among others, of the utter impracticality of fighting a major conventional war in Europe littered with nuclear reactors.

    Nah both cold war powers assumed western Europe would turn NBC as soon as hostilities broke out.

    Not true at all.

    Neither of us can know for certain, but both sides in tge previous decade had poured massive resources into updating and reorganising their conventional forces.

    Just sayin’ …

    Much of which was to be operational in a NBC environmment.

    But yeah, let’s go with your hunch over literally billions of dollars of upgrading.

  104. Nerblnob

    Rafe
    #2695147, posted on April 25, 2018 at 2:12 pm
    Posting from Herzlyia station Israel.

    Well, I hope your train came. Used that station a bit as the gas company drilling offices are in Herzliya, down near the beach.

    It’s a bit of a hike to the station and the one-way system in rush hour traffic makes taxis unfeasible.

    Good cafe in the park above the station if you’re going back that way.

    Try their shaksuka for brunch, that’ll make a man out of you.

    https://tinyurl.com/ycntfhhz

  105. JD

    Our neighbours in Indonesia are pursuing a low cost Molten Salt Reactor with Thorcon
    These guys want to use shipyard technology to produce small modular reactors. Well, we have an idle shipyard waiting to build submarines in the meantime.
    Short presentation (~8mins)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=472&v=Q4xjQWBw7i0

    I wish there was some way to ping BoN (Bruce of Newcastle) to have a look at the following (molten chloride salt reactor) to see if it adds up: (my background is in electronics engineering not chemistry)

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