We all know how much damage coal fired power stations are wreaking on the environment, and hip pocket, but is it too precious to burn? One local scientist certainly thinks so.
Highly respected engineer Raymond McLaren is calling on the federal government to convert coal fired power stations to CSG to provide power for the ten years it would take to build a series of nuclear plants to power Australia.
“Burning coal is causing a lot of greenhouse problems and contributing to global warming – that is just fact,” he said.
“But coal is also a cornucopia of complex molecules – it is extremely valuable on a molecular level, and we are just burning it for heat.
“Coal can be used to make diesel fuels, kerosine, bitumen, acrylics, chemicals, drugs – a whole range of things.
“If humanity lasts another 5 or 10,000 years we might need those molecules.”
The Andromeda Industries founder agreed there is a place for renewable energy, albeit on a smaller domestic level, believing that nuclear energy is the logical solution until thermonuclear fusion is mastered, which he predicts could happen within 30 years.
“The government is responsible for the provision of power, and that power should be provided at cost price to the public,” he said.
“It is very important, the reality of global warming is that people are going to need access to a lot of power.
“Australia has got a large proportion of the world’s uranium which could produce virtually unlimited power for over one hundred years with very minimal radioactive residue.”
While everyone is aware of incidents such as Chernobyl and Fukushima, Mr McLaren said that nuclear energy is much safer and more efficient than it was, while the Japanese reactor was “very poorly placed” in an area with a known tsunami risk.
He also points to the fact there are over 450 functioning nuclear power plants across 41 nations around the world, pointing particularly to France who are at the forefront of the technology, providing over 35 per cent of energy through reactors.