Should we get nuclear power?

The latest distraction thrown up by the struggling Morrison Government is a push for nuclear power. The Nats began it last week. Today we see more Coalition flunkies joining the push.

The AFR has trolled the internet to find somebody else that supports the notion in Poland. At The Australian it’s Menzies Insitute doyen Nick Cater:

If ever there were a time for our political class to shake off the nuclear taboo it is now. The imperative to strengthen Australia’s underwater naval capability is stronger than at any time since the end of the Cold War. The benefits of switching from diesel-electric to nuclear submarines deserve to be debated.

A spin-off from a nuclear defence capability would be the chance to install nuclear reactors to generate electricity, since defence and civil benefits go hand in hand. If we are serious about eliminating net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the option of nuclear must surely be on the table. Yet Anthony Albanese has dismissed the idea of nuclear energy as “a fantasy”, ruling out the possibility of bipartisan agreement on his watch.

That’s the extent of the argument, which is a giveaway. Where is the policy process to convince us that this is anything more than another culture war distraction? If you’re serious, you don’t just throw this kind of radical change in direction out there without any substance.

I don’t object to nuclear if it is part of a well-conceived decarbonisation plan. It can result in accelerated emissions mitigation though that comes at certain costs. The first of which is that Australia is currently engaged in the Coalition’s phenomenally botched $200bn construction of a new generation of diesel submarines. Is Nick Cater suggesting that the government walk away from those contracts and be sued for scores of billions, as well as create huge sovereign risk?

Second, a nuclear Australia needs very careful thought in terms of our strategic future. Such a move would risk our participation in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Our neighbours may be forced to follow as we kick off a nuclear race in Asia. Will that aid our safety over time?

Third, nuclear power is not something that the private sector can do by itself. It takes immense subsidies because it is so very, very expensive:

Australian energy costs compared

In five years renewables will be much cheaper:

Price of solar and batteries over next 5 years

If it goes the way we think it will, renewables plus full storage will be more 80% cheaper than nuclear:

Price of solar and batteries over next 5 years

The difference will be made up entirely by the taxpayer. Again, we might choose to go that way but it will mean the effective nationalisation of the grid, no doubt then outsourced for Coalition mates to rort.

Fourth, what about the waste? Australia has good options to bury nuclear waste. Indeed, they are so good that we could spawn a new industry that takes other’s waste as well. But will the polity agree to that? Meh.

Fifth, do we want nuclear weapons in the hands of a Canberra run by mobsters? We can’t even trust them not to rape one another.

Finally, nuclear power and the capacity to produce nuclear weapons would diminish our dependence upon ANZUS marginally given we would have less need for the US nuclear umbrella. But it would only be lessened not eliminated. Unless we’re also intent upon building intercontinental ballistic missiles which would instantly make us the enemy of the US as well.

It could also have perverse outcomes. It may result in closer ties to China as a toxic Canberra thinks it is freer to take the Bejing bribe. Nor will it change the way that Washington sees us as the tip of the spear in the forthcoming China wars. It needs Pine Gap and Australia’s strategic position. It can still enforce its will upon us if it needs to. Australia’s dance is between two great empires not one.

Nuclear power creates a lot of clean energy so it is worthwhile having a debate about it as a part of accelerated decarbonisation. It would definitely put net-zero 2050 within reach, if not sooner.

But, the above six points clearly illustrate that it is also a radical game-changer for Australia across multiple theatres and fronts that need very careful consideration far beyond throwaway lines designed to distract.

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


    • Can anyone name a electricity generating project being built today which is not getting any taxpayer assistance of some sort?
      And somehow all of the existing generators (renewables included) somehow get a mention of Michael West’s website for tax offshoring despite all the tax offshoring.
      To fix Australia’s electricity problem, the solution is simple – close down Tomago Aluminum and then withdraw all subsidies to everyone making and retailing electricity (renewables generators included) – FREE MARKET. Alternatively, give Tomago a gas power plant of their own (for free!) and then blow up any interconnectors Tomago Aluminum have with the Eastern Australia electricity grid.,10121

      • “close down Tomago Aluminum and then withdraw all subsidies to everyone making and retailing electricity (renewables generators included) – FREE MARKET. ”

        Are you really prepared to endure the rolling blackouts that would be the end result of a truly free market?
        Building generation that is only needed for 10-30 days a year is not a profitable exercise without subsidy.

