Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Lyn Allen and Richard Ledger make a fine nuclear submission for the public good

September 28, 2019

Allen, Lyn and  Ledgar, Richard Submission No 30

to the FEDERAL. Inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia…  Extracts “…..there are overwhelming economic, environmental and social reasons why nuclear energy is not an appropriate contributor to Australia’s energy mix.

If Australia is going to move to a sustainable future then we need to concentrate on producing energy from renewable resources. Uranium is not a renewable resource and even more so than coal, uranium mining produces waste that remains toxic for thousands of years.

Additionally, while nuclear power generation does not produce greenhouse gases, greenhouse gases are produced at every step in the process from mining to refinement and building nuclear power generation facilities. Like uranium mines, nuclear power stations expose the community and the environment in which they are built to significant risks ……

The future of Australia’s energy generation should to take advantage of our abundant natural resources such as sun, wind, tidal potential. Nuclear power station are massively expensive to build and take years to complete, whereas wind and solar generators and new storage technology (such as the batteries installed in South Australia) can be developed quickly and relatively inexpensively …

water. Generating nuclear power needs large quantities of water. Given Australia’s climatic conditions, the shortage of water in many of our major river systems,

Many countries around the world that currently use nuclear power are already starting to phase it out in favour of wind and solar generation. Australia can get in front of the energy production business by putting our skills, and efforts into an alternative energy grid that suits our climate, is safe for future generation and takes advantage of ‘free’ sources of energ

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To Australia’s Federal Nuclear Inquiry – a Submission for the Public Good

September 24, 2019

Recommendation. There is no need to change Australia’s laws prohibiting nuclear activities. They were devised to protect Australians from the health, and safety risks of nuclear facilities, – far-sighted in that they have saved Australia from the unnecessary expense of a now collapsing industry. Meanwhile Australia is very well placed to put energy and funds into truly modern developments, and could become a world leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

To start with, the title of this Inquiry , featuring the word  “prerequisite” really makes clear the major issue.

What is the major prerequisite?

Obviously the one important  prerequisite is to repeal Australia’s laws banning nuclear activities. 

First the Federal Law would have to be repealed. (a1)

Then – State Laws –  Victoria’s  NUCLEAR ACTIVITIES (PROHIBITIONS) ACT (a2) -and South Australia’s Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 (a3)

(a1)    https://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/what-is-protected/nuclear-actions

(a2)   http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdb/au/legis/vic/consol_act/naa1983337/

(a3) https://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/LZ/C/A/NUCLEAR%20WASTE%20STORAGE%20FACILITY%20(PROHIBITION)%20ACT%202000.aspx

Once these laws are repealed, then nuclear industry proponents will be free to spend much money on publicising the benefits of the industry. With helpful politicians and press, particularly from the predominant Murdoch media, this will give the industry huge boost. As Australia moves further into drought and water shortages, they will claim that nuclear power is essential to solve climate change.  (Even if nuclear power could combat climate change, it would take decades to establish, and by then it would be too late.)

So – that is what the global nuclear industry needs, especially for South Australia, which has specific legislation against spending public money on promoting the nuclear industry .

While Australians have concerns about cost, safety, environment , health, wastes, Aboriginal rights, weapons proliferation etc, I am sure that the nuclear lobby will be able to overcome those hesitations, with an effective programme.

So, I have my doubts that the Terms of Reference matter all that much, but – here goes.  I understand that the emphasis in this Inquiry is on Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

a . waste management, transport and storage.    (more…)

Barrie Hill explains how Australia’s tax-payers must fund nuclear power development

September 12, 2019

Barrie Hill gives an insight into just what the global nuclear lobby wants from Australia.  They want to overturn Australia’ s laws prohibiting nuclear activities, and get the tax-payer to fund the development of the nuclear industry in Australia

His submission (no.60) to the FEDERAL. Inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia is a fine example of the nuclear-lobby-speak that is turning up in these submissions from nuclear power experts.  He’s the Managing Director of SMR Technology, and makes sure to outline his impressive background in the industry.

His is a long submission, in 3 long documents.  Here are snatches from his main document.:

*****************************************************

Hill says that for Australia replacing coal with nuclear will be “ the least cost alternative “. He recommends a South Korean type nuclear chain. Says that “the viability and advantages of small modular reactors is fully covered in a separate submission”. Recommends setting up a Federal government authority to lead Australia’s nuclear program. Recommends the South Korean Advanced Power Reactor 1000MWe (APR1000).

