Skip to main content

Australia Nuclear Update

From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Prime Minister John Howard backed nuclear power for Australia provided it was economically feasible.

"I am of the view that we certainly should not turn our face against it as Mr Beazley has done. I can't understand why he did that," he told Southern Cross Radio in Melbourne.

"I am not saying that we should have it tomorrow. What I am saying is that if the economics of energy lead us to embracing nuclear power than we should be willing to do so."
For more coverage, click here and here.

Technorati tags: , , , , , , ,

Comments

Matthew66 said…
As an expat Australian, I am glad that the Australian community is having this debate. I fear that as long as the coal burning power industry does not have to pay for the isolation of all hazardous waste from the environment, then nuclear energy will not be cost competitive with coal in Australia. In Australia, coal is plentiful and located very close to where it is needed for power generation, typically a coal mine and a power station are co-located, so there are no transportation costs.

I really get tired of Senator Lyn Allison saying that nuclear power is expensive and dangerous. In the USA and UK in the 70's and 80's there were huge construction cost overruns, but I don't believe that has been repeated in many other countries. If the GE and Westinghouse experience in Asia is anything to go by, NPPs can be built on schedule and on budget. Compared to the number of people killed by inhaling fumes from coal fired power stations, coal mining and exploding gas mains, claims that nuclear power is "dangerous" are refuted by the empirical evidence.

The Australian Democrats, the Greens and the Australian Labor Party have a long standing prejudice against nuclear power that is not, in my opinion, supported by scientific evidence.
Starvid, Sweden said…
Australia has got one of the highest per capita CO2 emissions in the world, and due to the prolomged severe drought they need even more power for desalinzation.

Going nuclear is the only responsible and realistic option.
Robert Merkel said…
That said, while Australia retains its current policies with respect to carbon emissions it's unlikely any nuclear plants will be built in the near future. When you've got enormous reserves of coal located near the major cities, and there's no serious attempt to reduce carbon emissions, Australia is about the most difficult place in the world for nuclear to compete economically. In Victoria, where I live, the "pool price" wholesale electricity is about 0.028 AUD per kilowatt hour, or about 2.07 us cents per kilowatt hour.

Without some changes to the market, it may be kind of difficult for new nuclear build to be feasible. As I understand it, it's difficult getting *any* new plants built at those kind of prices ;)

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…