      • Tomago aluminium? Geez my family owned land in the Blowering Valley in the 1800s and the most beautiful land,in NSW colony. Basaltic soil, and The Mighty Tumut River flowing through with beaches of sand, pebbles and of rounded boulders all the same size on each beach becoming larger up the river. Black loam flats 10 or 15 metres deep.
        The river was wide deep, rapids and so beautiful. It had native fish and brown and rainbow trout, parents were anglers and we spent weekends fishing during the season. There is no river like it was in mainland Australia.

        All under the vile Snowy Scheme an abomination, and how it was sold? Rolling blackouts as the aluminium smelter need so much power.
        Yes all lost so as to smelt aluminium.
        Please don’t fall for it again.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        How would closing Tomago reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere ?
        I imagine we would still consum the same amount of Aluminium per year in Australia but under your “Plan” we would just import it?
        Sounds like a job destroying Shyte plan.

      • I’m not for or against shutting down Tomago but I am confused as to why you believe that this action will fix NSW electricity problems.
        In my opinion Tomago serves three functions
        1) it provides a significant 24 hour a day 7 day a week load (daytime residential load is close to zero and about to turn negative)
        2) It acts like a sort of Shunt regulator for the NSW electricity system
        3) It can be switched off in emergencies to allow diversion of this Electricity for other purposes.

        If you get rid of it then you’re substantially changing the network stability and will definitely need to address this. It probably means deploying a lot more Synchronous condensers then is currently in the plan.

        But hey were not trying to create a reliable electricity systems so why not get rid of Tomago?

        • TheLambKingMEMBER

          3) It can be switched off in emergencies to allow diversion of this Electricity for other purposes.

          EXACTLY! These electricity hungry industries (aluminum & petrol refining) are perfect reverse batteries. Power them with renewables – replace the direct subsidies with renewable energy credits – but hold the rights to reduce their output when there is more demand on the grid to divert that subsidized power to the grid.

          With the ability to produce cheap renewable power we should be increasing these power hungry industries!

    • I vote no.
      Getting nuc power in effect rationalises the sale of our energy resources cheaply overseas. Yep, we taxpayers get gutted to subsidise the bastards exporting our stuff overseas much cheaper than they sell to us, leaving us in energy debit. NO Ermo. NO.

  1. Its only cheap if you ignore the costs of building the reactor, dealing with waste and decomissioning it in the end. France is the only country whose reactors are not popped up by the government.

    When you look at the waste part of the equation you have to look at all the uranium hexaflouride created to make the fuel as well as the disposal of the waste at the end.

    The only reason the NLP want to look at it is they hate the idea that their “donors” would have to work really hard to make money in a decentralised energy model.

    • Jumping jack flash

      I can assure you it won’t be cheap.
      People need to be paid enough to be able to afford the gargantuan amounts of debt they need. Price need to be set to be able to do that.
      Energy is an essential item. It doesn’t follow the rules of supply and demand.

    • The French nuclear industry is largely owned by the French government. This Wikipedia entry documents eye-watering cost overruns, safety issues (e.g. defects in steel forgings and welds), systematic cover-ups, and high debt levels. So it may still be accurate to say it is propped up by government.

      Notional cost of extending reactor life from 40 years to 50 years: US$60 billion.

      Of interest: “In 2016, the European Commission assessed that France’s nuclear decommissioning liabilities were seriously underfunded, with only 23 billion euros of earmarked assets to cover 74.1 billion euros of expected decommissioning costs.”

  2. Whether Australia adopts nuclear power or not is largely irrelevant. Most countries in the world, if not all, have higher population densities, smaller land areas per capita, less sunshine per capita, etc., not nearly as conducive to large scale adoptions of renewables as Australia.

    China is rapidly increasing its nuclear power. It is on pace to overtake France and become the second largest nuclear power generator in the world next year. If the US stands still, China will overtake the US in the 2030s. But I doubt the US will stand still.

    • China can, then, enjoy its expensive power base, whilst the rest of the world uses cheap power. have fun being a manufacturing powerhouse with expensive power.

      But, they won’t – they will continue as they actually are – focusing on renewables, and storage of renewable energy.

