Sustaining Future

Monday, November 20, 2006

The greening of Howard and a nuclear future

Yesterday's Sunday on Channel Nine has a segment on the PM's move to embrace nuclear energy. Videos are hereand here.

I am most surprised by the introduction: the implication by the reporter that the motivation of PM is to be part of the USA's plan: Australia to permanently keep spent nuclear fuel. Yes, Australia is a well developed country with high technology standard and a large unpopulated desert. Furthermore, Australia also has one third of the world's easily accessible Uranium. However, I don't think Australian are prepared to be the world's nuclear dump. The current poll in Channel Nine shows that 80% of respondents say no to "Should Australia store nuclear waste from other countries?"

While technologists may argue that with today's technology, we can store nuclear fuel safely for extended period. However, the world is not ideal laboratory environment. Human is the worse enemy of itself. Where there is a large nuclear waste dump, there is a great target for terrorist attrack.

I really don't understand why our government would like to develop "clean coal" technology and nuclear power.

Providing baseline load is about having a sufficient large buffer of energy. While most renewable energy source are periodic (e.g. solar), it does not mean that the power generation needs to be periodic as well. [It just happens, by chance or by design, that Australian government has just granted a project for concentrated solar power generation - which is periodic!] The solar tower project reported early is capable of continuous power generation in night by using water as a heat buffer!

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