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June 21, 2005

nuclear power

As the price of oil continues to rise (now nearing $US 60-per-barrel) I noticed an item in the Australian Financial Review reporting that Dennis Jensen, a West Australian MP and former CSIRO scientist, is helping to drive a campaign that addresses the culture of fear which surrounds the debate on nuclear energy.


Under the guise of opening up the debate Jensen is advocating for nuclear energy:

"There will come a time where demand will outstrip supply and the most viable alternative energy source is nuclear energy. Wind, tidal and solar power are economically unviable and unsustainable for the amount of energy we need to produce."

Jensen does not consider the possibilities of a decentralized power grid. He just assumes that big centralized power is the way to go.

But why should Eyre Peninsula draw its power needs via old transmission lines from a nuclear power plant in Sydney, when it can draw enough power from wind and solar from its own region, and even export power back to the main grid to power Adelaide or even the eastern states.

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at June 21, 2005 10:51 AM

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» Centralised vs Decentralised from Peak Energy
Public Opinion notes that the Financial Review's pro-nuclear campaign is continuing - and that they continue to ignore the idea that we are better off working towards a decentralised grid powered by renewables wherever possible. [Read More]

Tracked on June 21, 2005 09:21 PM


Perhaps a useful summary of the need to wake up from the green dream here? See this.

Posted by: observa at June 21, 2005 01:10 PM

I'm not sure John "Anti Green" Ray is a reliable source of information - Tim Lambert has demolished his nutty ideas before and could no doubt make a full time job of it if he thought it worth wasting his time and energy.

See this

I agree with Gary - distributed renewables are the way to go - something that will become obvious to everyone eventually.

Unfortunately we'll probably spend a large amount of time, money and effort tagging along on US invasions of middle eastern countries in a futile attempt to control the remaining (and rapidly depleting) oil, while living in (heavily taxpayer subsidised) fantasy world that believes nuclear fission is the answer to our problems (both global warming and energy depletion) when it is neither.

Posted by: Big Gav at June 21, 2005 09:27 PM

the 'green dream' view is misplaced. It is not being argued that solar runs the world on this weblog.

Where did you get that idea?

Apart from the decentralized idea I have suggested that peak loads from airconditioners in summer can be handled by solar power on household roofs.

It is about peak loads not baseline power.

Posted by: Gary Sauer-Thompson at June 22, 2005 05:55 PM

Big Gav: I'm aware of Ray's biases, but the articles and books he links to stand or fall on their merits.

Gary: Personally I don't think alternatives stack up on price without social pricing of carbons. That's why I'd like to see a total govt revenue reliance on carbon/resource taxing. Your peak load reliance on solar is a case in point. An acquaintance of mine has installed a $21000 solar power installation and he wouldn't have done so without a $7000 govt rebate. Even at $14000 nett, that's still a long payback, which confirms what Ray's linked article was saying.

Posted by: observa at June 23, 2005 12:41 PM

the solar cells will get better and the price will come down with increased demand.

But a $14000 capital outlay can be paid off with the savings on electricity bills and be being paid for feeding the surplus power into the grid. A decade for the payback?

It always suprises me that the subsidy finger is pointed at solar but never at nuclear. Nuclear cannot compete against coal with a subsidy in Australia.

Posted by: Gary Sauer-Thompson at June 23, 2005 04:01 PM

I second the opinion about nuclear vs coal in Australia - coal will always be the lowest cost form of energy here, unless, as Observa says, carbon costs are included. How much nuclear benefits compared to coal when carbon costs are included still seems to be pretty hotly debated though.

Critics of distributed renewables always talk about economics and subsidisation and conveniently ignore the fact that nuclear power generation overseas has always been heavily subsidised (and that no one is willing to invest in it unless they can be guaranteed immunity from lawsuits that would make them pay the clean up costs in the case of an accident occurring - hence Bush's latest efforts in the US to remove this "problem").

Posted by: Big Gav at June 28, 2005 12:01 PM

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