Referring to an article in the Telegraph of 02 June (p13), titled "Time for Debate About the Nuclear Option", John Barilaro states that there are 50 nuclear reactors under construction around the world, and 450 in operation in 31 countries, including the UK. What has happened here, why are we not converting energy from uranium into much needed power too?
Our world, including Australia, now needs more power than ever before, to run our energy hungry way of life, much of it precipitated by climate change. (Higher temperatures, lower temperatures, drought)
Yet at the same time we are faced with phasing out our main source of power, coal fired power stations, because of our very real concerns over global warming.
We all want ENERGY SECURITY and a SAFE CLIMATE, and at the same time we are faced with discontinuing the conversion of energy by combustion. (coal, CSG, oil,).
Although there are other sources of energy (solar, in various forms, wind, hydro, plant derived alcohols, geothermal, tidal, to name a few) only nuclear appears capable of converting enough energy into power to reliably and economically satisfy these two essential needs of our civilisation, once coal is phased out. (power without greenhouse gas emissions - presently coal provides most of our electric power)
Nuclear reactors could also provide enough heat for large scale desalination to provide water for agriculture, and at the same time produce electric power. This requires a lot of high intensity heat, and to get a handle on the power of uranium, it has been estimated that with efficient conversion processes in a breeder reactor, one kilogram of uranium can convert as much heat as 3000 tonnes of coal.
To quote the Union of Concerned Scientists in UK recently, "Nuclear's problems of waste, cost and safety are trivial compared to the threat of unmitigated global warming."
The present lack of planning in Australia appears to be leading to a less than reliable power situation, with escalating cost of power and unsightly wind turbines in many places. It is a bit like a modern day gold rush, with little planning and the only certainty is higher power prices. If we don't face our power problems shortly, we may endure some uncomfortable times in the near future.
Like John Barilaro, I think it is time to seriously consider the Nuclear Option.
Raymond McLaren, Moonbi
This writer is not a climate denier, but things have to be specific. Australia is considered to be in the high bracket of pollution, based on population. Compare this to the USA with only a slightly larger area but a population 14 times greater. With 14 times more motor vehicles, trucks, planes and coal fired power stations, but allowing with some nuclear power station could be only 13 times polluter but to go worldwide it could show Australia probably is polluting about 0.001 per cent of the total greenhouse gases worldwide.
Sure we have to do out part but we are actually suffering from the rest of the world.
Colin Macpherson, Tamworth