It is recommended that the groundwork for an inevitable future nuclear power program is put in place beginning with the removal of all legislated prohibitions and increased support or familiarisation and training programs.”

the government will need to guarantee high level positions with appropriate salaries for  qualified persons coming from existing nuclear areas”

Recommends used fuel storage to be ready by 10 years from first plant commissioning “and that storage allow for eventual fuel recovery”. Wants high regulation and documentation, and sites for reactors chosen early.

Outlines his strong background in the nuclear industry.

Discusses the needs for electricity, and limitations of renewable energy. Criticises the electricity marketing structure. All existing subsidies should be removed. Says base-load power is critically needed. Wants a single independent Australian Electricity Commission to be set up.

Goes on at length and in detail about projected.electricity costs. The development of nuclear reactors for power generation provides a cost effective, safe, and reliable option for the progressive replacement of the current Australian base load generation fleet.” and suggests direct replacement by Small Modular Reactors.

Says that Westinghouse indicated a  good potential for widespread industry involvement within Australia”.

Hill attributes the “difficult acceptance” of nuclear power to “accident outcomes sensationalised by technically uninformed media.”

At an early point in the process the Federal and State governments should act to remove all legislative bans prohibiting a final decision to proceed so that the work may be developed unobstructed and finally judged on it’s merits. It is clear that the existence of the bans has restricted expenditure on thorough analysis to date particularly by government  agencies and has been a severe detriment to the establishment of a coherent energy policy for the nation.”

He moves on to “Stage 2” – a feasibility study, resulting in a “national investment decision”, the forming of a Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organisation, bring in many experts, including foreign experts for “high level knowledge” . Recommends Government Leadership and Continuous Investment in Nuclear Infrastructure….. “ The Australian government therefore should play a lead role in the program from the initial phase with investment funds, manpower selection, and appropriate planning –

With the existence of a firm financial guarantee from the government local and overseas companies will actively participate in the national nuclear power construction program with reduced risk. ”.

Only an Australian government agency can arrange and manage the required level of investment estimated to total $150B to eventually replace all retiring coal fired power stations, to ensure maximum benefit for the Australian community and minimum riskThe Reserve Bank has noted that this time of unprecedented low interest rates is the perfect  opportunity for government investment in productive new assets such as power stations.

Lengthy discussion on need for training and education especially tertiary. International co-operation, especially on safeguards. Need for a standard nuclear design.

[on nuclear wastes)”The work carried out for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission based in South Australia has provided sufficiently detailed pre-feasibility studies to commence final feasibility work for the implementation of used fuel storage in Australia. It is recommended that used fuel storage be available ten years from first plant commissioning and that storage allow for eventual fuel recovery.”

Recommends importing nuclear wastes, as a way to fund nuclear power development :“The economic viability and revenue streams defined for used fuel import storage as part of the work carried out by the South Australian Royal Commission could in the extreme provide sufficient revenue to fund the development of a nuclear power program for all of Australia. This massive economic opportunity cannot be overlooked”

Need for a strong independent regulator.

On insurance, Hill explains why beyond a certain level risk had to be socialised. It is now understood that the state needs to accept responsibility as insurer of last resort”

Hill dismisses the idea of any necessary connection between nuclear power and nuclear weapons proliferation.

Discusses how to organise a leadership team, then process for choosing sites for reactors.

Discusses radiation at length, tending to minimise the health effects of Chernobyl and Fukushima, and reassures about the nuclear industry’s good safety culture.

Recent OECD and local studies suggest that Federal action to introduce nuclear power is the only economically viable option to meet minimum cost of supply, maximum reliability of supply, and key environmental imperatives for the Australian electricity sector.”

Hill gives detail on choosing a reactor type- recommending a Korean one.

On risk analysis – “Humans are poor risk managers, focusing too much on consequences and too little on probabilities – something insurance and lottery salesmen relish.Gives lengthy detail on risk identification and risk mitigation. He includes not only safety risks, but also financial risks, and ways to mitigate them.

Finally, Hill turns to the issue of climate change, recommending nuclear power for reducing greenhouse gases, and replacing coal power.

The Federal government will be required to manage the financing, construction and operation of all nuclear power stations for the foreseeable future.
A prerequisite for the investment is the establishment of a government leadership andmanagement control organisation the Australian Electricity Corporation”

“ It is time for the Australian Federal government to lead a strategy for change before all those benefits are
irretrievably lost.”

