Friday, 27 June 2008

Rudd stands his ground on nuclear power 'capital N - O'

As reported by the ABC.

Kevin Rudd is standing his ground. Not surprising at all. This is one of his core election issues. To back-flip on this item so soon is unthinkable.

But some food for thought:

First, Rudd has begun talking about nuclear in [slightly] more detail than he has in the months since the election. I doubt very much that this is what he or his team wanted, but his hand may have been forced by the Howes-Carr position. He will not be able to speak about nuclear's role [or non-role] for very long without getting into some technical justification and details. When this happens, I do not believe even 120 hour work weeks will be able to defeat rudimentary physics. The science, available technologies and required development do not support Rudd's election promises. He is in a tough spot.

Next, in the report, Rudd says,

"The precise definition of the scope of the [emissions trading] scheme - that'll become clear during the green paper, white paper process," he said.

"We're proceeding on this policy development process, calmly, coolly methodically, responsibly and that's why we've been out there in the last six months consulting industry."
I am perplexed at how technologies can be selected [or ruled out] even before a review is completed. Also, how could any credible non-nuclear emissions reduction plan be developed and promoted during the election campaign process if the consultation process only began six months ago? It may be quite possible that a 'popular' promise has been made to win an election and now the technologies, techniques and timelines to achieve it must be identified and defined.

An increasing number of Australians are coming to believe that not only will this effort prove impossible, but that there are some serious downsides.

Finally, Rudd - sounding much like George Bush a few years ago - is pushing clean coal.

Mr Rudd has also maintained that the coal industry must remain part of a long-term solution and that clean coal technologies must be further developed, but he is optimistic about its future.
Clean coal will be needed and much investment is warranted to develop the technology ASAP. But it can't do the job alone and the technology will not be capable of significantly impacting emissions anytime soon - certainly not by 2020.

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