nuclearinfo.net

Everything you want to know about Nuclear Power.

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Read on to find out more about Nuclear Power. In particular:

Energy Requirements and Issues

The Science of Nuclear Power

The Benefits of Nuclear Power

The Challenges of Nuclear Power

Alternatives to Nuclear Power

The contributors to this site

Executive Summary

A modern technological society like Australia makes substantial use of energy to make our lives better and more enjoyable. While we can do much to conserve energy, the fact is that Australia has increased its electrical energy consumption by over 2% per year since 1970. Our electrical energy needs are forecast to increase by 50% in total by the year 2020. Meeting this demand requires building many large power-plants over the next 15 years. If we do not do this and our energy demand grows as expected, we will be faced with large scale blackouts such as what occurred in NSW in 1981. The States of Victoria and South Australia had a 500 megawatt electricity reserve deficit during the summer of 2005. However Australia currently produces more Greenhouse Gas per Capita than every other OECD country. If we build new Coal-fired plants, which was what was done to solve the crisis in NSW in the 1980's, we will make this situation even worse.

It is quite possible to utilize Nuclear Power, which emits almost no greenhouse gases, to provide the vast majority of an entire country's need for electricity. The French Nuclear Power program is the exemplar of this. In France, Nuclear Power provides 77% of the nation's need for electricity (the remainder being Hydroelectricity). France generates a surplus of electricity which it exports to neighbouring countries at a profit. It does this while costing the dismantling of its reactors and disposing of its waste products in the price of the power it generates.

This website explains all the issues surrounding Nuclear Power including:

Recent developments imply that the next build of Nuclear Power stations will result in electricity prices substantially greater than our current, non-sequestered, Coal-fired power plants.

However, if we decide to employ Nuclear Power, we must do it right. There have been many mistakes in the development of nuclear power. These include: unsafe reactor designs, lackadaisical safety awareness, unthoughtful operator training, over-selling of benefits, poor cost control through unstandardised designs, changing regulatory frameworks, poor environmental procedures and ignoring community concerns. Yet where these mistakes have not been made or where they've been corrected, Nuclear Power has provided environmentally clean and cheap electricity. Nuclear Power works if World Best practices are followed.

If Australia pursues Nuclear Power we recommend that:

  • We should take advantage of economies of scale and deploy a significant number of reactors (more than say, six 1 GW reactors) so that the costs of waste disposal and fuel enrichment can be shared.
  • An Australian Nuclear Industry must be pro-active in engaging with the World Community and employ World Best Practice levels of Safety and operations.
  • We would need an independent and pro-active regulatory framework to oversee the operations of a Nuclear Industry.
  • The activities of the Regulators and the Industry must be open to the public and all decisions should be fully transparent.
  • We must invest in research to find and build a suitable site for geologic disposal of waste.
  • We must decide on appropriate means of transporting the waste to the site.

In short, going the Nuclear route would require a significant consensus that this is the best way forward on the part of Australian Society.

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This page, its contents and style, are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views, policies or opinions of The University of Melbourne.