Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Sometimes it’s like drinking from a fire hose…

Whether Peter Beattie in Queensland, Alan Carpenter in Western Australia or Peter Garrett in Canberra… they all seem to be sending the same message…

The Task Group on Emissions Trading report is flawed…

Howard’s continued support for nuclear is stuffed…

And ‘modern’ [mystical] technologies will allow Australia to achieve a 60% reduction in greenhouse gasses with Labor at the helm.

Nothing specific though. Yes there are the common warm-fuzzy words we all know and love – renewables, wind, solar, geothermal etc., but nothing specific; no plans, no siting of examples of stations or capacity in other locations anywhere on the planet; no demonstration of such technologies on an industrial level. Are they serious? Who’s supposed to believe this?

Without nuclear on the table, any substantial goal for emissions reductions are no more than pipedreams.

Sure there’s gas – better than coal, but still not an emissions darling, and the long term price projections, I believe, are anything but stable. Reading the bottom of this We Support Lee post, along with this quote from the International Energy Outlook pg. 46:

Although Australia has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, several of the government’s environmental policies have been put in place to help stimulate increases in natural gas use for electric power generation and to moderate growth in the use of coal, of which Australia has large reserves.
And we can see why Mr. Carpenter is so down on nuclear. The sale of all his State’s gas, will earn them big-bucks – I imagine he is reminded of this frequently.

Also Dr. Ziggy Switkowski’s recent remarks (reported in no less than 402 linked news articles!) are being trumpeted as something significant… an admission of sorts(??). I guess those who are against nuclear are much more willing to defer to his expertise when he is saying something they can use to support their arguments (pathetic). Basically he is saying that the path to nuclear power in Australia will be a fairly long one. On that I agree, at least as I’ve said here and here, there is a hell of a lot of work to do in order to even think about constructing a plant. But the three mines policy is finally dead and Australia is seriously considering a long term used fuel store and becoming more involved in the nuclear Fuel Cycle. So from a 'consider what they do as opposed to what they say' point of view – there is reason to be optimistic.

Not being one to feel the need (or, for that matter, justification) to force anything on anyone, I advocate a patient but steady approach for those in support of nuclear power in Australia. Despite all the headline-grabbing, election year crap being tossed out at the moment – in particular by the same old group of anti-nuclear activists we always see muddying the technical waters – I see shortcomings on both sides.

To me, the Liberals are overly sensitive to the economy, but in general I like the idea of looking forward and progressing via a well thought, measured process. However, I think their targets need to be a bit more in line with Labor. Speaking of which, Labor’s unjustified, fear-driven dismissal of nuclear with no credible alternative technology (other than the fantasies that exist only on report pages from the deep dark world of academic theory) is a type of wishful thinking that will draw out and ultimately kill any hopes of achieving anything close to their stated targets.

We have the resources and capability to do so much better than this, but for nothing more than fear and ignorance – we remain, for the moment, a humiliating stain on the world.

1 comment:

  1. Carpenter in WA may like natural gas for selfish economic reasons, but Peter Beattie from Queensland has specifically stated that he is opposed to nuclear power because it would reduce the market for the coal that is mined in his home state.

    I do not worry much about the green opposition to nuclear power - what concerns me is the opposition from the much more pragmatic and powerful fossil fuel industry.