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Nuclear Issues in Australia and Beyond; One Perspective

By canberra_skeptics - 27 April 2012 88

A Canberra Skeptics Lecture
Date: Monday, 14 May 2012
Time: 6.00-7.30pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre, CSIRO Discovery Centre, Clunies Ross Street, Acton, ACT 2601
Speaker: Professor Dr George Dracoulis, FAA

Members Free/Non-Members Gold Coin Donation

Nuclear issues in Australia have had a conflicted history.  We are a country with significant uranium resources but no nuclear power. This talk will cover selected aspects of uranium production, nuclear fission, the scale of present and future nuclear power world-wide, life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions from competing technologies, and the demand and comparative cost of electricity generation in Australia.  In the year following the dramatic events at Fukushima and at the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl, there are numerous topics that underlie the debate.  These include politics, risk, public perception and public acceptance.

George Dracoulis has been a member of Department of Nuclear Physics at the Australian National University since 1973, and was Head from 1992 to July 2009.  He was appointed Professor Emeritus in 2010. During 2006 he was a member of the Prime Minister’s task force that reviewed the prospects for uranium mining, processing and nuclear energy in Australia and he has been involved in public engagement on nuclear policy issues, here and abroad.

Dinner will follow the lecture (venue tbc). To RSVP for dinner please email: mail@canberraskeptics.org.au

For further information about Canberra Skeptics please visit our website: http://www.canberraskeptics.org.au

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Nuclear Issues in Australia and Beyond; One Perspective
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howeph 9:15 pm 16 Jan 14

Diggety said :

howepth, for someone who is apparently scared of climate change, you do a good job of limiting human’s ability to deal with it.

My position? Use all technological prowess to solve the problem.

You position? Limit us to a small set of tools.

All while our international competitors are researching, using, understanding all energy technologies, Australia is limited by Luddites.

My position is that real, effective action on climate change, of the scale required to limit warming to the dangerous level of 2 degrees, is critically overdue.

Nuclear energy is a distraction from achieving this aim at a time when we can’t afford more distractions.

Sincere proponents of nuclear energy, such as your self, need to critically assess their position. Based upon the economics alone, nuclear energy in Australia is a pipe dream (read the article linked above and/or wait for the AETA 2013 Update to understand why this is the case). But also understand that you and your position is being used, by those with vested interests in maintaining the status quo, to delay the regulation reforms and investment in support of renewables that is required to meet this crisis in time. It may already be too late.

maxblues 7:09 pm 16 Jan 14

Diggety said :

maxblues said :

Diggety said :

I still can’t believe that Australia is a 21st century country, banning the newest, safest, low carbon energy source.

Roll on, competitors…

Diggetty, are you a director of Dig-Dagg or are you in a partnership with Fred Dagg? On page 110 of his second work, DAGGSHEAD REVISITED, talks about his “dear close personal friend Dr Teller, the father of the very loud bang” and like you thinks the nuclear side should be given a fair hearing. He says
“I can see how this hideous and frightening alternative to the swift mathematical neatness of a nuclear mishap should be revealed to the public. I can appreciate the wisdom of presenting the others side of the story to the potential victims of this lingering fate”.

Say ah, yeah, gidday to Fred. The last time I saw him was in Perth, during the second umlaut of the Australia v Poland match in the challenge round build-up for the World Farnarkeling Championship. Fred was particularly impressed with the Inverse Blither performed by the remarkable Dave Sorenson.

Totes correct, maxblues.

I also have the head of a lizard and breath fire.

My lab has a “toxic substances only” policy, and I’m on a scholarship from Satan.

I was spawned from Thatchers bottom to starve Welsh coal miners, and Tony Abbott is my sister.

And that’s only my good side, max 😉

We have a connection after all, Satan is my ex-father-in-law.
Sorry to hear about your fire breath and thatcher’s bottom (sounds like an occupational malady of British roofers).

Nylex_Clock 6:59 pm 16 Jan 14

Diggety said :

My position? Use all technological prowess to solve the problem.

You position? Limit us to a small set of tools.
.

No, your position is that you lack the ability to correctly analyse the defects inherent in a moribund 1950’s technology spun-off from the military for no good reason other than to cause the taxpayer to further fund the military-industrial complex through devious means.

Others’ position is that new and proven technologies that are demonstrably cheaper warrant investment.

maxblues 6:41 pm 16 Jan 14

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

maxblues said :

shauno said :

I havnt read the rest of the thred so might have already been brought up. You cant compare Fukushima reactor to any that may be built in Australia. Fukushima was built on a subduction zone a huge earthquake, volcano and tsunami risk. In fact the sea wall protecting Fukushima was built way smaller then what was recommended during the design phase for protection against tsunami.

As for Australia its essentially geologically dead and the main land is no where near a plate boundary its also geopolitically safe and is the safest place by far to have nuclear reactors compared to anywhere else on Earth. Comparing it to Fukushima is just silly.

