Want Reliable, Affordable CO2 Free Power? Then it’s Time to Grow Up & Go Nuclear

Anyone still banging on about CO2 emissions in the electricity generation sector, ought to be banging on about nothing other than nuclear power.

Nuclear power is the only, stand-alone generation source that can deliver reliable, affordable power without generating CO2 gas, in the process.

The fact that politicians in this Country talk about anything but nuclear power as a solution to Australia’s unfolding energy crisis, speaks volumes.

If CO2 gas really is the existential threat it’s made out to be, then nuclear power is the only solution.

With power prices rocketing out of control and a grid on the brink of collapse, Australia’s PM, Scott Morrison is starting to sound like a grown-up, at long last.

Whatever it takes: ScoMo prepared to go nuclear if it cuts power prices
The Australian
Greg Brown
8 October 2018

Scott Morrison says he would overturn the ban on building nuclear reactors in Australia if he believed it would put downward pressure on power prices.

The Prime Minister said he would do “whatever it takes” to make electricity cheaper, and he would have no issues allowing nuclear reactors to be built if it would make lower household bills.

But warned the investment case to build a nuclear reactor did not “stack up”.

“You’ve got to make the investment stack up,” Mr Morrison told 2GB radio.

Bill Shorten has slammed Scott Morrison saying he would overturn a ban on building nuclear power plants if there was proof it would reduce power prices.

“At the same time as the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster transforms into a massive solar farm, Morrison thinks it’s time to take Australia nuclear,” the Opposition Leader tweeted.

“You’ve got to be kidding.”

Last month, former PM Tony Abbott called on the Morrison government to lift the prohibition on nuclear power.

Mr Abbott told 2GB there was “absolutely no reason why, when it’s economic, we shouldn’t have nuclear power generation in ­Australia”.

The push to revive the nuclear debate comes after Mr Morrison last month declared the NEG dead, while opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler held out the prospect of Labor moving to revive the policy in government following engagement with industry.

Prominent businessman and National Broadband Network chairman Ziggy Switkowski said Mr Morrison should allow nuclear power generation in Australia.

“The Prime Minister has framed the energy issue exactly right: which technologies best meet our future energy needs in terms of cost, reliability and resilience,” Dr Switkowski told The Australian this afternoon.

“The answer should be based on economics and risk, not ideology, and in my opinion nuclear power should be part of the evaluation.”

Mr Morrison today defended Australia remaining a signatory to the Paris climate change agreement, arguing it has no impact on electricity prices.

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Agency says nuclear energy is vital to meeting the global challenge of climate change but projections were for a dramatic shortfall in capacity by 2050.

A new report from the agency revealed without nuclear, cumulative greenhouse gas emissions between 2018 and 2050 could be up to 12 gigatonnes higher, more than 20 times Australia’s entire emissions last year.

Called Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2018, the report said climate change was one of the most important issues facing the world today.

Nuclear energy could make an important contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while delivering energy in the increasingly large quantities needed for global economic development.

“Nuclear power plants produce virtually no greenhouse gas emissions or air pollutants during their operation and only very low emissions over their full life cycle,” the report said.
The Australian

‘It’s lunacy’: Luke Grant slams Australia’s ‘stupid’ and ‘ hypocritical’ nuclear energy stance
4BC
Luke Grant
10 October 2018

Scott Morrison would overturn the national ban on constructing nuclear reactors if it would generate downward pressure on prices.

Though dedicated to doing “ whatever it takes” to facilitate lower power bills for energy consumers, the Prime Minister warned against pursuing nuclear, saying the investment case for a reactor didn’t stack up.

But Luke Grant doesn’t agree, calling Australia’s moratorium on nuclear energy “completely stupid.”

“Australia has been entirely hypocritical on the nuclear front in my view,” says Luke.

“We’ve got the second richest uranium deposit in the world. We’re the world’s third largest exporter of uranium. In 2016, Australia exported uranium worth more then $900 million to other places around the world.”

“But did we use much of it here? Nope.”

“We don’t even have a serious conversation on it. We just export 500 tonnes a year to China and 3,500 to European Union countries and stick with the ban here.”

“It’s lunacy.”

Daniel Zavattiero, Executive Director of Uranium at the Minerals Council of Australia, says nuclear should be considered as part of our future energy mix.

“It’s effectively zero emissions,” he tells Luke Grant.

“And in the long term, it’s something that could be very applicable in Australia. That was one of the findings of the Royal Commission. The ban should be removed because we don’t know what the future looks like beyond 2030. It should be something in the suite of options with respect to Australia’s energy future.”

