CHOICE membership

Nuclear power


Of course they are: :roll_eyes:


Well done :slight_smile:

You can never argue with alternative ‘facts’ as a means of education or even a means of persuasion. A segment of the community routinely dismisses science as well as unbiased economic modelling in their favour. It is always good to question, but only when using reality as the baseline.

Sometimes what data is relevant for reflecting reality is a legitimate discussion, but that often falls into facts versus alternative facts, although alternative facts are usually disproven by evidence, to everyone but their proponents.


Back in 1989 I was interested in the work of Fleischmann and Pons regarding their attempts at Cold Fusion . They claimed to have generated heat at room temperature in a Cold Fusion reactor . Unfortunately their results were unable to be replicated by other members of the scientific community so interest waned in their findings . Below is a link to what is happening re: Cold Fusion experimentation at the present time .


Soon after all the claims about 30 years ago, their results were proven to be a ‘deception’.


Power networks need bulk AC power. We use AC because it can be transformed to higher voltages for low loss transmission, 3 phase AC is used for motors because it has rotating magnetic fields. Tesla promoted AC over Edison DC networks and won. Batterys, PV cells must be converted to AC and are inefficient. Till renewables reach the efficiencies of AC generation, coal, hydro, nuclear, gas will do the job.


That was an interesting point. This is slightly dated from the UK, but worth perusing.. The ‘about’ can add or detract from the veracity of the data in anyone’s mind, but the site appears genuine with evidence based presentation.

The last bullet points state:

To power a 60 Watt incandescent light bulb for one year requires 200 to 300 Kg of good quality coal.

So at the end of 1 year, an inefficient solar array has, in comparison, burned zero fuels, but more efficient coal requires 300 Kg to be mined, burned, and has consequences for air pollution from beginning to end. I’ll ignore the costs of manufacturing, replacing and electronic waste from solar cells and inverters for the purpose of my post, but they are real.

Is efficiency the most important part of the ‘equation’? Or is sustainability? Or environmental impact? Or pure economics? Or what fraction is each worth for the best overall outcome?

It appears we each prioritise different things in the discussion.


Heaven forbid that Australians could aquire new technology and skills. Maybe we should just import our electricty from China?


Not even in jest @john.fletcher! A intellectually vacuous pollie could be reading this now and making a phone call! :smiley:

I can imagine the next wave of ‘tankers’ being huge floating batteries with the ‘mother of all jumper cables’ to transfer the power. The latter reflects our governmental grasp of technology more often than not.


Oh that has certainly been discussed, although as renewable energy exports from Australia to Japan. Storage in batteries and Hydrogen have been looked at.


We would need to secure a supply agreement with the uranium miners prior, lest we fall into the same paradox as current gas supply.


@phb Soon after all the claims about 30 years ago, their results were proven to be a ‘deception’.

That was basically what the link was about . Bad science and companies investing in the deception hopefully looking for a huge payday that would never take place .


I left Europe with my family and some friends of mine did the same after Chernobyl. We were supposed to keep the children from playing in the open (playgrounds, forest, meadows …). We could not drink the milk or by fresh produce. Canned food was recommended. One accident is enough to eliminate all perceived benefits (which are mainly benefits for the industry) and contaminate an area for tens of thousands of years. The cost of decommisioning a plant, once the concrete gets too brittle from the radiation, are staggering and usually paid by the tax payer. The decommisiuoning takes years! Nuclear power like nuclear weapons are just too dangerous to play with. Naturally there is a lot of money to be made from building a plant to create a strong lobby for nuclear power, and naturally we will be assured that the plant will be build to highest safety standards. But even a 0.5% risk is too much if the risk is so devastating. SO PLEASE, PLEASE, LET’S NOT GO THERE! NO EXAMINATION BY CHOICE REQUIRED.


The following is from the foreword to the book We almost lost Detroit:
Nuclear power is an unforgiving technology. It allows no room for error. Perfection must be achieved if accidents that affect the general public are to be prevented.
The title of the book pretty much says it all.


If you look at the linked article, baseload is just the minimum amount of energy required, usually in the wee hours of the night.

Australia has an excess of baseload power already.

Left off the list of nuclear plant accidents by @Wend was the Windscale fire of 10 October 1957,

I was in the UK when the Chernobyl accident happened in 1986. The UK Government chose to keep the contamination caused by the accident quiet, telling everyone via the news media that there was no danger to anyone from anything. At the same time, news coming out of Europe was don’t go outside if it wasn’t urgent, if you do, wear protective clothing, etc. Also, don’t eat anything grown outside, don’t drink the water from outside, etc.