      The US will continue to pursue cheaper power via renewables – and they will do a sterling job of it, as their industrialists are not stupid, and their capital is rightly flying – at an astonishing speed, which is accelerating and accelerating – into renewables and associated storage, including hydrogen. The numbers, and trends, are plain.

      My 2222222 cents

    • Agree, costs have been the stumbling block all along. And costs increase post-Fukushima. All it takes is for one significant accident, and supply is disrupted by other shutdowns required for safety inspections etc (Fukushima is the model for this).
      Plus public opinion even more alienated.

      Our future civilian energy supply should not rely on such a complex, costly and poorly accepted technology, and an industry which is rife with secrecy and cover-ups.

      My big worry is the submarines, which seem like another government screw-up — not good when the stakes are so high. I am even inclined to support leasing of US-built nuclear subs, then we can link in to their fuel cycle and our new infrastructure costs are minimised.

        • I challenge the idea that Australia needs submarines, fighter jets and non terminal war machines. Our small fleet of subs against a bigger invading force would be obliterated in short order, same with the 30 something JSF jets we have. Kind of pointless when you think of the scale our potential enemies have.

          If you want anything, invest in cyber, missiles and dare I say it, Nukes.

  3. Arthur Schopenhauer

    What sort? Whose manufacturing base? What is projected lifetime? Whose Universities will educate the engineers? What is the decommissioning plan? Big or small? Location with adequate water, above any anticipated worst case sea level rise and close to where the electrons are needed? What capacity is there to deal with an accident, with our native industrial capacity?

    Water? Water? Water?

    There are a few basic questions.

    Battery and Solar panel factories would probably be better start and simpler investments.

        • That’s a specific version of it.

          It’s mainly infrared/thermal solar capture and heating of a high-capacity substrate, which can hold a lot of heat, get very, very hot, and release energy to thermo-electric generators as required. I believe that PV and other renewable sources (as well as cheap excesses from any other source) can be used to compliment the solar-thermal charging of the thermal substrate.

          Read into ASX:14D and tech like theirs, of which there are a few good, economic versions (Disclosure: I own shares in 14D).

        • Jumping jack flash

          Soon, maybe.

          If they pull the trigger on mass immigration and return to the slow debt deflation that wage theft all but ensures, we will need another crisis to solve with unprecedented amounts of stimulus.

          • Arthur Schopenhauer

            Push multi-day heatwaves with a wet bulb temperature over 35C across the tropics.

            Wet bulb temperature over 35C kills humans, and leads to failure in electrical distribution systems (Ie air conditioning).

            These events would occur to about 30S and 30N, making most of Northern Australia, not to mention India, Indonesia and equatorial Africa uninhabitable, during Summer.

            That’s the human side, obviously it would make crop failure more regular, kill live stock and wild animals.

            At the current rate, based on the IPCC’s very conservative modeling we’ll get there by 2100, and if you look at the actual data, we could be there by 2050.

            Edit: In Australia, it will happen earlier due to the summer ‘super heater’ in Northern WA. In fact, we get hottest, quickest along with losing considerable rainfall.

          • Arthur Schopenhauer

            4c is the average (temperature day + night)/2.

            Think of it like the average daily wave swell height. There’s a great deal of variation from wave to wave, and variation due to tide and local factors.

          • I suggest you all put your money where your mouths are, load up on debt and party like it’s the end of the world, because we aren’t changing course in the next 10 or 20 years, so IT IS the end of the world, if you actually believe what you say.

          • Jumping jack flash

            THIS, Cynical!

            Might as well join the debt party for sure, then you can be part of the “solution” when the time comes. And it will.
            Even if they hyperinflate debt, which is the only solution that will be accepted, what then? A new currency? Eventually that will end up the same way. It could take 50 years. It could take 10.

            And yes, if the greenies are right then 30 years is really no time at all.
            (For instance, by 2050 median house prices need to be somewhere around 10million, and nobody considers how they’re going to be able to pull that off)

            China gets an extra 10 years, though, for no reason, presumably.

        • Arthur Schopenhauer

          Yes it is, but I find most people instantly turn off if you explain what the current data is saying. Denial is an understandable and primitive human response.

