Monday Message Board (on Tuesday)

It’s (past) time, once again for the Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

221 thoughts on “Monday Message Board (on Tuesday)

  1. It got down to 30.6 degrees in Melbourne overnight. We don’t have airconditioning, this is a conscious choice we made due to electricity consumption, but I tell you, my sense of smug moral superiority was really tested. Very grumpy today, didn’t get much sleep, and the kids are grumpy too.

  2. Makes Canberra look like a chilled out paradise with an overnight minimum of 19.5 degrees.
    That nice Mr Rudd’s subsidy for insulation has helped a bit – though I am expecting it will help bring down my heating bills quite a bit this winter.

  3. Just posting this again because the Message Board wasn’t up yesterday – and I think many people would have missed this material… It’s relevant to the discussion re: the heat wave…

    Elderly at risk from heat stress!!! Read and discuss

    [Yesterday] the Australian Medical Association (Victorian branch) made a powerful plea for compassion, justice and common sense. This statement was made in light of extreme heat conditions recently – which have seen appalling rates of death amongst the aged and the infirm.

    See:

    http://www.facebook.com/l/935f3;leftfocus.blogspot.com/2010/01/protect-aged-this-summer-stop-deaths.html

    Please feel welcome to discuss these issues at the Left Focus blog itself – and/or at the Left Focus Facebook group – or otherwise here at this thread you’re reading right now!

    sincerely,

    Tristan Ewins (Left Focus moderator)

  4. @wilful

    And just think wilful if 100% of the power for your a/c came from nuclear power, then the marginal CO2 cost of running your a/c would be … zero

  5. Fran, I don’t need to be convinced, ever since I discovered Barry Brook’s blog about two years ago, I’ve been a convert. HOWEVER, let’s not make this another nukes thread, eh?

    As a matter of fact, we’ve got grid connected solar and 100% green power offset, so technically we’re emissions free. But that’s mostly a load of bollocks I think, and clearly my purchasing of indulgences hasn’t had the necessary effect, I obviously wouldn’t make a good catholic.

  6. I was aware of your position, wilful but I just thought I’d remind those reading here of the broader context …

  7. Well I enjoyed the last few days in Adelaide (cat-sitting for some friends on holiday), as it meant I wasn’t enduring the hellish temperatures in Murray Bridge 🙂
    MB yesterday hit 46C according to this morning’s report, whereas Adelaide couldn’t even make 43C !!
    As for a/c: I broke down around 6pm and turned on a/c for the evening. Woke up at 5:30am with cat whiskers on face – no, that’s the beard – cat walking up and down on me, saying in that oh so very cat way that I’m forgetting something, namely to feed it. Get up, feed cat, go lie down.
    Woke up at 6:30am with cat whiskers definitely on face. Forgot to pour it some milk, I think the cat is saying…get up, give cat some milk, clear out kitty tray, go to walk out back door and woosh! Down came the rain (I did my laundry last night…)!
    Hot weather has left for a few days at least.

  8. @wilful
    I agree – the pro nukers drive me insane, and also for the reason I know people who devoted their lives to banning the ugly stuff. You put nuclear power in and its an invitation for a power hungry bunch of bastards to turn it into something ugly and destructive…you are playing with uranium. Its worse (much worse) than playing with fire.

  9. @Alice

    You put nuclear power in and it’s an invitation for a power hungry bunch of bastards to turn it into something ugly and destructive

    Unintentional irony, Alice?

    I have to laugh.

  10. @iain

    If the world had the needs, the population density and the local resources of Samso Island, then all we’d need is the embedded energy in the products they import for your comment to be apt.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled Samso Islanders are making good use of wind. Part of the reason they can do that though reflects the fossil and nuclear resources others are deploying of course.

  11. @Fran Barlow

    Fran, if you don’t like emerging practical examples of why rationalist’s dichotomy may be self limiting, then you are welcome to review the theoretical position presented by Diesendorf in “Greenhouse solutions with sustainable energy”.

  12. Yesterday, picked apricots ’til smoko, 10am, had a cuppa and went out again with a wet cloth around my neck. Picked for 10mins in 40 degree heat and said to boy wonder (son 14) “I think we should stop” and for once no backchat.

    Today, picking apricots all morning in the rain, two changes of clothes despite raincoats. “This is fun” says boy wonder, as he shakes wet branches over me and does pushups in the mud to keep warm. Wouldn’t be dead for quids.

  13. @Rationalist

    Since electricity accounts for about 25% of world GHG emissions and since nuclear accounts for around 14% of world electricity, then a doubling of world nuclear generation over the next 20-30 years will reduce total emissions by around 5%. If you factor in less conservative GHG lifecycle assessments of the nuclear process the real reduction may even be closer to 0%.