Australia is wise to have laws prohibiting nuclear power

September 7, 2019

 

Submission 25 Greig Myer   Hopefully this will be the final time that our elected representatives waste time and money on a form of energy that has no public support in pretty much every country on the planet. This has been indicated time and again when the general public has been allowed to have a referendum on the issue. Historically the Australian government has sensibly recognised this in its general moratorium on nuclear power. I will rely on others providing the facts backing up the following broad statements:

There remains no proven long term safe storage facility for nuclear waste anywhere in the world. All facilities to date have experienced increasing leakage risks or actual leakage as time has gone on. The waste also requires ongoing management far beyond the average extent of human planning ability and is based on the assumption of an extraordinarily long stability of government and human affairs that have historically never persisted.

This remains the most basic and fundamental reason that nuclear power should not be considered.

The health and safety risks of nuclear power are massive and exist end to end. From mining uranium, to operating the facility, to dismantling it and storing the waste, at all points humans and the natural environment are exposed to very real risk of radiation exposure, and that is assuming things are operating well.

Nuclear power is currently the most expensive form of electricity generation available, as well as the most dangerous and the most polluting. The estimated costs of generating nuclear power never include the dismantlement of the reactor at the end of its life as well as the multi-generational cost of storage of the waste. These costs must be included in an assessment of nuclear power.

If experts are to be sought to provide an overview of nuclear power then some should be sourced from Germany which is closing down all its nuclear power, and Japan that is currently dealing with the reality of nuclear power when it goes wrong.

Australia as a major supplier of uranium is an enabler of the nuclear waste problem that is going to plague the world for generations. Just because an industry provides profit or jobs does not make it a conscionable activity. Australia could make a major contribution to ensuring that nuclear waste is at least somewhat reduced by shutting down its uranium producing mines. –

Some nuclear proponents raise the red herring of carbon emissions as a reason for nuclear power. Carbon dioxide is only one form of pollution that humanity has to deal with it as a result of its activities. Replacing one form of pollution with a far more toxic alternative is not progress.

There is urgent need for focus on the long-term stabilisation of Australia’s energy grid and this would be a much more appropriate focus for a Parliamentary Inquiry. Solar and wind power are cheap and whatever problems they have they are insignificant compared to the extreme risks that exist with nuclear power.

Electric cars are coming and they provide a real opportunity to provide the grid stabilisation that is needed, if the Australian Government provides the appropriate guidelines (universal plug for all cars, all charging to be done between 10am and 2pm??). It is time to focus on the future and leave nuclear power in the past where it belongs. It has had 50 years to prove itself and it has failed comprehensively.

Here’s a really good Submission to Australian Govt’s Nuclear Power Inquiry

August 24, 2019

Perhaps a better idea would be to lead the world in renewable energy and new battery storage technologies, rather than heading back down a path that the rest of the world has decided to leave behind. I trust that this information is of benefit.

j. other matters The idea that Australia needs a nuclear power industry is laughable. Australia has such rich renewable energy resources that it has the potential to generate power for all of SE Asia. The record deployment of renewable energy in Australia over the past 5 years has reached most parts of regional Australia with grid capacity. This deployment has also caused a reduction in the wholesale price of energy, which has rarely been passed down to the consumer. Consequently, we have witnessed the fastest uptake of rooftop solar in the world, most commonly to the lower income suburbs of Australia. We are now observing the uptake of rooftop solar into the commercial and industrial sectors, in combination with battery storage. Commercial power purchase agreements between renewable energy projects, direct to the customer are now commonplace, and the world is heading toward 100% renewable energy.