“It really is time in 2018 that we open ourselves up to that by removing the prohibition.”
4BC

For the record, STT isn’t alarmed by tales that man-made carbon dioxide gas (apparently it’s not the naturally occurring stuff?) is about to cause this Orb to incinerate in an eye blink. But that purported prospect is driving energy policy everywhere, wrecking once prosperous, energy-rich countries like Australia.

So, while coal-fired power plants will continue to energise the world for generations to come, STT is more than happy to promote nuclear power; not simply because it’s the perfect foil to hyped-up climate alarmists, but principally because it works.

The fact that, up to now, politicians in this Country are happy to talk about anything but nuclear power as a solution to Australia’s unfolding energy crisis, speaks volumes.

Australia is one of the world’s largest uranium exporters, and could export a whole lot more were it not for the Labor party’s three mine policy – that limits the number of operating uranium mines in the country. One of those is Olympic Dam, in South Australia’s far north (see above).

BHP Billiton extract gold, copper and uranium from a hybrid open cut/underground mine near Roxby Downs. Roxby Downs would be an ideal situation for Australia’s first Small Modular Reactor, capable of satisfying the demand from Olympic Dam, as well as other mining operations in SA’s Far North.

Uranium extracted from Olympic Dam is clearly good enough for the French, South Koreans, Americans, Canadians, Japanese and Chinese, being just a few of the 30 countries where you will find nearly 450 nuclear reactors currently operating – their combined output accounts for over 11% of global electricity production – with another 15 countries currently building 60 reactors among them.

Despite Australia having the largest uranium reserves in the world, it not only has failed to develop a nuclear power industry, it has legislation which prohibits nuclear power generation in any form.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act, specifically prohibit nuclear fuel fabrication, power, enrichment or reprocessing facilities. For Australia to grow up and start acting like an energy adult, it first needs to can the ban.

Uranium at the Minerals Council of Australia
Chris Smith and Daniel Zavattiero
2GB
8 October 2018

 

John Stanley: I want to deal with something before we back to more of your calls, this is the issue of uranium mining and nuclear power. Now, those of us with long memories know that the back in the days of the Hawke Government, they introduced a three mine policy because in the Labor Party, they were opposed to uranium mining, so they said, okay, well you can have three mines and no more. So, it was okay to mine three mines, but if you went beyond three, it would be somehow damaging, and it was quite a weird policy.

So we’ve still got this issue of, first of all, fear of mining uranium and extracting the uranium that we have in this country, not to mention the issue of nuclear power, where right round the world, people are operating on nuclear power. We sit and watch the Tour de France every year, we look at those lovely shots of the cyclists going through the Pyrenees and those parts of southern France. It’s all done in the shadow of nuclear power plants. Is there a change coming in all of this?

Let’s go to Daniel Zavattiero. He’s the executive director for uranium at the Minerals Council of Australia. Let’s get him to put some of this in perspective for us and where we’re going, because I’d like to see a change. Daniel, good afternoon.

Daniel Zavattiero:  Good afternoon, John. Thanks for having me on.

John Stanley:  Now the old three mines policy, just correct me on this. That went back to the ’80s, so what’s the restriction now on mining?

Daniel Zavattiero:  Yeah. Okay, well the three mines policy’s gone. That’s a good thing, and it probably is reflective of the fact that over the years, we’ve seen a lot of normalisation in the uranium space. Indeed, I might say that perhaps uranium’s less controversial than daylight savings, John, but where we are at the moment is that we have an EPBC Act which was brought in in the late 1990s, and it defines a lot of what we call matters of national environmental significance, so things like endangered species and whatnot, so if a mining project or any other project triggers several of any of these matters of national environmental significance, it needs a federal approval in addition to its state approval.

One of the triggers is known as the nuclear actions trigger, and the nuclear actions definition includes uranium mining, but what we’ve seen over the years is that uranium mining is in large part not much different to any other type of mining, and you can have situations where very low impact mining, a very low impact uranium mine triggers the EPBC Act, and therefore requires federal environmental approval just because its a uranium mine.

John Stanley:  Yeah, so in summary- it’s just surrounded by red tape, which you’d like to see cut and removed.

Daniel Zavattiero: And that’s right, and what we’ve got now is the EPBC Act has a review every 10 years. We did one 10 years ago, so it’s now almost 20 years old, and the next review is coming up very soon, and we’ve produced this report recently by an independent consultant, an expert, a former environmental assessor, that says that it’s not required that a federal review is required just because it’s a uranium mine. Some uranium projects will trigger other matters of national environmental significance, but that’s no problem. We totally understand that, but it shouldn’t be singled out to trigger the act just because it’s uranium.