          • bolstrod, that map is out of date, but never got it correct anyway. People might move to the light green zones, but how will they move enough fertile topsoil to support themselves? Briefly, eg., Siberia, and Canada’s southern region topsoils were shifted way south from from those places during past ice ages by glaciers and later blown much further south. Their northern regions are frozen deep infertile acidic bogs currently beginning to thaw, subside making any building very problematical, and now they burn ceaselessly! Past glaciation bulldozed Patagonia too. Antarctica has no soil other than a relatively tiny bit of rubble mixed with some penguin guano in a few rare places. The remaining areas on that map are mostly impoverished desert soils that given water may grow some impoverished crops. That merely leaves a bit of currently temperate northern Europe, Tasmania, and NZ to feed, if not also house, the entire world population. They’re dreaming, mate. A pleasant dream it is too instead of the actual nightmare!

            “But there is a flipside. Light-green stands for food-growing zones, and compact high-rise cities. That’s Western Antarctica, “unrecognisable now. Densely populated with high-rise cities”. New Zealand, sparsely populated in our time, will also be transformed into a high-density population centre. There will be a lot more room for this in the northern hemisphere: Siberia and Canada, where “reliable precipitation and warmer temperatures provide ideal growing conditions for most of the world’s subsistence crops.” And the UK, Scandinavia, Greenland and northern Russia, which will be dotted with compact high-rise cities to “provide shelter for much of the world’s population”.

  4. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    I don’t think a large percentage of our electricity should be Nuclear.
    No more than 10 to 20% in my view. Im happy to see other renewables lead in reducing our carbon footprint.
    But I believe we should have the capacity to run our own nuclear industry with our own engineers trained here in OZ.
    Being a major supplier of Uranium I think its stupid we don’t attempt to value add here.
    Its not just for electricity either.
    Medical isotopes and research capabilities are other good reason to invest in expertise in this area, not to mention Maritime power applications that may play an increasingly important roll post fossil fuel, post US hegemony.
    Thats not even going near the benefits competent engineers and infrastructure might have if a rapid Nuear Weapons proliferation was to occur in our region.

    Lastly I would add that as a primary exporter of fissile material and being a country of only 25 million people on over 7 million km2 we should provide world leading storage/disposal of spent nuclear fuel.
    We are one of the most geologically stable countries in the world and such an industry could be a big earner and employer in some of our remote regions.
    Pity the last government with any Ministers of great vision (Like Rex Connor) got sacked by foreign interests in 1975.

  5. For the umpteenth time you cannot compare real costs of energy sources that have different methods of generation by using LCOEs – its like comparing the marginal costs of producing different goods

    the IEA makes this abundantly clear –

    “Whenever technologies differ in the when, where and how of their generation, a comparison based on LCOE is not longer sufficient and can be misleading” (p12)

    for some one who is supposed to be economically literate your ignorance on this topic is appalling and appears deliberate given that this has pointed out to you on numerous occasions

    “Nuclear thus remains the dispatchable low-carbon technology with the lowest expected costs in 2025.”

    Costs are calculated at the plant level (busbar), and therefore do not include transmission and distribution costs. The LCOE calculations also do not capture other systemic costs or externalities beyond plant-level CO2 emissions such as, for instance, methane leakage during the extraction and transport of natural gas. This report does however recognise, in particular in Chapter 4, the importance of the system effects of different technologies, most notably the costs induced into the system by the variability of wind and solar PV at higher penetration rates.”

    “More importantly, the LCOE metric applies to the level of the individual plant and does not address the value that different generation technology options add to the electricity system at different levels of penetration.”

    I expect a better level of literacy from MB

    • Expecting Electricity system literacy from MB, what possible reason do you have for assuming that MB understands anything about the construction and operation of Electricity grids.
      I assume they know nothing about the topic and for the most part assumption holds true.

      • I do take your point 🙂 – but that fact that MB and @David Llewellyn-Smith continually posts this nonsense as if it is authoritative is still a reasonable ground for criticism. He doesn’t learn and I expect better from MB than that

    • TheLambKingMEMBER

      IEA are a mouthpiece for the Oil industry and don’t have a reputation for producing accurate reports.

      The IEA has been strongly criticised for having consistently highly inaccurate forecasts of both fossil fuel and renewable energy. Fossil fuel predictions have been criticised as being highly optimistic, and estimates of renewable energy deployment were consistently found to be extremely pessimistic. Some renewable predictions were reached more than fifteen years early, with estimates being off by almost five thousand percent over five years.