Dr Richard Finlay-Jones    Director. EcoEnviro Pty Ltd  

Addressing the terms of reference: 
a. Waste management, transport and storage Nuclear waste is a long term radioactive contaminant for soils, air and water. Nuclear waste is dangerous to many forms of life, including humans. Radiation from nuclear waste has a long half-life, which has the possibility to impact future generations. Nuclear power relies on this energy to function, hence nuclear power should not be considered a sustainable energy option in Australia’s energy mix.
  b. health and safety Whilst many nuclear power plants around the world have a strong safety record, there are a string of recorded incidents of failure of plants around the world, most notably Three-Mile Island, Chernobyl and most recently Fukushima. These plants were all considered to be “safe” in their day, and each of them continues to be a radiation and health hazard to the environment. We can no longer afford to risk the safety of our community based on even low probability, especially when cheaper, safer options of energy generation are available. One of the largest nuclear generators in the world (Germany) is now closing and dismantling its power plants in favour of distributed renewable energy and local smart-grids.
  c. environmental impacts As in b. above the impacts to the environment from the mining, transport and utilisation of uranium for nuclear generation are avoidable. Cheaper, cleaner options of generation are now available to us on utility-scale wind and solar projects .
d. energy affordability and reliability Nuclear energy will not solve the energy affordability and reliability issues, that we are facing. Nuclear energy has a higher levelised cost of energy (LCOE) than renewables (Bloomberg New Energy Finance 2018), and has a long lead time to development, construction and operation of plant. Better options for affordability include the deployment of more wind and solar generation, in combination with battery storage. Battery storage has already demonstrated its effectiveness in South Australia and Victoria, with home battery storage becoming a fast-developing market due to improving cost effectiveness. Installation of high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission lines between the Eastern States, and also between the NEM and Western Australia could also prove to be effective in opening up new renewable energy opportunities and increasing the reliability of wind and solar.
The Pilbara has the best solar resource in the world, and the capacity to power all of Australia if there was some connectivity between the National Electricity Market (NEM), the North West Interconnected System (NWIS) and the South West Interconnected System (SWIS). This would be a far better use of funds, providing employment and training opportunities for Northern Australia and releasing opportunities for cheap clean energy generation Australia and possibly SE Asia.
  e. economic feasibility Based on a cost per megawatt of installed capacity, nuclear power is more expensive than renewables, which have less impact and less waste (BNEF 2018). The cost of developing nuclear in Australia would be more expensive, would require more land, and extensive community consultation and engagement. The location of any plant would need to be remote and would require significant investment in new high voltage transmission lines to deliver the power to the loads. Investment in such transmission lines would be better served in opening-up new regions with renewable energy opportunities.
f. community engagement Community engagement and participation in new generation projects is always challenging. Obtaining community approval to develop, construct and operate a nuclear facility in any region in Australia will probably be the most challenging project ever seen in Australia. The project will experience community objection from every corner of the country based on cost, risk, safety and health, visual amenity and environmental impact. And rightly so. There will be no social licence for such a plant to operate, without significant and probably excessive compensation to impacted parties and parties at risk from indirect impacts.
g. workforce capability The capability to develop, construct and operate a nuclear power plant in Australia exists, however the costs attached to each of these processes will be significantly higher than the cost to deploy cheaper, cleaner generation sources. There are more employment and training opportunities in renewables than there are for nuclear power.
h. security implications One of the issues of the centralised generation model, that we are now moving away from is the risk of energy security. Recently we have witnessed the impact of failing coal fired power plants which has caused significant market volatility and the need for load shedding. The impact of failure at a nuclear power plant can be multiplied and then multiplied again with respect to: • power pricing • health and safety risk • terrorist threat • grid stability and reliability
i. national consensus There is a school of thought that exists that nuclear could solve our present energy problems. The irony is that this “problem” was forecast over 20 years ago and nothing was done about it. The call for a nuclear solution is a “band aid” fast-fix idea that is fraught with cost and risk issues.
j. other matters The idea that Australia needs a nuclear power industry is laughable. Australia has such rich renewable energy resources that it has the potential to generate power for all of SE Asia. The record deployment of renewable energy in Australia over the past 5 years has reached most parts of regional Australia with grid capacity. This deployment has also caused a reduction in the wholesale price of energy, which has rarely been passed down to the consumer. Consequently, we have witnessed the fastest uptake of rooftop solar in the world, most commonly to the lower income suburbs of Australia. We are now observing the uptake of rooftop solar into the commercial and industrial sectors, in combination with battery storage. Commercial power purchase agreements between renewable energy projects, direct to the customer are now commonplace, and the world is heading toward 100% renewable energy.

Perhaps a better idea would be to lead the world in renewable energy and new battery storage technologies, rather than heading back down a path that the rest of the world has decided to leave behind. I trust that this information is of benefit. Submission6      EcoEnviro Pty Ltd has been consulting to the renewable energy industry sector in Australia since 2003. Its clients include major utilities, developers and engineering companies. EcoEnviro specialises in project development from greenfield development through to construction, operation and management of wind and solar projects. EcoEnviro is also developing its own wind and solar projects in Northern NSW and is contracting to Pilbara Solar in North West Western Australia. https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Environment_and_Energy/Nuclearenergy/Submissions  

Australia’s pro nuclear government dazzles the public with submissions with very short deadlines

August 22, 2019

1 FEDERAL Submissions about the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility in Kimba or the Flinders Ranges.  The Standing Committee on Environment and Energy are accepting submissions to the ‘Inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia’ until 16 September 2019. Please write your own submission or use FOE’s online proforma