  14. Unfortunately, the nuclear vs renewables debate is mostly based on how to continue with business as usual. There is no doubt that either or both could be used by the human race to continue BAU and the cost would be accomodated.

    What most people don’t get is that we can’t have BAU without increasingly bad consequences the further we go into ecological overshoot. Economists the world over need to promote a better way of doing business. Growth as we presently know it is not only unsustainable but destructive.

    Overpopulation and overconsumption are the root problems. Humanity needs to learn to live in balance with the rest of the natural world and debating the best source of energy to continue destroying the natural world is pointless.

  15. @Salient Green

    This is very valid. And possibly a more productive line of reasoning than coal v nuclear ultimatums.

    Politically we have reasonably bipartisan support for:
    -energy efficiency
    -20% MRET
    -attempts to optimise terrestial carbon (ala Wentworth)

    These points alone aren’t going to solve very much. And beyond this we really don’t have much agreement, or much clue for that matter.

  16. @iain
    I bet its BS – as soon as one these things (nuclear reactors) blows or leaks or cracks – even the most pro nukes will be saying – how could I be such a fool? Why didnt I just volunteer to turn my damn lights off?? Why didnt I put up my hand to use less power. Why didnt I get rid of all the cheap crap in my house that uses electricity? Did I really need electronic opening garage doors – did I really need push button gates to my house? – Did I really need – an electronic alarm clock – did I really need a gas heater on standby?

    Do we really need half the crap we have that eats power?

    Then you pro nuke idiots want to come in here and say – we can do it cheaper with a nasty subtsance….and to hell with the risks to your grandchildren when the bolts and nuts start rusting or when the government is overthrown for a rationalist fanatic government that doesnt like maintaining the deadly infrastructure of nuclear reactors…

    You all have a now costing, in a now mindset and its sooooooo shortshighted it almost makes me feel ill in my stomach, for our future.

    We can do much better than your two minute solutions to a “now” problem. We can invest in the future. We can invest in sustainable energy. We dont need it all to be private sector (profit ? we want it now) firms. We need to think ahead. We need to plan ahead.

    We need to wipe uranium out of the equations. We need not to dig the damn stuff up. It should stay where it is and forget anyone ever discovered its properties…

    The aboriginals knew that centuries ago…but white man is stupid.

  17. I think we should have a few nuclear reactors, not because they are great sources of power but they are useful for producing nifty little weapons. [Note that North Korea remains uninvaded and who really believes that Iraq would have been invaded if the US had any doubts about their not having WMDs.] With a few of these weapons we could strike terror into all the surrounding islands (Fiji, for example, would suddenly re-install a democratic government) and we could rightly take our place as the (US’s) deputy sheriff of the South Pacific. We could also nuke the japanese whaling force just to remind them who won the war, as they seem to have forgotten!

  18. Yes Iain “a more productive line of reasoning ” is a good way of putting it. By concentrating on the consequences of overpopulation and overconsumption – resource depletion, biodiversity loss, pollution, damage to the the natural world which sustains us – the issues of GHG emissions and future energy sources will be naturally encompassed without the conflict they now generate.

  19. @iain

    For the record, I started with Diesendorf, but really, you owe it yo yourself to look at the basic numbers and to ask yourself how, on a world scale, renewables can make the kind of impact they’d need to at acceptable cost.

    Peter Lang over at BNC has done some excellent comparative work.

    You might also read the TCASE series.

  20. See what you’ve done Fran?

    F
    U
    D

    that’s the basis of the anti-nuke crowd.

    (FYI peoples, as stated, I have solar PV – but a) I’m affluent, and b) the government are more about votes than sense, I mean fancy giving me $8000)

  21. @iain

    Since electricity accounts for about 25% of world GHG emissions and since nuclear accounts for around 14% of world electricity, then a doubling of world nuclear generation over the next 20-30 years will reduce total emissions by around 5%.

    The reasoning here is specious even without running the numbers. Plainly, if you’re right, then if renewables such as wind and solar went to 28% (the number you were offering for nuclear, the same would be true. Actually that wouldn’t be quite true because the LCA of renewables is likely to be much higher. Really, all you’re saying is that 5% isn’t very much and that’s true however you get it.

    The other two questions you overlook are — how will new sources of energy in the developing world be sourced. However they do it, stationary energy demand will increase. It’s also likely that there will be a shift from liquid transport fuels to electrically-based transport. So your 25% number for electricity is very conservative in the long run. You’re assuming development everywhere outside the top 10 emitters plateaus.

    The numbers for nuclear in general and GenIV nuclear in particular are excellent — less than 0.5% of your average coal plant, 16% or so of biomass and competitive with wind and solar without backup or the other site constraints.

    You could also check out David Mackay’s site. Very interesting.

  22. @Alice

    I want to stay polite Alice, but really that screed ill-becomes you. Take a deep breath and consider how silly that looks.