As a bloke in the industry once told me, all an earthquake (or terrorist) needs to do to cause an accident at a nuclear reactor is fracture the coolant inlet pipes.
Do yourself a favour go to wikipedia and checkout the lengthy list of Australian earthquakes that have done damage to buildings. There has pretty much been at least one per decade spread across every state in Australia. Whilst we have had some in the 7 range like Fukushima, they don’t have to be that strong to cause considerable damage to infrastructure. The 1989 quake in Newcastle that caused about 175 casualties, 13 of them fatal and extensive damage to buildings/services was only in the 5 range. Australia has had many in the 5, 6 and even 7 range of the Richter scale in relatively short time we have been recording them. I’m old enough to remember a couple and help with the clean up.

Was it the janitor you were speaking to?

Fair call Commie. I know you will call BS on this (and I don’t blame you at all) but I left it vague as “a bloke in the industry” because he would not want me to identify him. About all I can say is that he has both a science and a security background and has visited reactors around the world including our own Lucas Heights. I am a great fan of his work and I think I still would be if he wasn’t a relative. He is not in Canberra but many insiders here know him and/or his work. Of course he has told me absolutely nothing of a Classified nature.

Nylex_Clock 6:40 pm 16 Jan 14

shauno said :

I havnt read the rest of the thred so might have already been brought up. You cant compare Fukushima reactor to any that may be built in Australia. Fukushima was built on a subduction zone a huge earthquake, volcano and tsunami risk. In fact the sea wall protecting Fukushima was built way smaller then what was recommended during the design phase for protection against tsunami.

As for Australia its essentially geologically dead and the main land is no where near a plate boundary its also geopolitically safe and is the safest place by far to have nuclear reactors compared to anywhere else on Earth. Comparing it to Fukushima is just silly.

Obviously a stranger to risk management.

The issue with Fukushima isn’t the annualised rate of occurrence. It’s happened once. Just the once, and the actual consequences are way beyond anything we could ever afford. Therefore the risk cannot be accepted. Not by the taxpayer, anyway – let’s see the Nuke industry get proper insurance at commercial rates without externalising any risk onto the taxpayer. Perhaps they can properly price their product in order to build up the funds necessary to deal with future Fukushima-like situations? How much would Nuke-generated electricity cost if they were paying for the Fukushima situation instead of evading responsibility?

Meanwhile, even with the Nuke industry cheating like this, Wind is way, way cheaper and Solar isn’t far behind.

You would have to have rocks in your head to be calling for the taxpayer to invest any money at all into developing a local nuke industry.
Not just an utter waste of money on a decrepit and dirty 20th century technology for boiling water in the most dangerous manner imaginable, but in fact a clear recipe for disaster.

Diggety 5:58 pm 16 Jan 14

howeph said :

Diggety said :

howeph, relax. A “CONSPIRACY” is far fetched, but you’re welcome to think so.

Thanks. I am relaxed.

I’m not claiming a conspiracy. I can think of some valid reasons why such a publication might be withdrawn but it is very poor form to not post a notice explaining the reason for doing so. We are patiently waiting for that reason and the re-released report.

However it would also be naive to pretend that staggeringly large sums of money and considerable political capital don’t hang in the balance over this issue.

It is the economics, or more precisely the perceived economics, that will ultimately determine the outcome and therefore controlling that perception is crucial to the various interest groups. Consequently not only must the government’s relevant economic advisor, The Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE), provide frank and fearless advice, it must also be publicly perceived to be doing so. Incidents such as this do not help.

Diggety said :

I think you need someone with stat&energy system expertise to walk through the report. Please don’t take the report as a blueprint by the way, things can change – they make you happy or sad.

I am however getting tired of lazy, condescending comments though:

* “I think you need someone with stat&energy system expertise to walk through the report.”

* “Please read the CSIRO report to understand the topic, howeph.

* “Understanding the system overall is is key to assessing the inclusion or exclusion of technologies”

I have read the publications. I think that the difference is that I have critically assessed them. May I suggest that you do the same. The key is to look at the assumptions upon which these reports are built.

Diggety said :

Either way, you’re a bias example of an intelligent person with a anti-nuclear disposition, a case worth studying.

I didn’t know that the definition of bias was to have a different opinion than Diggety.

Is Professor John Quiggin biased too? He thinks that reviving the nuclear power debate is a distraction and the main problem with the nuclear option is that it is not economically viable. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/08/reviving-nuclear-power-debates-is-a-distraction-we-need-to-use-less-energy

howepth, for someone who is apparently scared of climate change, you do a good job of limiting human’s ability to deal with it.

My position? Use all technological prowess to solve the problem.

You position? Limit us to a small set of tools.

All while our international competitors are researching, using, understanding all energy technologies, Australia is limited by Luddites.

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