2. FEDERAL. Inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia (Submissions close 16 September 2019 https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Environment_and_Energy/Nuclearenergy?fbclid=IwAR0Sw4LB2qdcxSI6U6l67lI7Mwz9IEWw7_0RIq3mtN-nfpkfBn4z2VkQGog

3, NEW SOUTH WALES. Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Repeal Bill 2019 (Submissions close 18 October 2019)

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries/Pages/inquiry-details.aspx?pk=2525#tab-termsofreference

4 .Inquiry to explore Victoria going nuclear

ALSO Sustainability of energy supply and resources in NSW (Submissions close 15 September 2019)
https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries/Pages/inquiry-details.aspx?pk=2542#tab-termsofreference

Australia has long rejected nuclear power, and it is banned in Federal and State laws. The nuclear lobby is out to first repeal those laws, and then to get the Australian government to commit to buying probably large numbers of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) .  This could mean first importing plutonium and/or enriched uranium, as some reactor models, (thorium ones) require these to get the fission process started.  That would, in effect, mean importing nuclear wastes.

There’s an all-too short period for people to send in Submissions to the 4 Parliamentary Inquiries now in progress.

You can be sure that the well-paid shills of the nuclear industry will already have sent in their glossy submissions. But let’s remember –   these SMRs do not actually exist except as designs – they haven’t been tested. This would be a huge financial gamble by the tax-payer. And that’s just one of the drawbacks. For a few more, see //independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/seven-reasons-why-small-modular-nuclear-reactors-are-a-bad-idea-for-australia,13010

Angus Taylor, Australia’s Minister for Coal and Nuclear, wants to launch Inquiry into nuclear power

August 5, 2019

Taylor presses nuclear button, as energy wars enter dangerous new phase, Giles Parkinson 5 August 2019  https://reneweconomy.com.au/taylor-presses-nuclear-button-as-energy-wars-enter-dangerous-new-phase-47854/

Australia’s energy minister Angus Taylor has campaigned against renewables since before he entered parliament in 2013, appearing at anti-wind events organised by an anonymous and unpleasant website, and vowing on many occasions to scrap the renewable energy target.

He has been powerless to stop the build out of wind and solar, although he has complained about it often enough. But now Taylor and the Coalition government have taken their war against wind and solar to its next inevitable phase: They’ve pressed the nuclear button.

Taylor revealed late Friday that he had asked the Environment and Energy Standing Committee to launch a new inquiry into nuclear energy, including its costs and issues of waste etc. They’ve got four months to produce a report.

Taylor insists that there is no intention to repeal the laws that outlaw nuclear energy in Australia. But that beggars the question. Why have the inquiry in the first place?

The answer is simple. As Taylor revealed in an interview on ABC’s AM program, he simply doesn’t accept that renewables can power the electricity grid. A view that is loudly shared by many of his Coalition colleagues, the Murdoch media, and of course the coal industry.

The timing of the announcement is interesting. It comes just a couple of days after the end of the parliamentary sitting week (they won’t be back again until September) and just as the country’s far-right conservatives got ready to gather at the Australian Conservative Political Action Conference.

Tellingly, this is the first policy or initiative that Taylor has announced since the shock re-election of the coalition government in May, and comes after a major push by the far right ideologues of this conservative government to reconsider the ban on nuclear.

And as we have noted before, the same Coalition MPs that have been pushing for nuclear are the very same Coalition MPs pushing for new coal generation, and the very same Coalition MPs who reject the science of climate change, or make a mockery of the urgings of young people that they should take it seriously.

This is no co-incidence. This is not about carbon emissions, and it is certainly not about cheap energy. The common enemy of these people is wind and solar, and the shift from a centralised system based around “baseload” fossil fuel generators to a renewable system that is largely decentlralised (and democratised), and based around renewables, storage and demand management.

Australia is one of those regions – like Germany and California – that is at the forefront of this transition, and the fossil fuel industry view is that it cannot be allowed to succeed.

So it is no coincidence that the biggest industry supporter of nuclear is the coal lobby itself, in the guise of the Minerals Council of Australia, which is also pushing for new coal generators and urging the government to do as little as possible on climate.

The MCA is cosy with the Coalition – its former CEO and deputy CEOs are now key advisors in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office, and its chair is the former Coalition minister Helen Coonan. Its current CEO, Tania Constable, was appointed by the Coalition government to the board of the ABC, over-riding independent recommendations.

A new dimension is also added.

One of the noisiest opponents of renewable energy technologies is Trevor St Baker, pushing for new coal generators and whose Vales Point coal generator in NSW – currently in the queue to get federal government funding to remain open beyond its schedule closure date – is also the founder of a company SMR Nuclear that looking at new “modular” nuclear technologies that Taylor suggests could be a focus of this inquiry.

