Sunday, 25 November 2007

Election 2007 - Rudd, good for nuclear in Australia?

Was it a mandate on the environment? On nuclear power in Australia?

Before you answer that, consider the following:

Now that the election is over and done. Labor has a formidable task – to demonstrate their energy related rhetoric prior to and during the campaign can be put into practice. Since nuclear is – ‘they’ say – too expensive, too risky and takes too long, can we expect that within a very few years, Australian emissions linked to climate change will noticeably plummet through some other technologies? I certainly ‘hope’ so – and furthermore I would like to ‘hope’ it can be done without nuclear, but I’m not so sure – when one examines the maths involved – we should pin our collective future on ‘hope’. Because in reality, as a nation, we can’t manage to stop building new CO2 belching plants, let alone shut down any existing ones.

Efficiency improvements, wind farms, solar, tidal, geothermal are great. I’ve always been in favour of them [with nuclear, not in lieu of] and believe they will have a significantly increasing role in the future of energy generation in Australia and elsewhere. This opinion is supported by expert organisations around the world.

But, because NO single country - not ONE mind you - on this diverse world of ours has demonstrated the ability of any technology other than hydro or nuclear to reliably displace significant fossil power generation, I believe we must keep nuclear on the table until we can demonstrate our ability to meet emission reduction targets in some other way. [By demonstrate, I mean something more than a theoretical analysis from the deep, dark depths of academia.]

Labor’s victory is, in a way, good for the development of Australian energy policy. There’s not much of the nation, states, etc. that Labor does not now control. The political alignment should be nearly ideal. There should be no barriers to fully implement the most green of green energy policies. I really do expect a full on effort to cut emissions, including efficiency improvements, renewables, etc. This will either be successful, or [and I expect the more likely] provide an opportunity for the nation to learn the realities associated with the costs and capabilities of available non-nuclear, solutions to Australia’s emissions related challenges.

Otherwise we will remain an embarrassment to the world.

UPDATE: A similar view from World Nuclear News

1 comment:

  1. It would be good if somebody in the pro-nuclear energy movement had a chance at some point to have a talk to Rudd, and put him on the spot regarding the scientific realities of nuclear energy as compared with other energy systems.

    He comes across as a clever guy, and they're always talking about knowledge, education and the clever country - maybe he just needs to be more informed about nuclear technology? Perhaps I'll write him a letter.

    Anyhow, I'd much rather see a Rudd government, where we still have some chance of seeing a fair look at nuclear in the future, than certain other parties holding the balance of power, where they would ban everything up to and including ionisation smoke detectors if they could get away with it.