“The one problem with nuclear power is its advocates.”
Tristan Edis writes in the Climate Spectator:
As we approach the 12 month anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, it’s worth reflecting on the potential future role of nuclear power in this country. In spite of this disaster the Australian Government was brave enough to suggest nuclear power as a back-up plan in the Energy White Paper. While I’m very optimistic about renewables in combination with energy efficiency, I’m also keen on a back-up plan given the threat of global warming.
The kind of temperature changes expected as a result of global warming have occurred in the past due to natural causes. The problem is they involved very nasty things called mass extinctions.
That’s why I like anything that has a demonstrated track record of significantly reducing emissions. It’s why I like compact flourescent light bulbs, solar hot water, wind turbines and solar photovoltaic panels. Heck I even like pink batts. After all pink batts don’t spontaneously combust, they were put alight by highly inefficient, poorly installed halogen downlights.
All of these things definitely work, and I can see first-hand evidence of them delivering rather than promising to deliver.
It’s also why I like nuclear power. Nuclear power generated a little over 13 per cent of the world’s electricity in 2010. It has a horrible track record of meeting construction timetables and budgets, but it can definitely supply large quantities of electricity with low emissions. It has achieved this while resulting in significantly less deaths than coal use, a major plus in my book in spite of Fukushima. I worry that Japan and Germany, with their nuclear phase-outs, will instead revert to fossil-fuels rather than renewables, which is exactly what Japan is doing right now.
For a geologically and politically stable country like Australia, nuclear power could be a good option for us to reduce carbon emissions while meeting the essential need for large quantities of electricity.
The one problem with nuclear power is its advocates.