Want Affordable Power & Think CO2’s a Problem? Nuclear Power is the Only Soultion

In the climate alarmists’ crusade against CO2, only the most delusional still think wind and solar power adds anything to their arsenal.

The war on carbon dioxide gas isn’t about to end soon, and shows no sign of relenting. These people are zealots, after all.

The result being that any generation system involving coal or gas is going to be singled out for destruction, by eco-zealots and the politicians that pander to them. Accordingly, conventional generators in Australia will remain under threat, with the prospect of some form of emissions trading, ‘carbon’ tax or penalty on the CO2 they generate.

For now, that threat hangs over them like the sword of Damocles and means that, without Federal or State government support, the chances of new coal-fired power plants being built is pretty slim.

With a grid on the brink of collapse, Australian governments are terrified at the prospect of another coal-fired generator being driven out of business by heavily subsidised and chaotically intermittent renewables. The Federal government is likely to use its new “divestment” power to prevent the major generators from closing another coal-fired plant. But that approach does little more than keep the grid from collapsing, in the short-term.

The only generation source capable of satisfying climate alarmists is nuclear power. As we have said repeatedly, nuclear power is the only stand-alone power generation source which is capable of delivering power on demand, without CO2 emissions being generated in the process.

Perversely, Australia is the only G20 country with a legislated prohibition on nuclear power generation, notwithstanding it is in the top 3 uranium exporters and has the largest known reserves.

For the time being, the emissions obligation that formed the central part of the National Energy Guarantee (the part that would have resulted in an effective 42% RET) has been crushed. What remains is the reliability obligation. An obligation that imposes substantial financial penalties on retailers who fail to contract to meet their customer’s daily demands, in advance.

Now that reliability is the only focus of energy policy under the NEG, sources with a 100% capability of delivering power, irrespective of the time of day or the weather, will necessarily attract attention.

The likelihood that some type of CO2 emissions penalty is over the horizon means that the case for nuclear power in Australia becomes even more obvious and compelling.

Research paper pushes nuclear power’s emissions-free case
The Australian
Graham Lloyd
21 October 2018

Nuclear power was likely viable in Australia and could become the lowest-cost, emissions-free generation source, a research paper by the pro-nuclear Energy Policy Institute of Australia says.

The economic flow-on benefits to the national and regional economies could be substantial, including enabling Australia’s ­energy-intensive industries to compete strongly in world ­markets.

The EPIA said it would take about 10 years for nuclear power to be operational in Australia.

The first step would be lifting a legislative prohibition, which should be done with bipartisan support, the institute said.

EPIA chief executive Robert Pritchard said lifting the prohibition in the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conser­vation Act would enable detailed studies to be carried out. “It would not cost taxpayers anything and would increase competitive tension with other generation technologies,” he said.

Lifting the prohibition was recommended by the 2016 ­Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission in South Australia.

Mr Pritchard said Australia was the only G20 country to have such a prohibition, despite being the world’s third largest supplier of uranium. “Changing legislation would not mean approving any specific project but it would allow preparatory economic, technical and environmental studies to be made in order to seek planning and environmental ­approvals,” Mr Pritchard said.

Scott Morrison said he was not opposed to nuclear but he has not committed to lifting the prohibition on nuclear energy in Aus­tralia, which is currently before the Senate. The Prime Minister said nuclear had to demonstrate it was economically viable.

Renewable energy supporters claim dramatic falls in the cost of wind and solar make them the cheapest option. But the EPIA said nuclear energy could be cost-competitive when all factors were taken into account.

“Cost comparisons of individual generation technologies are meaningless unless full system support for each generation source is factored in to ensure equivalent system reliability and customer electricity supply continuity,” the EPIA said.

There are 451 reactors now operating in 30 countries, generating 11 per cent of the world’s electricity. Another 50 reactors are under construction in China, India, Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, Bangladesh and the UAE.
The Australian

The EPIA’s research note is available here: The Likely Viability of Nuclear Power in Australia

The Australian followed with this editorial.

Time to fire up nuclear debate
The Australian
22 October 2018

Voters concerned about climate change — and the reliability of affordable power — should be turning their minds to the nuclear option. The debate would take off, given a bipartisan show of courage by political leaders. As a first step, MPs should remove federal and state legislative bans on the building of a nuclear power plant. Australia’s share of total greenhouse emissions is small but that should not prevent us from taking an active part in the growing international discussion about nuclear energy.

In response to this month’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 1.5C report, Chief Scientist Alan Finkel said the world should look squarely at the goal of a zero-emissions planet, then work out how to get there while maximising economic growth. This, he said, would include serious consideration of other options modelled by the IPCC, including biofuels, catchment hydro-electricity and nuclear power.

A largely emissions-free source of electricity, nuclear power does not suffer the intermittency that bedevils the current crop of renewable energy options. Nuclear is technology-rich, energy-dense and has a lower land-use footprint than alternatives such as solar and wind. It has a better safety record than the popular imagination would suggest. Australia has vast reserves of uranium, making us a global leader in supply. Despite a troubling report on a radiation leak at the Australian Atomic Energy Commission, covered in today’s news pages, public apprehension about nuclear accidents is generally overblown. Our stable geology means we should not fear a local version of Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The potential is that nuclear technology for power generation will evolve rapidly over coming years, including smaller, cheaper and safer designs. There may be good reasons why nuclear power is not a short-term answer for Australia, including cost. Scott Morrison has said he would have no problem with nuclear power, were he convinced it would lower household electricity bills. But a nuclear industry could be of long-term significance for Australia, including in terms of defence technology, where nuclear-powered submarines are a compelling possibility.

