Nuclear lobby likes Bjorn Lomborg’s “delay” strategy, on climate change

Nuclear lobby backs Abbott’s $4m gift to climate contrarian Lomborg,Independent Australia  Giles Parkinson 23 April 2015When push comes to shove to act on global warming, Big Mining will wheel in nuclear as a ploy to stall the take up of renewables. Is pro-nuclear Bjorn Lomborg’s thinktank in WA just a cynical move by Abbott to kill the clean energy industry? RenewEconomy’s Giles Parkinson runs the ruler over the nuclear option. THE PRO-NUCLEAR lobby has welcomed the decision by the Abbott government to award $4 million to Bjorn Lomborg, a climate “contrarian” who favours nuclear energy and opposes deployment of renewable energy.

Michael Schellenberger, president of the US-based Breakthrough Institute, a pro-nuclear think tank, tweeted over the weekend that the Australian government’s granting of funds to Lomborg was no different to the German government’s funding of an environmental think tank that favours renewable energy.

The difference may be that the Energiewende, or energy transition, is official bipartisan government policy in Germany. But Australia does not – at least officially, although its actions suggest otherwise – embrace climate obstructionism and nuclear technology. And it has defunded independent climate analysis such as that from the Climate Commission.

The tweet from the Breakthrough Institute might be unremarkable, but for that institution’s recent alliance with the pro-nuclear lobby in Australia, and the joint release of an “EcoModernist Manifesto” last week that says present day renewables are incapable of providing zero carbon energy, and that nuclear fission is the only technology capable of meeting most, if not all, the energy demands of a modern economy.

This, it would appear, seems to concur with the not-so-subtle secret agenda of Australian Coalition government policy. The Abbott government appointed Dick Warburton – a man who holds similar views, supporting nuclear and decrying renewables – to head the review of renewable energy target.

The government’s review stopped all investment in large-scale renewables in Australia, and it is still refusing to accept a compromise offer that would see the 2020 target reduced by nearly half. Warburton wanted the RET scrapped altogether.

Lomborg wants the government to go further. He told ABC Radio last December that no more solar modules should be installed. Instead, the world should wait for the next generation solar technology, and nuclear.

The authors of the “EcoModernist Manifesto”, which include Barry Brook, who is professor of environmental sustainability at the University of Tasmania and a member of the “experts panel” for South Australia’s Royal Commission into the nuclear industry, appear to be of a similar view………

the nuclear lobby appears determined to slow down the deployment of renewables — an outcome that favours few people apart from the owners of coal-fired generators, and those with a vested interest in centralised generation.

The biggest hurdle to this lies in the soaring costs and problems facing its preferred technology, nuclear, just as the costs of renewables continues to fall.

France, for instance, has placed its faith in next generation nuclear technologies, but its new reactor at Flamanville is proving a nightmare, already running years late, and with massive cost over-runs.

Those delays and costs are likely to increase because of a new finding by France’s nuclear safety authority that the builders may have used the wrong sort of steel for the pressure vessel, meaning they may have to start over again on that crucial piece of the plant.

This technology is supposed to provide the blue-print to re-boot the U.K.’s nuclear plan. But the planned Hinckley C complex, already costing $43 billion, may not go ahead. Despite offering tariffs starting at nearly $180/MWh, and rising with inflation to nearly $500/MWh 35 years later, as well as massive loan guarantees, the U.K. government is refusing to take the risk of cost-overruns.

So, too, is the French government, which owns the companies proposing to build the reactor, and also the the Chinese state-owned companies brought in as co-investors……….,7620


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