John Stanley: So we’ve got a third of the world’s uranium, and yet we’re exporting about 10% of global production, so Canada and Kazakhstan have now moved ahead of us. Is that right?

Daniel Zavattiero: That’s right, so the opportunity for Australia is huge. I mean, our resource base and our mining experience in general, this is an industry that is enormous in Australia. We’re the world’s best at mining in general, and the opportunity for uranium is there just as it is for other commodities, but we do need reform to things like the EPBC Act, and also some state restrictions where some states have continued to put bans on uranium exploration and mining which need to be overturned.

John Stanley: So is there … I mean, it sounds like common sense to me. Is there something on foot? Is there a move by the government? Where is it?

Daniel Zavattiero: Well, as I said, the EPBC Act is due for review in the next six to 12 months, so we’ve produced this report as input to that process.

John Stanley: And this is separate to the idea of using nuclear power in here and having nuclear power stations, isn’t it?

Daniel Zavattiero: Correct. The same act has a prohibition on nuclear power as well, so that would be a separate thing that we would advocate reform on as well, so there’s two things. One is removing uranium mining from the nuclear actions trigger and having uranium mines being treated like any other mines, and the second one would be that the prohibition on nuclear power should be removed so that if it’s economic and if it makes sense and someone wants to put up a case for a nuclear power plant and has a willing community that they can go ahead and do that.

John Stanley: Sure. All right, and just to-

Daniel Zavattiero: I mean, we do have a nuclear reactor in Sydney already-

John Stanley: Of course, of course.

Daniel Zavattiero: A research reactor.

John Stanley: Of course. Okay, so just finally, where would there be, for instance an area, is there an area which isn’t being mined that could be being mined if some of this red tape was removed?

Daniel Zavattiero: Well, in WA, we’ve got some projects that have gone through an approval process and received approval, both state and federal approval, but now we have a state restriction on new potential developments in addition to those, but all of those ones that went through had to go through the extra step of federal approval just because they were uranium, and that creates cost and delay, so if we want to be competitive, I mean, you mentioned before about Canada and Kazakhstan, the reality is others will go ahead and do these things, and money will go where the best return is, where you can get projects up in time to meet market demand, so if we can make ourselves more competitive, we can get more share of that pie.

John Stanley: All right, good luck with it. We’ll keep in touch. Thank you.

Daniel Zavattiero: Thanks, John.

John Stanley: Daniel Zavattiero. What do you make of that? Is there someone gonna put their hand up and say all right, I’m opposed to more uranium mining, because I wouldn’t have thought, we’re already doing it, so if we’re already doing it, just extend it and bring in a few more export dollars, and then there’s the question of nuclear power. Are there people who are still going to the barricades over that when it’s happening all over the world and is emission-free? That doesn’t make a lot of sense for me.
2GB

One thing the IPCC got right: time to go nuclear
The Australian
Tony Grey
16 October 2018

Last week’s special report by the ­Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a spicy broth of green politics and tamed science that might give some people dyspepsia. However, within it is a refreshing view on nuclear power’s role in helping to mitigate global warming. It’s refreshing because the green lobby has been such a closed-minded opponent.

In calling for a heroic limiting of global warming to 1.5C, the report outlines several pathways that could lead to it. In the section on nuclear it states: “Nuclear power increases its share in most 1.5 degree pathways by 2050.” This is based on an estimated 2.5 times expansion in nuclear generation.

This is significant: ­nuclear already generates more than 10 per cent of the world’s electricity. The inescapable inference from the report is that without its contribution, there would be no possibility of achieving the objective the IPCC calls for.

Contrary to the usual strident claims by the anti-nuclear agitators, the report provides in some respects a positive opinion of the industry. Consistent with a need to respond to differing perspectives, the report describes conflicting views. On the one hand it states ­nuclear “can increase risks of proliferation, have negative environmental effects and have mixed effects for human health when replacing fossil fuels”.

On the other hand, it says, “comparative risk assessment shows health risks are low per unit of electricity production and land requirement is lower than that of other power sources”. The land issue is noteworthy because both wind and solar take up huge amounts of acreage. Nevertheless, while the awkwardness is evident, the authors must have decided the risks surrounding nuclear are overwhelmed by the need for its contribution. Otherwise they would have condemned it like they have coal.

Indeed, governments around the world must consider that the risks are outweighed by the benefits, for, as cited in the report, 30 countries continue to use nuclear and 13 others are building new capacity. They might have mentioned that nuclear is the fastest-growing electricity source in China, where its generation increased by 25 per cent in 2016 and 15 per cent last year.

