Here’s the IQ2 debate from 2012 concerning nuclear energy, please cue to 1:16:18, to John Morgan’s salient question: “Given that the rate at which we decarbonise determines the amount of warming we will ultimately experience, and given that we can decarbonise faster with renewable energy and nuclear power than with renewable energy alone, how many degrees of planetary warming do you believe it is worth to avoid the use of nuclear power?” Feel free to listen to the remainder of the debate if you haven’t before, but you might probably guess that this point was entirely avoided by the nuclear opponents that night.
Right about now we could really do with a proper department of energy and climate change, and someone like David MacKay working for it. His approachable, honest accounting for the realistic contribution which can be made by diffuse renewable energy capacity in a European setting really needs to be translated down into that of Australia, to properly anchor the necessary debate on the future of energy.
Additionally, here’s a related perspective on the levelised extent of resources needed for renewable capacity.
In terms of fossil fuels, Professor MacKay makes the three points of global supply constraint, greenhouse gas emissions and foreign supply dependence. Broadly speaking these are all issues which can be addressed with buildout of modern nuclear energy, but for Australia (among many other countries) I would add a fourth aspect for which nuclear capacity would be the most efficient and value-adding option available, and that is drought proofing. Despite the sobering information above, renewable technologies do need to be part of our future clean energy mix – and have seen some success in powering desalination in south Australia – but we need thermal capacity to drive the expanded scale required for the future. And therefore we need to be legally allowed to consider the only deployable, large scale, CO2-free method available.
Good news, everyone! If you still haven’t seen Pandora’s Promise you can head over to The Age TV where it is available to stream for free.
And don’t forget, if you have questions on the technical aspects of the issues raised in the film, the Back Pages are a great place to start.
Thank you, ANSTO. Thank you, Dr Paterson.
Several developing countries and emerging economies, in particular in the Asia Pacific region, are looking to nuclear power as a solution to their energy supply and security concerns. Of the 34 OECD countries, 18 operate nuclear power reactors. Of the remaining 16 countries, 12 are importing electricity from neighbouring nuclear countries to provide electricity and stability to their grids. Of the remaining four, Iceland predominately uses geothermal power, and New Zealand generates most of its power in the form of hydro-electricity. Israel’s geographic location has, to date, precluded the use of nuclear power. Australia is the only other OECD country that does not have an alternative, base-load low cost, low emission energy source, and has policy settings that exclude nuclear power.
Energy optionality based on technology neutral policy settings must be maximised if Australia’s energy security and future economic competitiveness needs are to be met. Nuclear energy meets all the requirements for energy security by providing an adequate, affordable and reliable energy supply.
I’d like to draw attention to a couple of fellow bloggers today. The first is Rod Adams, who I think must be the father of privately-funded nuclear energy advocacy on the Internet. This is a bit overdue considering his gracious welcome for yours truly a few months ago (make sure to check the comments for a wildly unrelated but informative debate regarding nuclear plant insurance). Rod hosts the Atomic Show, the nuclear energy podcast which regularly features various industry professionals and no-nonsense topics.
The most recent guest post from nuclear physicist Patrick Walden brings to light the lack of standards required by institutional environmentalists in their increasingly desperate attempts to maintain the circulation if fear, uncertainty and doubt. How many ordinary folks, concerned about climate change and their kids’ future, get distracted by the radiation hysteria and nuclear conflation and miss the chance to consider energy from modern reactors as safe, clean and plentiful? (Make sure to follow the links to YouTube posts featuring exploration of the Chernobyl exclusion zone.)
The second mention goes to Suzy Hobbs Baker of PopAtomic Studios who is leading an important revolution in nuclear energy outreach over at the Nuclear Literacy Project. We are currently in the midsts of the #Atoms4Earth campaign in the lead up to Earth Day. If you have a good idea for a succinct, educational and factually-sound nuclear-promoting meme, please share it!
Hope you don’t mind I’m using your meme, Suzy!
Oh, and thanks to her, the truth is out, all nuclear professionals are evil.