Faith-based energy policy: the case of nuclear power
If you want to explain the success of Trump and Trumpism, despite Trump’s blatant reliance on falsehood, it’s crucial to understand that the mainstream political right has been rendering itself more and more impervious to reality for at least two decades. A striking example is the belief that nuclear power is the answer to our needs, and that the only obstacle is Green Nimbyism. This claim has recently been restated by a number of LNP Parliamentarians, by no means all of whom are on the hardline right.
Rather than rehearse the arguments I’ve put many times, I’ll quote the conclusion of the SA Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle:
a. on the present estimate of costs and under current market arrangements, nuclear power would not be
commercially viable to supply baseload electricity to the South Australian subregion of the NEM from 2030 (being the earliest date for its possible introduction)
b. it would not be viable
i. on a range of predicted wholesale electricity prices incorporating a range of possible carbon prices
ii. for both large and potentially new small plant designs
iii. under current and potentially substantially expanded interconnection capacity to Victoria and NSW
iv. on a range of predictions of demand in 2030, including with significant uptake of electric vehicles
c. nuclear would be marginal in the event of a lower cost of capital that was typical for the financing of public projects and under strong climate action policies.
That closes off just about every loophole a pro-nuclear advocate might want to use. And the Royal Commission was anything but anti-nuclear. It pushed hard for the idea of a nuclear waste dump (not really credible, but not as obviously infeasible as nuclear electricity generation).
TO finish, I can’t resist quoting Bernard Keane
As for the suggestion from backbenchers that nuclear power should be thrown into the mix, take note of the names involved, according to the Fairfax report: Andrew Broad, James Paterson, Tony Pasin, Tim Wilson, Chris Back, Craig Kelly, Eric Abetz, Andrew Hastie, Warren Entsch, Bridget McKenzie, Rowan Ramsey. Take note and remember that none of them can count.