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AFR: spruiking nuclear power « Previous | |Next »
June 27, 2012

We are familiar with how the Matthew Warren and other environment editors of The Australian have run a shabby war of misinformation and deception against climate science across the news and opinion pages from Robert Manne's Quarterly Essay “Bad News: Rupert Murdoch’s Australian and the Shaping of the Nation”.

In doing so The Australian has aligned itself against the Enlightenment's defence of reason in opposition to ignorance, myth and superstition. Parts of the Fairfax media--namely the Australian Financial Review--- also have dirty hands. Their hostility to the carbon tax has morphed into a hostility to renewable energy and as part of a defence of nuclear power that is not based on facts.

It is true that some proponents of nuclear energy industry, such as Michael Angwin the chief executive of the Australian Uranium Association, do advocate starting with the facts and make sure those engaged in the public debate around climate change and energy policies they at least get the facts right. So Angwin, in contrast to The Australian, sides with the Enlightenment tradition.

However, some of those who do argue that nuclear power is the reliable low carbon source of energy do not follow Angwin's advice. A good example is Leslie Kemeny, the Australian member of the International Nuclear Energy Academy, who often writes in The Australian Financial Review, spruiking nuclear power.

In his latest op-ed in the AFR entitled The right road to clean energy Kemeny says:

In a carbon constrained world, and especially in a nation which is over 80 per cent reliant on fossil fuels, the clean energy needs and 2020 and 2050 reduction target can only be met by nuclear power.Our nation’s present flirtation with “renewable” energy sources makes little technical, economic or environmental sense. These “dilute” and “discontinuous” energy forms tend to increase energy prices. Their credentials for both environmental acceptability and sustainability need careful re-examination. China is flooding global markets with wind turbines and cheap solar panels, taking advantage of the West’s “green politics”.

These are claims that are not backed up by facts. They need to be because wholesale electricity prices are falling due to investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Secondly, the CSIRO has shown how the intermittency of the widespread deployment of solar PV could be supported by the electricity grid.

The Australian Financial Review has dirty hands because it publishes Kemeny's assertions without requiring either an argument or facts to back up his claims. In other words it tacitly sides with ignorance.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:27 PM | | Comments (3)


Leslie Kemeny pretty much writes the same opinion piece every time. They are full of sweeping claims, including many that do not stand to scrutiny and are premised on nuclear expansion always being portrayed as a pathway to wealth and prosperity.

He continually denigrates opponents such as the renewable energy industry and radical green activists.

Yet another reason to fear a COALition victory at the next election.

the economics is against nuclear power--requires huge government subsidies and long lead times.