      • Ideological Nonsense – The fact that IEA RE predictions have been unduly conservative says nothing about the topic under examination here

        Your comment is typical of such criticism from RE lobbies who can only see things their way. In fact the IEA is a respected (possibly the most respected) international Authority on the topic -using Wikipeida as an authority for such criticism is revealing of the (lack of) depth of your understanding of the topic

        • Ideological Nonsense – The fact that IEA RE predictions have been unduly conservative says nothing about the topic under examination here

          Personally, I would have thought the fact an organisation has a documented history of being overly conservative about renewable energy would be a pretty fvcking critical consideration when they’re being used to support an argument about why renewable energy won’t work.

          • So – if an organisation is wrong about something it is wrong about everything? Do you apply that standard to your self? I do not think you grasped the point that LCOE comparisons are misleading – (and by the way it is not only the IEA that says so) – there’s plenty of published science to back it up – LCOEs tend to favour wind and solar and in the real world they are much more expensive


            I sincerely doubt you will have the intellectual courage to read these links as they will challenge your apparent ideological predispositions – but hey – worth a try and I’d love you to prove me wrong on that point 🙂

      • TheLambKingMEMBER

        Not ideological – you are using a paper to show how nuclear will be the ‘cheapest’ in 2020. I was explaining how their figures are generally rubbish. Renew Economy did an article about them a while ago. (No, I have not read the paper)

        The forecasts made for solar over the last decade look ridiculous, and always assume a flatline. The total capacity of installed solar is now higher than the 2040 forecasts for any year including 2018. And remember, the forecasts in black are for the central scenarios.

        But the main issue is that they predict the cost of nuclear to be ‘cheapest’ in 2025 when no nuclear power plant can be built before about 2030, and by then solar+wind+battery will be SO much cheaper – even using the IEA’s cherry picked metric.

    • With respect, LCOE, though blunt, is sufficiently sharp; I think we are nitpicking if we say otherwise. Realistically, what is the error of an LCOE analysis?

      Current renewable energy projections as being cheaper and/or will be cheaper than alternatives are beyond the noise that blunt LCOE analyses produce, surely, in almost every case.

      Coal, gas and nuclear (etc) are relatively mature techs that can’t catch up to the renewable technology and economic scales curve, which still have quite a way to run; and, again, the progress of renewables-related tech is beyond the noise produced by blunt analyses.

      My 2c

      • Sorry – it is not a matter of how “blunt” or “sharp” LCOE might be – You have failed to understand (or refute) the point I have made. it (LCOE) is simply not a useful and indeed misleading metric for comparing different forms of generation – its one of the reasons why the value of RE falls (and costs go up) as its market penetration increases

        “This paper provides a comprehensive discussion of the market value of variable renewable energy (VRE). The inherent variability of wind speeds and solar radiation affects the price that VRE generators receive on the market (market value). During windy and sunny times the additional electricity supply reduces the prices. Because the drop is larger with more installed capacity, the market value of VRE falls with higher penetration rate. This study aims to develop a better understanding on how the market value with penetration, and how policies and prices affect the market value. Quantitative evidence is derived from a review of published studies, regression analysis of market data, and the calibrated model of the European electricity market EMMA. We find the value of wind power to fall from 110% of the average power price to 50–80% as wind penetration increases from zero to 30% of total electricity consumption. For solar power, similarly low value levels are reached already at 15% penetration. Hence, competitive large-scale renewable deployment will be more difficult to accomplish than as many anticipate.”

  6. Jumping jack flash

    Nuclear is so last century.
    It also wouldn’t fix anything. Electricity price is set by the gouging oligopoly. They need to set their price to pay their workers enough so they can obtain the necessary amounts of debt that everyone needs.

    The future is decentralisation. The gougers have effectively priced themselves out of the market.

    My Tesla Powerwall and solar system is installed over the next few months. Total quoted price 21K.

    Still, I’m not totally free from the gougers. The dastardly private electricity generators also dictate how large my solar system can be!

