Thursday, 17 May 2007

Wood fires up nuclear industry

As reported in the Herald Sun (photo courtesy of):

FREED Iraqi hostage Douglas Wood would happily live next-door to a nuclear power plant, and wants a job helping to develop an Australian nuclear energy industry.

But the Melbourne-based engineer, who was a project manager building nuclear plants in the US, said Australia's engineers and industrial suppliers would be under-qualified to build a local plant.

I fully agree with this conclusion, as I've said here. Wood continues...

But a nuclear industry would have to go offshore for suppliers and engineers with appropriate skill levels.

He'd happily take a job in any emerging industry, however. "Sign me up!" Mr Wood said.

The PM has expressed a hope that Australia will be producing nuclear energy by 2020 but Mr Wood said at least four years would be needed before building could commence, as specialist engineers would have to be trained.

Refusing to name potential sites, he said a coastal location would be best. "It would be logical to use the ocean (as a water source for cooling)."

Nothing quite like the words of someone with practical experience.

So many times in recent months have I read or listened to Australian nuclear industry advocates promote domestic scientific achievements in defence of nuclear energy technology deployment. But I believe this is an erroneous link as the endeavour is principally engineering related (e.g. the application of existing technology to a schedule and budget, where science is more about discovery and the quest to conquer knowledge). And one need not look far to find that nuclear engineering resources around the world are scarce - particularly those under say about 45 years old.

Those who wish to advocate domestic nuclear energy should consider this among other issues.

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