Like St Baker, the likes of Constable argue that only nuclear is able to deliver 24/7 emissions free power. They insist it is “cheap”, but that is nonsense.

The International Energy Agency desperately wants nuclear to succeed, but it concedes that costs have surged, as this graph (above) from a recent report illustrates. While the cost of solar has fallen 95 per cent over the past decade, and the cost of battery storage by some 70 per cent, the cost of nuclear has more than trebled upwards.

Even re-fitting existing stations was considered more expensive than wind and solar, although as BloombergNEF founder and now commentator Michael Liebreich has pointed out, the costs might be close enough to convince some countries to extend their life.

But there is no economic case for new nuclear. Liebreich says. Cost blowouts are occurring in the UK with Hinckley, and in France and in Finland with their versions of the latest technology, as it is in China (which has begun no new projects in the last three years), and in the US.

This graph[on original] from Le Monde in France illustrates how costs have surged in its next generation technology at its flagship project in Flamanville. It was begun in 20017 with promises it would be finished in 2012 at a cost of €3.5 billion.The latest delay and cost blowout have pushed the assumed finish date to 2022 and the new estimate of costs to €11.5 billion.

As France’s own National Infrastructure Commission said last year, a focus on renewables ‘looks like a safer bet than constructing multiple new nuclear plants’”.

Into this debate recently landed Industry Super Australia, the union fund research body with a report that is quite possibly one of the most inept analyses of the energy industry that has been produced in Australia. And that says something because it has had strong competition. The ISA, and the ISF that oversees it, should be embarrassed that it is published in its name.

To address the issue of costs, the ISA report produces a completely nonsensical “capital cost” assumption that confuses output with capacity factors, multiplies it by the cost of solar plants built more than 5 years ago.

It delivers a figure of $16 billion per gigawatt for the cost of solar. It is not a rough “back of the envelope” calculation as the authors try to claim, it is complete and utter garbage.

Among its other laughable claims are that Australia would need “one hundred” Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro schemes, or 72,000 Tesla big batteries were it to go 100 per cent renewables.

It’s a preposterous number that completely misunderstands the workings of the energy system, and the role of storage technologies, and fails to appreciate that if we do electrify everything, then we will be using less energy, not more.

Apart from now being expensive and polluting, burning fossil fuels is hugely inefficient – most of it disappears as heat, be it in a coal fired power station or in the internal combustion engine of a car – and it is two or three times more wasteful than electric motors and batteries.

But the authors of this report seek to mislead, either deliberately or through their ignorance. They make the patently false claim that fossil fuel plants “do not need back up.” Try running that past anyone who actually operates an electricity  grid, and has to deal with large plants that need regular maintenance or which may trip for any number of reasons.

The study is so poorly researched it even claims that the Invanpah solar tower facility in California does not need back-up.

If the authors bothered to spend two minutes researching that project, rather than relying on the blogs of nuclear fantasists, they would have discovered that it has no storage, and needs gas plants to help fire it up in the morning. Yes, it was costly, but it turned out to be such a bad idea that no plant like it has or will be built again. All new solar towers do and will have storage.

But the authors’ minds were set. They even dismiss the reaction to the disasters at Chernobyl, Fukushima and Three Mile Island to “behavioural bias” and compares the lot of the nuclear industry with that of a baseball pitcher in 1930s, Chad Bradford, who had an unusual throwing action.

  1. “They just judged him on the way he looked. So they demoted him to the minor leagues for a time,” they plead.
  2. For heavens sake, nuclear is not judged by the way it looks, or its throwing action, but for its costs. And the CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator – like the IEA – have made it clear that nuclear – like new coal – costs a multiple more than the cheapest alternatives, wind and solar backed by dispatchable capacity, be that pumped hydro, batteries, or demand management.

You won’t see baseload mentioned in AEMO’s Integrated System Plan, the 20-year blueprint for the future. Neither will you see it championed by the grid operators in the UK, or China. The world has moved on.

AEMO says Australia has the technology and know-how to move to 100 per cent renewables, although they would differ about the time frame from the most enthusiastic renewables supporters.

The problem is that like the ISA report, the nuclear boosters in the Coalition are prone to accept garbage as gospel.

The energy industry has largely dismissed nuclear as an option in Australia, knowing that it is absurdly expensive, and that if it were built in Australia it would take so long – possibly two decades at the very least – that the country would be powered almost exclusively by much cheap wind and solar and dispatchable storage by that time (if allowed to).

