Nuclear power assumes that the Earth is stable, and so are other nations. Renewable energy plants are the future. Nuclear is not meant to be. We would have everything to risk, and little to gain. We have plenty of potential for renewable energy sources in
Beyond Zero Emissions, a NGO in Melbourne , already have a renewable energy plan for Australia to be 100% renewable by 10 years time. It would cost about $8 a week. Many experts have given their time pro-bono, however, it has been ignored by our government. All the technology is existing. However, our leaders would rather protect their political sponsors, and the "big end" of town. The public are just the masses, to be fed cake and pay for parliamentary privileges and bear the burden of mismanagement.
Why go down the dangerous route to the future when we can go the safe way? Those who think otherwise have some vested interest in big power, big monopolies and "big Australia".
Technology is not the "solution" to energy crisis, or protecting ourselves from natural disasters. Japan would have state of the art warning systems, but it didn't prevent their present disaster.
Disasters can not be prevented. But through proper warnings and disaster-after recovery procedures, the effects can be minimized.
"Nuclear energy is proven to be a safe, reliable, cost effective..." as we are told. Uranium is a commodity that can be sold and profited from, not renewable energy. Unit 2 of Three Mile Island Nuclear Power station experienced a partial reactor meltdown on March 28, 1979. It was the biggest nuclear disaster in US history. The two main ones are simple - human error and the failure of a rather minor valve in the reactor.
The Titanic was assumed to be "unsinkable" due to its techno-sophistication, and human confidence in technological achievements.
Japan's tsunami disaster should put an end to any further confidence in nuclear reactors being "safe". After the reactor properly shut down due to the earthquake, the tsunami caused flooding in the power backup and ruined the diesel generators preventing powering the cooling pumps. We can't assume that our planet is ever stable, and that reactors won't be bombed by hostile forces
The sinking of the Titanic, the meltdown of the Chernobyl reactor in 1986, — all forced engineers to address what came to be seen as deadly flaws.
Nuclear power has been promoted as the answer to both climate change and energy insecurity. It is neither. As a response to global warming, it is too slow, too expensive and too limited. And in an age of terrorist threats, it is more of a security risk than a solution.
Mainland China has 13 nuclear power reactors in operation, more than 25 under construction, and more about to start construction soon. Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world's most advanced, to give more than a ten-fold increase in nuclear capacity to at least 80 GWe by 2020, 200 GWe by 2030, and 400 GWe by 2050.
China is rapidly becoming self-sufficient in reactor design and construction, as well as other aspects of the fuel cycle.
Current nuclear needs lots of water for cooling. Water is scarce in Australia, the second driest continent. In France during their heat waves, some of the nuclear plants couldn't operate because the water got too hot. Australia gets very hot a lot, and parts of the country are continuing to break heat records! Those difficulties are possibly not insuperable, but certainly add to the risk.
Taking our politically-decided population growth into account, we would need upwards of one hundred reactors to fully cater to Australia in the future. Reactors need to be established close to the coast - also where 80% of Australia's population lives - so we can't decide to put them somewhere in the dessert and forget about them!
Our ever expanding human population is growing faster then it can be kept warm, fed and healthy. What we need to do is to ban nuclear power and curb human population growth.
For all the precautions, you just cannot predict where a safe place for nuclear reactor is going to be. It's like saying the Titanic was unsinkable.
The Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan by Beyond Zero Emissions outlines a technically feasible and economically attractive way for Australia to transition to 100% renewable energy within ten years. The Zero Carbon Australia report provides a detailed blueprint for transitioning Australia’s stationary energy sector to 100% renewable energy sources by 2020.
The ZCA2020 Plan shows that with a combination of energy efficiency, fuel-switching from gas and oil to electrified energy services, then using a combination of commercially available renewable energy technologies, Australia's energy needs can be met with 100% renewables.
The required investment is the equivalent of a stimulus to the economy of 3% of GDP or $370 billion.
The project involved a team of engineers, scientists, researchers and others — including engineers from the existing fossil fuel energy sector —contributing thousands of hours of pro bono work to put together a detailed roadmap of the steps necessary to replace our coal and gas infrastructure with renewable energy.
The plan details a rollout of large solar thermal plants at 12 proposed sites across the country to supply 60 per cent of Australia's power, with the other 40 per cent being supplied by wind.
According to the Plan, to avoid the threat of a “tipping point”, such as the decline in Arctic ice, triggered by excessive temperatures we need to reduce atmospheric CO2 from the present level of 390 ppm to well below 350 ppm‚ significantly closer to pre-industrial concentrations of 285 ppm .
The aim of the Project as a whole is to outline how each sector of the Australian economy can achieve zero or negative greenhouse emissions: in Stationary Energy, Transport, Buildings, Industrial Processes, and Land Use. This Stationary Energy Report is the first of the installments.
To make an immediate transition, we can use only the solutions that are available to us today. Should new zero-emissions technologies become viable, cost-competitive and available in the lifetime of the Plan, their inclusion may reduce costs and increase benefits even further.
To meet the 40% extra electricity demand by 2020, a combination of wind and solar thermal with storage are proposed as the primary electricity generation technologies. The ZCA2020 Plan calls for energy efficiency measures to progressively reduce electricity used for current services.
Examples of how this can be done include efficient appliances, improved building design, retrofitting insulation, double and triple-glazing, as well as improved industrial efficiency .
The chosen renewable energy technologies are a mix of wind turbines, concentrating solar thermal with storage, small-scale solar, and backup capacity from biomass and existing hydroelectricity:
Plants will be located at sites around Australia that are selected for their wind availability, solar incidence, economy of scale, transmission costs, technical efficency, and geographical diversity.
The plan has received support by a variety of academics and scientists. Associate Professor Keith Lovegrove, Leader Solar Thermal Group at the Australian National University said ”The ZCA report analyses one particular scenario of renewable energy technology choice based on available solutions, in considerable depth. It successfully shows in detail that 100% renewable energy is both technically possible and economically affordable”.
The plan would create up to 80,000 jobs from installation of renewable energy generation at the peak of construction, and over 45,000 jobs in operations and maintenance that will continue for the life of the plant. Such a scheme would also generate up to 30,000 jobs in manufacturing wind turbines and heliostats.
Ironically, Trade Minister Simon Crean recently signed an export deal between Melbourne-based Environmental “Clean” Technologies and Vietnamese company TinCom. From 2014, the Victorian company expects to export 2 million tonnes of dried brown coal a year to burn in Vietnamese power stations, eventually rising to 20 million tonnes a year. Greens climate change spokeswoman Christine Milne said the federal government could not be serious about reducing emissions if was willing to open up a massive polluting export industry. It's no use talking about a carbon price in Australia if at the same time you are going to rev-up coal exports to other parts of the world to make climate change worse.
Why does it take volunteers from a non-government organisation to come up with such a sustainable solution to our energy needs that avoids our addiction to fossil fuels?
FREE PUBLIC LECTURE - The Future of Renewable Energy in Australia
Wednesday 14th July,
6pm – 8pm
198 Berkeley Street
University of Melbourne