Friday, February 24, 2006

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."
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3 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 ;)