Thursday, 2 October 2008

Macfarlane to push for nuclear

Coalition resources minister Ian Macfarlane will push the opposition to advocate the use of nuclear power to help Australia achieve our emission reduction goals while maintaining a viable economy.

Macfarlane said the notion to proceed with an over reliance on the uncertain development of clean-coal without nuclear power was 'high risk and almost reckless'.

He also cited the significant time lag between an operable emissions trading scheme and even the optimistic projected schedule for clean-coal implementation. Deploying nuclear power facilities sooner rather than later could help reconcile the inconsistencies.

He expects to have a number of allies in the cause. Julie Bishop, should be an obvious supporter.

But to have a real chance, nuclear power must have bipartisan support. Despite considerable calls for nuclear from Australia's political left, those at the top are not bending to the pressure [at least not overtly].


  1. I think there are back room discussions underway that need some major public opinion shift to crystallize. For example the council in Whyalla SA (a prime site for a commercial reactor) have been told to pull their heads in by the Premier. Triggering events may be the abject failure of a wonder technology such as geothermal, Asian coal shortages or a water supply crisis. All on the cards in the next 12 months.

  2. G'day,

    What do you think of small nukes such as Hyperion?

    I would think they would be ideal for Australia as:

    1)They are a small reactor, the only type we have experiance with.

    2) Can be used by small remote communities.

    4) The RAN would love them.



  3. Hyperion is being marketed primarily as a heat source. To get electricity out of them will require extensive add-ons, such as steam-turbine power plants.

    Having said that, yeah, they're cool, providing they end up working as advertised. Remember the first unit wont be rolling out the factory door and onto the semi-trailor for several years yet, so we'll just have to wait and see. I suspect that the first wave of commercial power reactors in Australia will probably be CANDUs, or something similar.

  4. I think the smaller stations are an exciting area of technology development with a potential role to play. They have unique challenges to overcome [inverse of economy of scale, etc.] and are in the very early days of the relevant design finalisation and licensing process. Still I look forward to the day when they serve an energy niche all their own.

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