It turned out that the UK Government was suffering from extreme sensitivity caused by the Sellafield accident almost 30 years before, and didn’t want to alarm the population with another accident causing contamination and possibly cancers. Ignorance is bliss!

60 years down the track Windscale is still a cause for concern.

One reason not to consider nuclear here is that there is nowhere to store the waste. ANSTO is full with it’s own and cannot store any more in ‘temporary’ storage:

Despite several attempts, no-one in Australia seems to want nuclear storage ‘in their backyard’, and overseas governments are increasingly returning nuclear waste to the user, including France back to Australia, so in the foreseeable future there is nowhere to permanently store ANSTO’s existing nuclear waste held in ‘temporary storage’ at Lucas Heights. Of course, they are still and will produce more.

Until the permanent storage problem is solved, there is no point considering building a facility that will generate even more nuclear waste with nowhere safe to go.


I think the big problem in terms of “baseload” is that almost all places that use electricity don’t gracefully scale down their usage when power is scarce


I’d have to say that based on what I’ve learned from this Choice forum, the consumer benefits (financial & sociological), do not stack up for nuclear power generation.


[quote=“Brohill, post:45, topic:14728”]
… Till renewables reach the efficiencies of AC generation, …
[/quote]While AC has its advantages, efficiency isn’t among them. The Basslink cable between Tasmania and the mainland is DC for good reasons. The relative merits are discussed here. Suffice it to say that DC has fewer limitations.


[quote=“meltam6554, post:54, topic:14728”]
Australia has an excess of baseload power already.
[/quote]It has been said that Australia has a peak load problem, not a baseload problem.


Sorry, but there are two obvious issues here (aside from the disturbing idea that one should just ignore protesters - or worse - if one does not share their beliefs).

Firstly, storage. Cheaply, yes. Safely, maybe. Cheaply and safely for the period over which it remains dangerous? NO. Spent fuel rod storage is an enormous problem for countries that have used nuclear power. How do you guarantee the security of storage for a substance that has a half-life of over 150,000 years? Waste is the problem with nuclear, and it is a problem that every country that uses nuclear energy is still struggling to deal with. When you consider the TCO for a nuclear plant, don’t forget that we still have no idea how to build anything that’ll last for that length of time - given that civilisation is younger than this half-life. The pyramids are marvels of human engineering - and are less than 10,000 years old. (We are just talking about the half-life - they will still be half as radioactive after that period as they are today, and still be extremely hazardous to human health.)

There have been suggestions that we should shoot the spent fuel into the Sun - just imagine the consequences if that rocket happened to explode on its way out of the atmosphere, as so many have before it.

The other issue relates to the statement that we have radioactive substances in hospitals and health facilities across Australia. Yes, this is true… but be very glad that radioactivity is not all the same. There is variation in half-life, and there is variation in the actual radioactivity, hence one can be safely scanned when passing through an airport metal detector and the detector is not going to explode taking the city with it. Storage of medical radioactive materials is a totally different (and much more soluble) problem than storage of radioactive waste from power generation. If I recall correctly, most of the stuff that Lucas Heights produces has to be used within days, because it has very short half-life - this is clearly not the same as what you end up after a power facility has finished with a fuel rod.

Thank you. That’s very interesting - and doesn’t even look at most of the externalities associated with dinosaur batteries.

In some places yes, in others no - although most of the world is now AC. That said, the discussion continues.

Except that renewables are already there, while your proposed alternatives cannot, will not, and do not. Coal is simply too dirty, and is a finite resource. Hydro, sure - as part of a mix. Nuclear - see above. Gas, see coal.

Australia was a world leader in solar technology until a 2013 decision that government should not waste ‘scarce resources’ on science. Unfortunately, while it is easy to break things it is a lot harder to put them back together; this country did have a renewables industry, in the same way as it once had a car manufacturing industry - but rebuilding it would take decades.

Thank you @anurago1 and @meltam for your personal recollections of nuclear ‘incidents’. The sharing of your memories adds enormously to this kind of discussion.


Unforgivable ignorant government decisions long predated 2013. One just need follow the fortunes of CSIRO under the conservative regimes. CSIRO went from a world leading scientific research and development organisation that always far out punched its size and funding to be among the most respected in the world, to something that was funded to a minimum survival level as political necessity and just gets by under direction of the politicians of the moment.