Sunday, August 29, 2010

Unclear About Nuclear ?

Should Australia "go" nuclear? It's a question that has split environmentalists and our pragmatic scientists for too long. It is an important question and needs to be answered NOW! The Greens have demonized nuclear power in favour of alternative electrical energy sources that won't be viable and sustainable for 40 years. All their talk of reducing carbon pollution has blinkered them to the most obvious continuous source of clean energy; it's got to be nuclear! Australia is being left behind in the world-wide rush to go nuclear.

France has 58 nuclear power plants dotted across its country-side producing 75% of its needs. Japan has 54 and Russia has 32 and building 11 more. China has 12 and building 23 more! And who's supplying them with the Uranium to fire up these plants, our vast deposits are. We are selling overseas when we could be using it for ourselves. It's ridiculous that our politicians don't have the vision and the guts to say to these Watermelons in our midst, "bugger off" we need these facilities. Actually the country could use 6 to start with. Picture this: Six plants built in a 10 kilometre circle in the centre of Australia with power lines going each to Darwin, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Wouldn't that be a sight?

Look people, if little Belgium with 7 plants, Spain with 8, Sweden with 10 and 17 across the German country-side (see photo) can see no threat to themselves why can't we? What you need are the facts so we can realistically make the right decision to curb pollution, use less fossil fuels and not sacrifice jobs or our lifestyle. Here's some "eye-openers" for you.

Safety first: For one thing a reactor is not a bomb, they can't blow up. Nuclear reactors are over-designed to provide fool-proof control while withstanding earthquakes, airplane crashes and missile strikes among other disasters. France has a state-of-the-art reactor for sale, the Areva's EPR, however our country's requirements could easily be met with the less expensive South Korean Kepco's model APR1400.

Practicality: To generate the same amount of energy (with unreliable wind) as an average-sized nuclear plant, you would need 435 square kilometres filled with wind turbines. By contrast, a nuclear facility fits on less than 1.5 kilometer space. A half-kilo of plutonium can produce as much energy as the Melbourne Cricket Ground full of coal. And for a given amount of energy produced, coal waste has more radioactive matter than nuclear waste.

Waste Safety: Even these facts fail to capture the major environmental advantages of nuclear power over coal-fired power. Why? Because the solid and gaseous emissions from coal burning are generated in such a hugh quantity that they are are hard to contain. They can only be spewed in the atmosphere and dumped into shallow landfills. Nuclear waste on the other hand is so minuscule in comparison that it can be completely isolated from the environment at a very modest cost, even though it has been greatly inflated by the hysteria from the anti-nuclear nut-cases. These commies-in-greens-clothing have hoodwinked the public into believing that waste disposal is an "unsolved" problem. Technology exists to convert the small amount of nuclear waste that can't be re-burned in the reactor into a solid, water-proof glass form, it is then encased in stain-steel-lined concrete containers and put thousands of feet underground. Remember, coal waste contains more overall radioactivity and is not contained at all in our landfills.

The Way I See It....without economical electric power, we will rapidly degenerate into a third-world nation and lifespans will drop considerably. Even now our energy bills are higher, even before an Emissions Trading "farce" gets started. The point is not that coal-fired power is bad, but rather that nuclear power is thousands of times cleaner and safer. And the fact that so many so-called "environmentalists" vociferously oppose nuclear power---even while they agitate for draconian measures to "stop global warming"--should tell you something about them: they are either ignorant or they have ulterior ideological motives or both. It's time to stand up and demand cleaner, cheaper and safer energy from our politicians!

1 comment:

  1. NO!
    Australia should not go Nuclear!

    Something that needs to be put into stainless steel container and put thousands of feet underground is not safe. It is very (un)sustainable to have nuclear waste sit around for 700 million years in storage waiting for it to be half-safe. The chance of human error times the life span of nuclear waste means a certain major accident. An industry requiring an International Nuclear Event Scale can not be labeled safe.

    But people don't know nor care what flavour electricity comes out of their power points. They care about how much it costs. The greenies that want renewable power and the pro nuclear crowd are the same, you both exaggerate and bend stats and figures to suit your agendas, you both can't really listen to each others points of view and especially the general citizen, you all spend so much time lobbying politicians and at the end of the day, I am guessing like most of us just want a safe/clean/healthy society and environment.

    Yes, other countries are doing it but that doesn't make it good or necessary. This then leaves me two reasons why nuclear keeps being considered. Primarily it is a mechanism for those that have wealth and ownership of resources to exploit the general society. The other main reason is that engineers/scientist get carried away with the challenge - giga-watts, fusion, gen IV, wind power, solar concentrators, etc. Plus in the case of nuclear you can add the military mind set - bombs, giga-tons, etc. From social, ethical and safety standpoints nuclear should never even be considered but these concerns have never stopped anyone with the above mentioned reasons.

    Are you really clear why you want nuclear?