But Ted O’Brien, the chair of the committee reviewing the nuclear issue (it is stacked with four out of seven members from the Coalition) has already made up his mind.

Like his Coalition colleague Craig Kelly, lampooned in the cartoon above, he’s long been a big fan of nuclear – and given his analysis of Labor’s energy policy – he said it would be a tax on Tim Tams – he might have been about as thorough in his assessment of nuclear as Homer Simpson.

Don’t laugh.These people really are that stupid. They are not interested in the advice of experts – be it on climate science, energy technologies,  or electric vehicles. But one thing they can’t admit is that the Greens – and now the rest of the energy industry – are right about wind and solar, and the focus on “dispatchable” power rather than “base-load”.

If Australia can demonstrate that a modern economy can be run on a predominantly renewables grid, it’s all over for the fossil fuel industry across the world. So expect this push to have some powerful friends, and not just in the media industry, and not just in Australia.

Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of Renew Economy, and is also the founder of One Step Off The Grid and founder/editor of The Driven. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.

Australia’s ban on nuclear power is reaffirmed by the Senate

July 30, 2019

This motion was moved by Senator Hanson-Young and passed by the Senate, 29 July 19

Australia will keep its ban on nuclear power, says Environment Minister Sussan Ley

July 29, 2019

Environment Minister Sussan Ley refuses to consider an amendment to nuclear power ban in Australia The West Australian, 29 July 2019

Environment Minister Sussan Ley has quashed a push to lift the moratorium on nuclear power, saying she will not consider the ban as part of an upcoming review of Australia’s environmental protection legislation.

Speaking to The West Australian, Ms Ley gave the Federal Government’s strongest comment yet on the issue, indicating the settings would remain the same on nuclear power and a moratorium would not be lifted.

“I will not be looking to change the moratorium on nuclear power as part of that review,” Ms Ley said.

Ms Ley also said she would not be reviewing the decision by her predecessor — West Australian Melissa Price who was dumped from Cabinet — to approve the Yeelirrie uranium mine 500km north of Kalgoorlie a day before the May 18 Federal election.

“I don’t propose to review decisions that were already made before I became minister,” Ms Ley said, despite advice the mine could lead to the extinction of up to 12 native species.

As part of her portfolio, Ms Ley will have carriage over the 10-year review of the Environment Protection and Bio-diversity Conservation Act, which needs to begin by October.

The Act recognises the protection of the environment from nuclear actions as a matter of national environmental significance and specifically prohibits nuclear power generation in Australia.

A group of Coalition MPs, including Craig Kelly, James McGrath and Keith Pitt, want the Act to be amended to allow nuclear power generation to be permitted in Australia as a way to supply reliable, low-emissions base load power.

The move is backed by the Minerals Council of Australia and industry with Prime Minister Scott Morrison handed a draft terms of reference into a nuclear power inquiry last month. Ms Ley’s stance also comes as Labor tries to wedge the Government on power prices.

Shadow energy minister Mark Butler will today say average wholesale energy prices in the States connected to the National Energy Market — of which WA is not a participant — have risen 158 per cent since 2015.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan said it “makes sense” to see if nuclear power was a worthwhile option in the current environment but that he was not convinced it would be good for Australians struggling with higher power prices.

“It may not meet our present needs given we have a desperate need to reduce power prices and nuclear power is on the more expensive end of the scale,” he said.

Former deputy prime minister and Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce, who wants an inquiry into nuclear power, said last night he believed it was the only way to achieve zero emissions power.

“If this absurd zeitgeist believes that Australia singlehandedly contains the temperature of the globe by reason of them using coal fired power – as much as I disagree with that based on science – I’ll take the next alternative for baseload power which is nuclear power,” he said.

“Although we send uranium all around the world for zero-emissions power, there is an exceptional paranoia about it in Australian politics,” he said.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor told Question Time last week the government had an “open mind” on nuclear power generation but that there was no current plan to lift the moratorium.

“We always approach these things with an open mind, but we do not have … a plan to change the moratorium,” he said.

Opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler said nuclear power would not bring price relief for Australians.

“Based on the advice of industry and experts, it is clear nuclear power is not a viable option for Australia… The economics do not stack up and it would just mean higher power bills,” he said.

Nuclear power generation in Australia was pushed by John Howard while Prime Minister, with the Coalition running on a pro-nuclear platform at the 2007 election.

In 2006 former Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski chaired a Commonwealth government inquiry into nuclear power which concluded Australia was well placed to consider adding nuclear to its energy mix.