    Does anyone know whether I can remove my grid connection entirely? Once I get the 2nd Powerwall I don’t think I will have much need for the grid. I will ask the solar company as well, but they seem to be all about keeping the grid connection for feeding into the grid. I have no intention of feeding into the grid. The grid is dead to me.
    Someone told me a long time ago that I’m not allowed to totally disconnect whilst living in suburbia.

    • Not sure about leaving he grid to go stand alone in the suburbs…
      I can guarantee that if you stop paying your power account you will be cut off the grid as thousands of Australian households have been over the past few years.
      There are many ways to skin etc. etc.

    • You may not have much need for your electricity connection but with currently available Feed In Tariff’s you would likely make back the connection cost many times over, meaning that remaining connected is a net positive for you.
      As far as I’m aware there’s nothing stopping you from disconnecting all major electricity loads from the grid and powering this standalone off-grid system with your own PV and Battery.

      • Jumping jack flash

        Absolutely not interested in feeding back into the grid.

        Thanks for the info tho. I’ll speak with the solar guys too.
        While I save up for the 2nd Powerwall I should probably keep my grid connection anyway.
        The solar guy reckons that from looking at my typical usage, with one Powerwall I should be able to run solely off it for most of the year except for a few weeks in winter, and of course in the case of a prolonged period of overcast days.

        And a good proportion of the reason for that is my solar system is limited by the gougers because I’m still technically connected to their grid. If I was allowed to double my solar system then I’d halve (or close to, there are losses of course) the amount of time required to charge up the batteries.

        With a 2nd battery it should not need to use much if any of the grid at all. ~26kW of battery storage is a fair number of days’ worth of usage without recharge. I think the rule of thumb is 6kW a day or something like that.

        • Generally, if you can do it, doubling your PV array size will deliver the same energy security as doubling your battery size but at a lower total system cost
          If you are committed to remaining off-grid then it makes sense to partition your own household electricity system into two or more sections. One for essential stuff like lights and bedroom electricals (and maybe one fridge) while the rest of the system tries to leverage PV power when available and shuts down while the batteries still have a reasonably high level of charge.
          there’s a lot of optimizing that’s possible and sensible with off-grid systems but there are very few Solar providers with the either the knowledge or interest investigating these options with clients. It’s easier to simply tell their customers that they can buy two batteries if they want greater security.

    • LOL – given that wind, solar and battery technologies are older than nuclear you clearly have no idea what you are talking about. And the notion that you can generalize from your personal household experience is laughably silly 🙂

  7. The nuclear option is a stalling tactic as much as hydrogen vehicles…. It’s always going to happen 15 years in the future.

    The first question should be: How many Nuclear R&D projects in Australia currently have funding and what is the total budget allocation? My bet is ZERO!

  8. If Australia wanted Nuclear power it needed to commit to this path15 years ago (or in reality 20 years ago given how slow the Australian power infrastructure industry moves)
    Today, there’s absolutely no point in even having this discussion (from a commercial power generation perspective) because absolutely nobody would be silly enough to fund the project.
    Zero funds to implement = zero point discussing the issue

    • Nuclear power makes very good sense in densely populated countries with heavy industries; Europe, China, India, Japan, Korea, parts of the US.

      It makes less and less sense as the population is spread out over increasingly large areas, especially those without heavy industries.

      • Arthur Schopenhauer

        Solar and battery is the cheapest way to ship electrons according to Energex. They are taking remote towns(really villages) off the grid in Queensland because it’s cheaper.

        • For remote towns and even major mining Solar + Battery is a slam dunk.
          You can’t touch the cost model with any other system, it’s not even a close call, solar + battery by a country mile.

        • Jumping jack flash

          There is a Queensland government initiative to create “green zones” where all the houses built in that development come with half-price Powerwalls. New developments only, and developers need to apply for it.

          Great idea though.

      • I don’t support nuclear, but population in Australia isn’t particularly spread out. Something like 60% of the people live in 5 capitals and 80% in the ten largest cities. And something like 95% lives in a thin strip of land on the coast.

        • Arthur Schopenhauer

          Most urbanized population in the world, because there’s not much water, and it arrives unpredictably.

          It doesn’t really matter if people think it’s good or bad Smithy, there is no capital, or skill here to do it, and few suitable sites. It’s a great emotive distraction by the Nats (Clown Party).

