Australia’s Energy Crisis: High Time For Government to Grow Up and Back Nuclear Powered Future

One with a future, the other redundant.

 

You’ve probably reached peak stupid when a troubled teenage girl gets to berate adults about global economic and energy policy, and a purportedly educated class sit awestruck, applauding in earnest.

Greta the Fretter was front and centre in the (predictable) climate cult hysteria about the bushfires that have swept Australia this summer. Amongst renewable energy rent seekers there was a palpable sense of opportunistic glee.

The shrill and vacuous claimed that Australia’s purported failure to take ‘action on climate’ was the central cause of the conflagration that swept south-east Queensland, New South Wales and the eastern ranges of Victoria.

Taking ‘climate action’ is, of course, code for providing further subsidies to intermittent wind and solar until kingdom come; dressed up as the only method of reducing carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere.

Precisely how another windmill or solar panel would prevent or mitigate bushfires in a country where its landscape and flora has been defined by wildfire over millennia, is anybody’s guess.

If you’re in a sporting mood, why not ask a cultist to explain, in a sentence, how switching to run entirely on wind and solar (not that any such thing is even possible) would eliminate the risk of bushfires in a continent prone to them? And, for added tease value, ask them what effect an all wind and sun powered future might have on deterring the more than 180 arsonists who have been charged, so far, over lighting the fires that have all been put down to an increase in human-generated carbon dioxide gas and PM, Scott Morrison’s refusal to acknowledge the need for ‘more action on climate’ (ie further and endless subsidies to wind and solar).

As STT was putting this post together, the breaking news was that the flooding rains that have fallen across eastern Queensland over the last few days (250-350mm in parts) are now heading south across New South Wales and may reach the eastern ranges of Victoria, extinguishing the fires that have caused death and destruction over the last few weeks; and dampening the fuel load to prevent more of the same.

No doubt, climate hysterics will have something to say about the floods and the need for more ‘climate action’, in due course.

[Note to Ed: these dooms-dayers ought to take a peek at the eminent climatologist, Dorothea Mackellar’s climate forecasts from 1908 in which she accurately predicted a land blessed with an endless cycle of droughts and flooding rains: ‘My Country’]

One topic that did manage to emerge from the ‘it’s human generated CO2 what caused the fires’ lunacy that gripped not only social media but the mainstream press, as well, was the need for the Federal government to start acting like the adults in the room and move towards a nuclear-powered future.

There’s a simple reason that STT backs nuclear power: it works. Delivering affordable power 24 x 365 is the name of the game, something wind and solar are incapable of delivering, and which some 450 nuclear plants around the world have been doing day in day out, for years.

Amongst the climate hysterics it’s easy to tell when they’re not truly serious about reducing carbon dioxide gas emissions. Anyone carrying on about CO2 and not promoting nuclear power is either a child on the autism spectrum and/or motivated by a desire to help destroy Western civilisation and the free-market democracy that generates and sustains wealth and prosperity. Which, by the way, is truly unprecedented in the history of human existence.

Unlike Australia’s 2019/2020 bushfires, which are anything but “unprecedented” – another of the more ludicrous claims made by climate hysterics, ignoring far more deadly and dangerous fires, such as Black Thursday in February 1851 when half of Victoria went up in flames and even those in recent history; the Black Saturday fires in Victoria on 7 February 2009 killed 173. So far, the summer’s fires have taken 28 lives; tragic, but not unprecedented.

But, if those screaming for more ‘climate action’ really want to reduce carbon dioxide gas emissions to (somehow?) “prevent bushfires” and still be able to enjoy cold beer and hot showers, the answer is nuclear power. Period.

The Australian’s Adam Creighton makes all the points that STT has made before, so we won’t steal his thunder, except to say that it’s high time Australia’s politicians grew up and started acting like the adults in the room.

It’s Time To Discuss Nuclear Option
The Australian
Adam Creighton
18 January 2020

Now is the time to make some hard decisions on our future energy sources

Here is a reliable power source that’s almost totally emissions-free and produces no air pollution. And while the main rational argument against nuclear power has been the cost, that now appears to be falling.

Rather than wasting millions of dollars on a royal commission that will recommend common sense, Scott Morrison could have channelled the deluge of exhortations to “do something” about climate change into a concrete plan.