An energy Green Paper by the Coalition government in 2014 suggested nuclear energy was a “serious consideration for future low emissions energy”.

Australia is home to a third of the world’s uranium deposits and is the third largest producer behind Kazakstan and Canada.

Uranium accounts for around a quarter of Australian energy exports.

“Chernobyl” is scary. The costs of nuclear power are even more scary

June 23, 2019

What’s more chilling: watching Chernobyl or cogitating on the cost of going nuclear? Michael West Investigative Journalism Jun 20, 2019,  The sudden push by the Murdoch media and Coalition right-wingers to overturn Australia’s nuclear power ban ignores the chilling economic cost —  huge public subsidies, storing radioactive waste for thousands of years, the heavy costs of decommissioning and, potentially, radiation-related health costs. Veteran nuclear writer Noel Wauchope reports on the popular TV series, Chernobyl, and the economics of nuclear power.

THE frightening TV miniseries “Chernobyl” could put a few Australians off the idea of nuclear power but nuclear economics might turn out to be the bigger scare.

It is bad news for the Minerals Council of Australia and nuclear lobbyists, that Chernobyl has now arrived on some Australian TV screens, but pro-nuclear advocates are continuing to push their campaign anyway.

The miniseries “Chernobyl” has just finished in Europe and USA, outdoing “Game of Thrones” in popularity. HBO’s Chernobyl topped film and TV database IMDB’s list of the greatest 250 TV shows of all time.  The first episode was screened on 12 June, 2019 in Australia, on Foxtel.

The series has had a big impact. It was highly praised by numerous reviewers but criticised by pro-nuclear lobbyists, and infuriated some Russian politicians. ………

The Coalition’s renewed push for nuclear power

In March this year, 11 Coalition MPs (Andrew Broad, James Paterson, Tony Pasin, Tim Wilson, Chris Back, Craig Kelly, Eric Abetz, Andrew Hastie, Warren Entsch, Bridget McKenzie and Rowan Ramsey) urged then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to put nuclear power on the table as an electricity source for Australia. That call is now repeated by  Queensland and Coalition MPs calling for an inquiry into the feasibility of nuclear power in Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he is open to considering nuclear power if it can stand on its own two feet. Energy Minister Angus Taylor told The Guardianon 12 June 2019 he wouldn’t rule out revising Australia’s nuclear ban “when there is a very clear business case which shows the economics of this can work”. Two days later, Environment Minister Sussan Ley also told TheGuardian she was open to the review considering a removal of the ban.

But — are the economics of nuclear power viable for Australia?

When even Australia’s former top nuclear promoter has doubts, it doesn’t look promising……….

How viable is nuclear power elsewhere?

Nuclear economics in America is really a tale of woe. You hardly know where to start, in trying to assess how much this industry is costing communities and tax-payers. There are the attempts to save the nuclear industry via subsidies. There are the continuing and ever-increasing costs of radioactive wastes.  There are the compensation payments to workers with radiation-caused illnesses, $15.5 billion and counting, and the legal battles over where to put the wastes. Needless to say, really, America is not initiating any new nuclear “big build”. The much touted “Small Modular Nuclear Reactors” are turning out to have no market and little prospect of being economically viable……

The UK nuclear industry is in the doldrums with repeated postponement of new projects – Hinkley Point C, Wylfa Newydd, Moorside, Sizewell C, Oldbury B and Bradwell B……The 2018 forecast for future clean-up of Britain’s aging 17 nuclear power stations has blown out to £121 billion which has had to be spread across the next 120 years……

France’s Flamanville nuclear project is taking years, remains bogged down with costly problems. Electricite de France (EDF)  has financial woes but hopes to save itself by switching from nuclear to renewables. France’s former nuclear giant AREVA went bankrupt and has changed its name to Orano and Framatome — and French tax-payers are still caught up in Areva/Orano costly legal corruption scandals.

Canada is up for increasing costs for managing its nuclear wastes. Interestingly, Canada abandoned its nuclear project for producing medical radioisotopes and now leads in non nuclear production of these isotopes.

India had grand plans for nuclear power, but has cut these back, and recently cancelled 57 reactors. It continues to have problems and many outages, at its huge Kudankulam nuclear station. ….

Russia keeps offering “generous” funding to the buyer countries. But will those countries end up with big debts? Reuters reports that in China“No new approvals have been granted for the past three years, amid spiralling costs” ………. https://www.michaelwest.com.au/whats-more-chilling-watching-chernobyl-or-cogitating-the-cost-of-going-nuclear/