        • I was catching up with a finance guy who works for one of the WA coal fired power stations and he said there wasn’t a small enough nuclear power station available for WA’s needs.

  9. The US nuclear umbrella is nonexistent as the US would never sacrifice Washington or NY if Sydney get incinerated or Occupied.In Europe the only credible nuclear dissuasion as always been the French one.

    Sun and Wind are awesome and cheap when the sun shine and the wind blows, even with batteries.

    • “The US nuclear umbrella is nonexistent” No, it’s a misnomer. It is actually an attractant. Always was always will be. In Oz move upwind to SthW WA.

      “In Europe the only credible nuclear dissuasion as always been the French one.” So now the French navy is making China baiting moves for the Quad in the Sth China Sea with a view to regaining a golden age welcome to a French Indochina.

  10. Nuclear is a furthy for Australia.

    By all means have the debate but the numbers and the global experience make it clear that, at least for now, nukes would be an extremely expensive prospect.

    That doesn’t mean everything is fine and dandy. Too often the green lobby glosses over the limitations of their intermittent resources but, with some greater reasonableness on their part, wind and solar backed up with gas turbines, batteries, pumped hydro and improved interconnection offer a cheaper way to provide a secure system than with nukes.

    • If you understand the variables affecting grid stability, as I suspect you do, you would know that there is no way politicians will understand it because it can’t be communicated in 140 characters or a 3-word slogan. Although “synchronous condenser tax” does have a certain eloquent ring to it, and could be a beautiful segue into the fairy tale world of “small-scale nuclear”.

  11. Yes.

    Bill Gates: Tradeoffs in Texas lead to deaths

    Gates sees a future where 80% of the world’s energy is from wind and solar and the remaining 20% comes from nuclear

    you need 25 per cent of your generation to be available, independent of the weather, and nuclear fission and fusion are really the only things that can work at that scale.

  12. Culd someone from the pro nuclear lobby please show me a nuke reactor built in the west in the last 20 years that was on time and on budget?

    Even te Koreans have contantly rising costs as each new reactor is built, and they”ve got the best system in place using the same design and benefiting from what is learnt from each reactor constructed.

    • Don’t look to the west, look to the east: China, Russia and South Korea. They’re pretty much the only countries that have been building nuclear power plants over the last few decades.

      • Wave energy has a higher energy density than wind power, and we know wind power is fantastic, and fantastically cheap – so, no, your density metric reference on its own is not as good a criticism as you imply.

        Nor did I propose as a single source of power. It would be part of a suite of systems that maximise energy constancy, and include storage. Like other renewables (and all energy generation), it would also be better in some places than others.

        There are practical issues with wave energy, yes, but I believe these will be largely overcome with time – the key here will be simplicity of design; there are also economic scale issues that affect the Capex efficiency, but these will probably also come down significantly, like other techs.

        Imagine criticising PV, wind and batteries 20 years ago on the same basis?

        You are right that there are issues to be overcome, but I don’t think your dismissal is a strong a position as you imply.

        • You are talking about the waves in the ocean, right?

          Hydroelectric power is renewable. The total volume flow rate of water and the amount of energy carried by the water in a large river like the Amazon is indeed tremendous. But you would need a dam to harness the energy. Why?

  13. Yes.
    Look at the recent small units and some of the Canadian tech. Versus the renewables disaster unfolding in Texas.

    Have a look at terrapower, Bill gates backed initiative for nuclear power generation. Pairing energy storage typically used for solar and small nuclear generators to service peak load.
    Look at the work being done on thorium and non enriched fuel reactors to remove the proliferation risks.

    It makes a lot more sense to go nuclear than to dream of running industry on windmills and solar
    If you want carbon free energy and economic growth nuclear is one of the only real options for most of the world.

  14. buttzilla team forever

    1x 1000mw reactor can make 200,000 tonnes of hydrogen each year.
    GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy make this (also recycles waste)
    battery is old tech from 2000-5000 years ago. capacitors are better – Toyota Honda Nissan Yamaha building these.
    hydrogen is better sought from nuclear process, rather than sucking down fracked gas – to negate gas reservation on east coast.

    • Is that 1GWe or 1GWt? Production of hydrogen by thermal dissociation in high-temperature reactors is likely to be far more competitive with conventional hydrogen production by steam reformation of natural gas than electrolysis ever will be.

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