No-Brainer: Nuclear Power Only Solution For Those Fretting About Carbon Dioxide Gas

Nuclear power is the only stand-alone power generation source that does not generate carbon dioxide gas in the process. So why is it that those fretting about human-generated carbon dioxide gas aren’t screaming its merits from the rooftops?

There are plenty among them who fit the category of ‘human hater’ – the kind who see us as a cancer to be excised from the planet.

Then there are the anti-progress Luddite types, who would prefer that the proletariat lived in caves, wore hemp shirts and ate mung beans, and otherwise shared in their miserable lifestyles and worldview.

Then there is the cynical, rent-seeking profiteer, who is making a fortune out of massively subsidised wind and solar, at your expense – who simply hates nuclear power because it will put him out of a very lucrative business.

Whatever the reasons, the fact that Australia is the only OECD country to not benefit from nuclear power astonishes and bewilders the sane and rational.

Which brings us to former Senator for South Australia, Cory Bernardi and this exchange with Gideon Rozner of the Institute of Public Affairs broadcast a couple weeks back on Sky News.

Australia is ‘falling into an energy crisis’
Sky News
Cory Bernardi
2 April 2021

Sky News host Cory Bernardi says Australia is “falling into an energy crisis” born of an “idiotic insistence” that wind and solar can provide baseload energy needs for the nation.

“Successive governments have thrown hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies at these white elephants,” Mr Bernardi said.

“This has all been done to save the planet from the non-pollutant and essential gas carbon dioxide – which the unscientific and plain stupid claim is destroying the planet”.

“Bizarrely, the chief advocates for the horrors of climate change – who demand emissions free energy – refuse to countenance the only carbon dioxide-free baseload power available in the world – nuclear energy”.

Mr Bernardi spoke with the Institute of Public Affairs’ Gideon Rozner about the issue.

“Nuclear industry would be a huge boost to jobs, it would be a huge economic driver in its own right,” Mr Rozner said.

“But more to the point that having that cheap reliable abundant power would be good for jobs across the economy”.

“Because you know as well as I do that we are not having the manufacturing in Australia that we need, we do not have the economic growth that we need.”


Cory Bernardi: Well, Australia is falling, if it hasn’t already fallen right into an energy crisis. And it’s been born of an idiotic insistence that wind and solar can somehow provide baseload energy for the nation. Now, successive governments had thrown hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies at these white elephants. And the result has been nothing short of a disaster. Australia now has some of the highest cost energy on the planet. Our grid system is unstable and the financial cost has seen our greatest economic advantage, that has been cheap and abundant power, literally disappear. And it helps explain why so many of our manufacturing industries have disappeared, too. This has all been done to save the planet from a non-pollutant. Yes, that’s right. The non-pollutant and the essential gas carbon dioxide, which the unscientific and the plain stupid claim is destroying the planet. Now bizarrely, the chief advocates for the horrors of climate change, who demand emissions-free energy, refuse to countenance the only carbon dioxide-free baseload power available in the world: nuclear energy.

For more on this, I’m joined by Gideon Rozner from the IPA. Gideon, thanks so much for your time tonight. Number one of my talking points: In the United States of America, the average nuclear energy plant generates an annual $40 million in salaries and wages for its workers. It employs between 400 and 700 people, and it goes on to purchase about $470 million per year in local goods and services from the community. The total industry that adds up to $60 billion in the country’s GDP. Now, perhaps you can answer this, how many workers does it take to operate a wind or solar farm?

Gideon Rozner: Oh, well, Cory, haven’t you heard about all the wonderful green jobs we’re going to create with these solar farms and windmills and so on? Look, the serious point to all that is actually IPA research in relation to fossil fuels versus renewable shows that is a complete lie in relation to renewable jobs. For every five jobs that are destroyed in coal generation or coal mining, only one is created in renewable energy. But you’re right, Cory. Nuclear industry will be a huge boost of jobs. It would be a huge economic driver in its own right.

But more to the point that having that cheap reliable, abundant power would be good for jobs across the economy because you know, as well as I do that, we are not having the manufacturing in Australia that we need. We do not have the economic growth that we need. The high price of our power, due to our negligence of the sector and our fiddling around with it for so many decades is coming at a huge cost of jobs in the economy. So the more power we can generate it at low cost and high reliability, then the better it would be for everyone.