An additional 50 reactors are being built or are planned. There, due to pollution and climate change factors, nuclear is considered a desirable alternative to coal because it’s clean — almost free of carbon emissions.

The IPCC report says: “The increase can be realised through existing mature nuclear technologies or new options (generation III/IV reactors, breeder reactors, new uranium and thorium fuel cycles, small reactors or nuclear cogeneration).”

This is despite saying costs “have increased over time in some developed nations”. That’s true. Costs have risen over the decades. It’s due largely to additional safety requirements, but exacerbated by protester attacks since 1975, which have caused construction delays and led to regulations that go beyond their stated purposes.

However, these concerns don’t constrain China and other countries such as India, Russia and South Korea. While costs are of inhibiting concern in some places, the number of reactors under construction and planned shows that cost is not a universal deterrent.

Displaying the bias against nuclear among at least some of the authors, the short section on costs plays down the steps being taken to reduce them. The World Nuclear Association published an update on the economics of nuclear power in August saying: “Nuclear power is cost competitive with other forms of electricity generation, except where there is direct access to low-cost fossil fuels.”

It should be noted that nuclear plants are capital-intensive to build but relatively cheap to run.

Little mention is made in the report of the advent of small nuclear reactors, defined as being of less than 300MW, whose technology has arisen out of nuclear installations on ships. Because they’re manufactured in a factory to a standard design, they have potential for economies. Since they have lower requirements for access to cooling water and are deliverable on trucks, they can be used remotely. They are also more easily financed than larger plants. And they can be readily placed in brownfield sites where coal-fired plants are decommissioned. Australia could well consider them.

China is taking the lead here. Chinergy is building the most advanced SMR project: twin 250MW high-temperature, gas-cooled reactors. In the West, the shift from government-led development to the private sector has resulted in entrepreneurs moving into the ­nuclear industry with start-ups backed by venture capitalists.

In one of its flaws, the IPCC fails to describe the devastating effect on electricity prices and availability caused by the rush to renewables, notably in South Australia. The intermittence in electricity supply from renewables can be crippling. ­Nuclear offers a steady, reliable baseload capacity that could complement them.

But all this nuclear progress is passing us by and we cannot allow that. The endorsement by the IPCC of the role that nuclear power can play in meeting its ambitious targets should focus attention of our politicians on when and how it can be harnessed here. At the very least, the legislation passed 18 years ago prohibiting nuclear power in Australia should be repealed.
The Australian

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Sarcastic Cynic says:

    I read the first part of The Australian’s reporting of Scott Morrison statement that he is prepared to overturn Australia’s ban on nuclear power if he believed it would put downward pressure on electricity prices, and stopped there. Another politician blowing smoke!
    The Liberal party is the equivalent of a prisoner on death row. Scott Morrison is powerless to do anything except talk. He could reduce subsidies to renewables. He could adjust the LRET. Fact is he is going to do anything that could possibly lose votes prior to the next election. And what politician of any persuasion could possibly consider sendingTurnbull to Indonesia as a wise decision?
    What on earth is going on in the Liberal party? It seems they have one foot in the grave, one foot on a landmine and they’re using an ejection lever to steady themselves. It’s a continuation of Howard’s leadership by opinion poll and they don’t seem to realize that non-profits, green groups and labor supporters seem to control the opinion polls these days.
    I was hopeful after they dumped Turnbull, but Morrison and the Liberal leadership don’t seem to have any ideas of their own on where they want to go. Turnbull must be laughing uproariously.

  2. In my opinion there is now a case for the Coalition to call in the military to defend our grid and our base load generators from sabotage by the Climate Change suicide death cult and their infernal renewables. The country needs a chance to get new clean coal generation and new technology nuclear power into the system to stabilise the grid.

    But the Coalition are going to need balls the size of Bondi to do it.

    I am not opposed to the Snowy Hydro expansion if it stacks up. However it is up to the local community as to whether they want it in their neighbourhood, and environmental boxes will have to be ticked.

    Bring back the Green Army.

    But no more unreliable and destructive renewables.

  3. 4TimesAYear says:

    Reblogged this on 4TimesAYear's Blog.

  4. “With power prices rocketing out of control and a grid on the brink of collapse, Australia’s PM, Scott Morrison is starting to sound like a grown-up, at long last.”

    He has a long way to go in my opinion. The Libs are done and dusted. They had a small window of opportunity to get me back after they finally gave Turdball the boot. It seems to me that we are still looking at Labor or Labor- lite as the 2 major parties.
    That won’t cut it for me. I will be voting for anything other that the 2 majors if I possibly can. They do not deserve my vote!

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