Australia should go nuclear if it is serious about carbon reduction

Robert Gottliebsen in Business Spectator:

21st century nuclear plant

While much of the rest of the world embraces nuclear technology as part of a mix of measures to reduce carbon emissions, Australia stands virtually alone among the majors in turning its back on the nuclear options while at the same time supplying most of the other nations with uranium.

But I don’t think Penny Wong will need to be reminded by the Chinese of Australia’s odd position because, as I will explain below, there is a dramatic community change taking place.

I am indebted to The Australians contributing editor Peter Van Onselen for explaining what actually happened at the Bali carbon conference and reminding me that 19 of the G20 countries have nuclear power in their energy mix or are planning the construction of reactors. There is only one G20 country that turns its back on the nuclear option – Australia.

I have been saying this for more than 18 months now that if Australia is serious about carbon than nuclear is the way to go. With Australian’s only ready to pay about $10 a month more on energy and no other base load solution comes near nuclear right now this is the way to go.

I think the Australian public will change their mind in the next couple of years.


3 thoughts on “Australia should go nuclear if it is serious about carbon reduction

  1. We are in the climate change mess because we ignored externalities: we knew fossil fuel energy had negative impacts but because they were difficult to measure, cost and allocate, we ignored them. Nuclear energy relies on us repeating the same mistake: externalising the costs and risks (accidents, safety, waste treatment and remediation) because they are too hard to measure. Private developers and funders won’t back nuclear power without indemnities from the State because they recognise these risks cannot be funded. That’s exactly why the State should also not fund these risks.
    Nuclear power repeats the same mistakes that got us into this mess – but with much more serious and long term risks.

    • Andrew:

      You are right. Externalities need to be costed and internalized for us to get a sense of the problem and climate change is the classic situation. I agree that there are risks associated with Nuclear energy. However, considering the past experience in nuclear plants, especially the record of countries like France we need to make a decision about this if we are serious about climate change.

      We need to be realistic and compare the alternatives. There is no other clean base load power that can provide energy at a price where people are ready to pay. In 20 years or 30 years solar and others may be there but right now if Australia is serious we should be running our nuclear plants.

      And isn’t it hypocrisy that we sell Uranium to rest of the world but do not use it ourselves? If we believe in the dangers of nuclear plants we should not be selling uranium too!

  2. For Australia must go Nuclear to do otherwise would be madness as we have the biggest reserves of uranium in the world, The greens are against coal and nuclear power but do not have a solution on how to supply base loads.
    You can complain but unless you have a solution say nothing.

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