Cory Bernardi: Ah Gideon, you’re singing my tune. It’s not negligent to the sector. It’s the insane policies of the politicians and being brow beaten by the green lobby. But you know, the essential point I’m trying to make tonight, and I think that you share is that these green activists who are trying to save the planet from coal, which is still our cheapest mode of generating electricity, ignore nuclear, even though nuclear electricity saves the atmosphere in the States, more than 547 and a half million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide that would otherwise come from alternative sources. Now, that’s the same as taking 170 million passenger vehicles off the road, more than every passenger vehicle currently on the road in the U.S. And yet the Greenies won’t have a bar of this. Are they insane? Or just more insane than I thought they were before?

Gideon Rozner: I think some of them are insane. I think the smarter ones know in their heart of hearts that, you know, again, I make the point, windmills and solar panels just cannot do the job of our ageing coal power plants. And they can’t do as well in terms of renewable energy as nuclear. Now, I’m a bit of a coal hugger, I’ll admit. I don’t lie in bed night wondering about Australia’s carbon emissions, and I don’t share the view that we absolutely must get them down at all costs. But if that is your view, you cannot ignore nuclear.

But I think the reason that nuclear hasn’t been embraced by the political left and the political and cultural elite is because for them, low emissions are just a means to an end I think. I think having unlimited power would get in the way of this Malthusian, moralistic argument that we are overproducing and overconsuming and living a bit too large. And we need to repent for our sins against mother earth, by lowering our needs, lowering our expectations of living standards. I think that is the disconnect between the stated aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and doing it with these monstrously inefficient, and inadequate sources of so-called renewable energy.

Cory Bernardi: Yeah, you are quite right. It’s an anti-human agenda. An anti-progress agenda. I think Gideon you’ve opened up another talking point for later in the year about what you’d lie awake thinking of at nighttime, I’m not going to go there now. But, nuclear energy is, as you pointed out, the only emissions-free source of electricity that can be widely expanded and relied upon for base-load energy requirements. Now, if you wanted to save the same amount of carbon dioxide that say produced by a thousand megawatt nuclear facility, a solar farm needs to have a footprint twice the size of Manhattan. It’s about a hundred square kilometres. Now, this is just not practical to think that you’re going to have an unreliable power source that has huge environmental problems in disposing of it. And it’s going to take up so much land mass. Why would anyone think that’s a viable solution for us?

Gideon Rozner: Yeah. Look, Cory. I am no tree hugger by nature, as you can probably tell, but there are serious environmental concerns that again, wind and solar technology is throwing up and don’t take my word for it. Look at the excellent film produced by, and I’ve never said this before, Michael Moore, last year called “Planet of the Humans” talking about the fact that building wind turbines and solar panels takes enormous amounts of raw materials from the earth. They have a short life and they’re difficult to dispose of, and they end up in landfill after where we’ve stopped using them. When the wind turbines, they call them bird blenders because they hoover up enormous numbers of rare and endangered birds are it’s… Again, I’ll make the point. It is a weird disconnect between people who purport to be out there saving the planet and their willful blindness to actual ecological issues that we can all I think, except our bad problems and things, we need to mitigate.

The other point to make though, Corey, is also: we export. It’s a bit like coal. Again, we export a huge proportion of the world’s uranium. We’re happy to send it overseas for other countries to use for their nuclear power plants, but we won’t use it ourselves. In fact, there’s a ban on it federally, on nuclear technology to generate power. Yet, at the same time, we’re shipping in all this equipment from made by China, our main strategic rival, to their economic benefit, and try and pay through the nose for power prices. It is a seriously skewed and inept system.

Cory Bernardi: Yeah, exactly. You mentioned how the wind farms are dangerous to birds. They’re also dangerous to people’s hypocrisy meter because I know that Bob Brown didn’t want one in his backyard. He was happy for them to be sprung up everywhere else, except parts of Tasmania where he was. But what about this? I mean, the lefties all say that modern reactors are terrible, and they’re dangerous. We’ve had Chernobyl, which was a disaster and right Fukushima, but modern reactors are safer. They’re more versatile. They’re more efficient than ever before. And when you think about Chernobyl it was bad. It involved a Soviet era design without the inherent safety features. But Fukushima is now acknowledged even by the ABC who had to put out a statement today. It was an accident. All the deaths were caused by the tsunami and the earthquake. And there were no related deaths attributed to the nuclear reactor. This is an extraordinary mea culpa by the propaganda sitting at their ABC, isn’t it?