“These bushfires are a wake-up call. The only way to seriously slash our carbon dioxide emissions without destroying the economy is to replace our coal-fired power stations with state of the art nuclear energy, which emits zero emissions,” the Prime Minister could have said.

“Wind and solar power will continue to be an important part of the energy mix, but without a reliable, totally emissions-free source of energy we cannot realistically curb our emissions dramatically. One kilogram of uranium has as much energy at 2000 tonnes of coal. Japan and Germany have recently illustrated the folly of shifting away from nuclear power,” he might have added.

“France and Sweden, which now have some of the lowest per capita carbon emissions in the world, replaced their entire coal grid with nuclear power in about 15 years and 20 years, respectively. We can do it too,” he should have gone on.

After a tsunami hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor in 2011, the Japanese and German governments began to close down their nuclear power stations amid public anxiety. The share of nuclear power generation in the third and fourth largest economies collapsed, from 30 per cent to zero within three years in Japan, as 37 reactors were switched off. Germany has shut down 10 of its nuclear plants with the remaining seven due to close by 2022. These have been a very bad decisions for nations otherwise renowned for their industrial smarts.

Research out last month puts the cost for Germany at $US12bn ($17.4bn) a year already, including “substantial” increases in power prices. “Over 70 per cent of the cost is due to the 1100 excess deaths per year resulting from the local air pollution emitted by the coal-fired power plants operating in place of the shutdown nuclear plants,” the three US economist authors say.

In Japan the closures have caused thousands of people to die too, in the cold, far more than were harmed from the Fukushima nuclear disaster itself, according to research from October last year. “The increase in mortality from the higher electricity prices significantly outweighs the mortality­ from the accident itself­, suggesting the decision to cease nuclear production caused more harm than good,” the author­s conclude, putting the number of deaths at about 4500 across three years to 2014. The decis­ion to switch off nuclear power had been “based on emotion and instinct rather than reason and rationality”. “Deaths from higher energy prices are largely unnoticed,” the authors added.

The main rational argument against nuclear power has been the cost, but this appears to be falling. Last year GE Hitachi told a parliamentary inquiry it could build a small nuclear reactor for $1bn. NuScale, another supplier, said it could build a large one for $US3bn. This is affordable; the government already has wasted billions of dollars on ineffective renewable energy schemes.

Cost blowouts on new reactors in Britain and the US stem from a long lull in construction. The West is forgetting how to build them. China, meanwhile, is doubling its nuclear capacity across the next few years, and creating a hi-tech workforce in the process, apprised of the idea that powering an economy of 1.4 billion people solely with solar and wind is ridiculous.

“Reactors are expected to be connected in South Korea, Belarus, Russia, Finland, the United Arab Emirates, India, Slovakia and Argentina by 2022. Constructions are also progressing in Turkey, Abu Dhabi and Bangladesh, with a further 25 countries considering, planning or progressing programs,” Australia’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science notes in its latest resources quarterly.

In any case shifting entirely to solar and wind power would cost vastly more, even if it were technically feasible. The cost and scale of batteries to ensure reliable power supply when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing would be immense. Economist Geoff Carmody has estimated it would cost, conservatively, more than $400bn in batteries alone to ensure a reliable electricity supply from wind and solar.

If nuclear energy were discovered today, people would think it a miracle. Here is a reliable power source that’s almost totally emissions-free and produces no air pollution. For all the fearmongering, it has the best safety record of any power source in terms of deaths caused.

The standing UN panel on climate change says nuclear energy should be part of national plans to slash emissions. Yet Australia, uniquely among G20 nations, has an outright ban on nuclear power (although we happily export uranium).

“The average person greatly over-estimates the expected costs of a nuclear accident, both in terms of likelihood and number of fatalities,” the authors of the Germany study note. This might not be the case if our political leaders actually led.

Just as the oil price shocks in the 1970s built public support for nuclear power, the tragic bushfires might have been used to inject some rationality into the climate change debate. It seems all we’re getting is a royal commission that will achieve nothing of much value.
The Australian

Nuclear power: for adults only.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Russ Wood says:

    Actually, NOBODY was harmed by the Fukushima nuclear disaster itself! The thousands that died from the earthquake and subsequent tsunami have almost been forgotten, as were the hundreds who died due to over-hasty and unprepared evacuation from the area. The main lessons of Fukushima are (1) even in a natural disaster, a well run nuclear plant is SAFE, even if it is trashed. (2) PANIC KILLS!

  2. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

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