If IPCC recommendations are to be taken seriously — notably, the closure within decades of all fossil-fuel power generation without carbon capture and storage — nuclear has to be a global option. The IPCC has said that the role of nuclear power increases in most modelling if the world is to limit warming to 1.5C by 2050.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, nuclear power has already avoided about 68 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions between 1970 and 2015, equal to the entire actual global emissions from the power sector between 2010 and 2015. The IAEA says nuclear generation can make an important contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while delivering energy in the increasingly large quantities needed for global development.

Donald Trump has made continued research and development of nuclear energy a priority to safeguard America’s technological edge. In China, an emerging nuclear energy superpower, a recent scientific paper argued massive development of its nuclear energy sector was indispensable to achieve the 1.5C target. The paper said this would require nuclear power to account for 28 per cent of China’s power mix by 2050. We cannot afford to be absent as the nuclear debate gains momentum.
The Australian

The Australian’s editor – sounding more like an ageing anti-nuclear dinosaur, than a publisher trying to open sensible debate about nuclear power – talks about “Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster”.

Despite the hysterical overreaction to the Fukushima incident – a result of damage caused when a monster tsunami knocked out the power plant’s power supply – not one single soul was lost during the incident or in the 5 years since.

Compare that fatality free “disaster” with the number killed and wounded by the wind industry.

The wind industry has been flapping about for not much more than 20 years (producing a trickle of unreliable power, even today) and has killed more than 180 people – including the two Dutch wind turbine mechanics incinerated by a self-immolating Vestas, depicted above.

There have been thousands of ‘accidents’ causing hundreds of serious injuries and 184 have been killed, of those:

112 were wind industry and direct support workers (divers, construction, maintenance, engineers, etc), or small turbine owner /operators.

72 were public fatalities, including workers not directly dependent on the wind industry (e.g. transport workers). 17 bus passengers were killed in one single incident in Brazil in March 2012; 4 members of the public were killed in an aircraft crash in May 2014 and a further three members of the public killed in a transport accident in September 2014. This includes several suicides from those living close to wind turbines.

Contrast that with nuclear power, which has been a serious power generation contender for over 50 years and (in a single accident at a military facility, Chernobyl) killed 56, most of whom were fire or rescue workers (see our post here). And, unlike wind power, nuclear power just works: without backup, pumped hydro, mythical mega-batteries and the like.

What appears above is something you will never see from a nuclear power plant.

But it’s not just the – 24 x 365, whatever the weather – reliability of nuclear power that makes it attractive.

The cost of the power generated by nuclear plant is peanuts compared to what Australians are paying the power now.

The classic furphy attached nuclear power is that it’s much more expensive than wind and solar. True it is that wind power is ‘cheap’ – when the wind stops blowing (it can’t be bought at any price); the same can be said of solar power when the sun drops over the horizon, as it tends to do, every single day. So, ‘comparing’ nuclear power with wind and solar doesn’t really involve a ‘comparison’, at all.

The USA, the world’s largest nuclear power generator, has 99 nuclear power reactors in 30 states, operated by 30 different power companies, and in 2016 they produced 805 TWh. Since 2001 these plants have achieved an average capacity factor of over 90%, generating up to 807 TWh per year and accounting for about 20% of total electricity generated.

Is it any surprise then, that average retail prices across the US are 1/3 of those in wind and sun powered SA?

Earlier this year, the State of Pennsylvania sent a delegation to Australia to lure energy hungry businesses, with a promise of power prices, a mere fraction of those paid here.

Commercial users in Pennsylvania are paying 8.85 cents per KWh, equating to US$88.50 per MWh. Industrial users are paying 6.67 cents per KWh, equating to US$66.70. Depending on the State they’re in, Australian commercial users are paying upwards of A$0.35 per KWh, or A$350 per MWh hour, in SA it’s A$0.47 per KWh, or A$470 per MWh.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, in 2016, Pennsylvania ranked second in the nation in electricity generation from nuclear power, which supplied 39% of the state’s net electricity generation, more than from any other source.

In France the average retail power price is $246.30 per MWh (24.63 cents per KWh) which compares rather favourably with the average retail power price in South Australia $471.30 per MWh (47.13 cents per KWh) – a snicker under double the price paid by French power consumers (see below).

The French have 58 nuclear reactors, which provide them with roughly 75% of their power.

South Australia is one of the world’s largest uranium miners, with two of Australia’s three operating uranium mines: Olympic Dam and Beverley North/Four Mile, exporting their output to the French, among others. SA also holds uranium reserves that will last the world for a millennia or more.

While there might be other arguments against a nuclear powered future for Australia, the cost of the power produced clearly isn’t one of them. Ask the French, the Americans, South Koreans, Swedes, Slovakians, Hungarians, etc, etc…

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Peter Pronczak says:

    An Eyre Peninsula nuclear power station would be a “game changer” for South Australia, providing cheap electricity, and power for water desalination to support a new agricultural irrigation scheme. A White Paper by a US scientific team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), released by Senator Cory Bernardi on 24 October, shows possible nuclear power options that will enable South Australia to “become a major global hub for clean energy and high-value crops in the 21st century”. Encouragingly, the scientists “surmise that similar results would apply to other Australian states as well as the country as a whole”, which should be no surprise, as nuclear power’s enormous energy density guarantees superior economic outcomes over diffuse and intermittent alternatives such as wind and solar.

    For more info including TV report ‘…truth about Fukushima’ read: http://cecaust.com.au/releases/2018_11_01_Nuclear_Power.html

    • Building a nuclear industry in South Australia will enable them to build and service nuclear submarines here (maybe build the reactors in France). Maybe that has been the intention all along?

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