Gideon Rozner: Yeah. An extraordinary mea culpa. Don’t forget. This is the ABC that won’t admit that Norman Swan was wrong. When he said that Australia was two weeks behind Italy in terms of its enormous coronavirus case load. They wouldn’t have admitted, that Tim Flannery is wrong about his crazy climate predictions. It won’t really admit that Emma Alberici was wrong about her economic pronouncements over the years. Yet on this day, they’ve had to eat their humble pie and say, we got it wrong.

The ABC initially called the Fukushima disaster deadly. They have since revised that on the basis that nobody has died directly as a result of the Fukushima meltdown. As you said, they died from the tsunami and from the earthquake. One scientist is rumoured to have died from radiation poisoning. But even that is disputed.

The fact of the matter is Chernobyl, as you said, was a disaster owing to inferior Soviet era technology and poorly trained personnel. The technology has rapidly improved since the 1980s. We’re talking about four decades here. Small scale reactors in particular can be factory built. They don’t need water to cool their reactors, and they can be used efficiently to scale up and down depending on the demands of the energy grids. So to make these absurd projections and scare campaigns based on technology that hasn’t been used for the better part of 40 years is such a misguided red herring. And it really is getting in the way of proper energy debate in this country.

Cory Bernardi: It sure is. And particularly when you consider, there are 440 nuclear power reactors in 31 countries worldwide. And that doesn’t include the research reactors with 220 of those that operate in 50 countries. It provides about 10% of the world’s electricity. Eighteen percent if you think of the OECD countries. And these modern plants – they’re more flexible and more efficient than ever before. Why is there this continual ban on nuclear power in this country, and why won’t the Morrison government do something about it, Gideon?

Gideon Rozner: Well, I want the Morrison government do something about it for the same reason. The Morrison government doesn’t do much on, on, on a lot of things because they don’t want the fight. They don’t want to go into the next election with a green placards in marginal seats saying, “Scott Morrison’s going to trigger a meltdown and your neighbourhood.” But as you correctly said in your editorial, a lot of people in Australia wouldn’t know that we actually have a nuclear reactor in Australia, and it’s not out in the middle of the Kimberly or out in the middle of the desert or anywhere else. It is in a suburb of Sydney. It’s the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor. And this is how the perverse the debate is, the Australian government has been looking for years for a place to store the waste that comes from that facility.

And it’s low level waste. It’s things like, you know, gowns and hats and goggles that have been used in nuclear medicine. And even then, whenever they try to find a remote place, that’s geologically safe to dump these very low level nuclear waste, there is always some astroturfing exercise or some local group, that scuttles it. So, the biggest obstacle, one of the biggest obstacles to having a nuclear power plant in Australia is nimbyism. And the fact that there’ll be all manner of misguided campaigns run about around the safety of this technology. And as usual get bogged down in the usual debates, but it’s the debate that we have to have, Cory, because as I said, if we’re going to go down this path, rightly or wrongly, for better or worse of obsessing over our carbon dioxide emissions, that can we at least do something about power prices while we’re at and adopt a technology, that is, as far as I’m concerned, a complete no-brainer.

Cory Bernardi: Gideon. You’re absolutely right. I agree with you. And just before I go, I’ve got to let you know, I’ve been to Lucas Heights. I’ve seen the low level waste stored in 44 gallon drums in a shed. And I’ve seen the intermediate level waste stored in these giant eggs that you touch them and they’re warm, but they’re in the back streets of Sydney. People just don’t know, and they shouldn’t be worried about it at all because it’s as safe as anything. But it’d be safer out in the Outback.

Hey, Gideon, I’ve got to go. But, I always love you coming on the show. I love your Spectator TV as well. Thanks very much. And I hope you enjoy your Easter weekend.

Gideon Rozner: Thanks, Corey. You too, mate.
Sky News

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