Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Nuclear Renaissance and Australia

Barry Brook a professor of climate change at the University of Adelaide makes a good case for proper debate on the merits of nuclear power in Australia.

IF climate change is the inconvenient truth facing our fossil fuel-dependent society, then advanced nuclear power is the inconvenient solution staring right back at the environmental movement.

Since the 1970s, when the Sierra Club and other prominent environmental groups switched from being active supporters to trenchant detractors, nuclear power has fought an ongoing battle to present itself as a clean, safe and sustainable energy source. Today, a mix of myths and old half-truths continue to constrain people's thinking on nuclear power.

Some of the most regularly raised are that uranium supplies will run out, nuclear accidents are likely, long-lived radioactive waste will be with us for 100,000 years, large amounts of CO2 are produced over the nuclear cycle, it's too slow and costly, and a build-up of nuclear power will increase the risk of weapons proliferation.

Yet the surprising reality is that none of these perceived disadvantages of nuclear power need apply in the future. Indeed, many don't apply now.

Worldwide, nuclear power is undergoing a renaissance. There are 45 so-called generation III reactors under construction, including 12 in China, and another 388 are planned or proposed. >> more
If we are serious about reducing emissions and protecting jobs genuine bipartisan debate is crucial and in any case inevitable. Labors ongoing and hackneyed opposition stance no longer makes sense.

See also: The case for Nuclear Power in Australia – Why, Whether and How

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