    Do you really think that the world’s energy needs can be covered and CO2 reduced to that which is necessary by first worlders living a slightly more ascetic lifestyle? How does discarding my TV translate into the energy needed to refrigerate food in the Horn of Africa or smelt aluminium in Brazil?

    At most, reductions in first world per capita consumption could reduce the need for growth in new installed capacity but new capacity will still be needed and old dirty capacity will still need to be replaced with something. That is certain. If the new capacity is really expensive — as fully redundant wind or solar would be, then the growth will be very slow indeed which must mean that coal possibly with some Brayton Cycle gas will continue to be with us for a very long time. That’s in effect what you are advocating — and it doesn’t add up to a low emissions path.

    As has been pointed out a number of times the places with the best renewables all have non-renewables backing them up. (With the exception of Iceland which is lucky to have lots of local geothermal and hydro and only has 500,000 or so people to look after). Everyone else is going to have to have some mix.

    Consider this too. Current emissions are about 8Gt of carbon dioxide each year. To capture all that carbon dioxide would require about 18 billion trees for just 1 year of emissions. Or you could try some other method but nothing that doesn’t savagely reduce emissions in a real hurry is going to foreclose disastrous warming with feedback.

    What is your solution for biting into that 8Gt each year? Ditching the plasma TV won’t be enough. Not even close.

  23. @wilful

    Oh I know, but sooner or later, surely, the message will hit home. There ios no other solution that is technically feasible or that can be done at scale at cost and which can be reconciled with the expectations of most of the world’s populace.

    They worry about hazmat but as Mackay points out

    As we noted in the opening of this chapter, the volume of waste from
    nuclear reactors is relatively small. Whereas the ash from ten coal-fired
    power stations would have a mass of four million tons per year (having a
    volume of roughly 40 litres per person per year), the nuclear waste from
    Britain’s ten nuclear power stations has a volume of just 0.84 litres per
    person per year – think of that as a bottle of wine per person per year
    (figure 24.13). Most of this waste is low-level waste. 7% is intermediate-level waste,
    and just 3% of it – 25 ml per year – is high-level waste.

    To ;put this into some perspective the image here represents the containers which hold all the once-used fuel from 30 years of production of a nuclear power plant (185 MW, 44 TWh). Imagine what the waste from 44 Twh of coal combustion would have been if you could put that into containers under pressure. Yet it hasn’t been. All of that is out there in the living tissues of those who were in its footprint. That waste is forever.

    And with GenIV the hazmat above would be further reduced as this would be used as new fuel.

  24. @Fran Barlow

    Fran, if you can highlight the error in Diesendorf’s work, please clearly do so (or withdraw your comment).

    Nuclear may make an insignificant and highly uneconomic contribution to reducing an additional 5% of GHG emissions over the next 20-30 years.

    Nat gas and renewables may make a much more significant reduction at far less cost (refer Diesnedorf which you dismiss without any serious rebuttal). In combination with the Wentworth group’s optimising terrestrial carbon and enegy efficiency you have a reasonable and low cost start to a low carbon future.

    Alternatively let’s just have a robust and stable carbon price above $30/tonne and see what wins.

    Nuclear proponents may probably better off focussing their efforts on longer term fusion research.

  25. @Fran Barlow
    lifestyle changes can be significant though Fran – for example, Nigeria with a pop of 140 million consumes 1% of the energy of the USA. Put another way – if the USA decreased energy consumption by 2% and half the energy saved went to Nigeria, the Nigerians would be much better off and the USA would barely notice it and total energy consumption would be reduced.
    ref from http://www.energybulletin.net/node/29925

  26. @Rationalist

    That’s true but misleading. The emissions don’t make them rich. Activity leading to emissions does. Structure the activity to reduce emissions and they are at least as rich and in practice healthier …

  27. @iain

    I will respond later on Diesendorf as it’s late …

    As to a carbon price I’d be happy with a price at which most analysts say CC&S would be economic — about $100 per tonne. If people are putting cash into CC&S then we had beetter have a price that makes it viable, no?

    Then let us allow the market to determine which suite of solutions works out best. Remove all the subsidies and all the MRETs and lift the ban on nuclear power (including breeders) being considered. Require all energy producers to be stewards of all their waste and to bear the full cost of any disposal and decomissioning. In the case of nuclear, charge least for low level waste storage and most for high level waste storage in the cost.

    That’s a perfectly simple set of solutions. If nuclear isn’t economic, it won’t be chosen.

  28. @Fran Barlow

    “I will respond later on Diesendorf as it’s late …”

    This is normally the point where someone gives me an inconsequential quote or two from Barry Brook’s site.

    If you can do better, then I’m willing to reconsider my take on Diesendorf’s work.

  29. @nanks

    Put another way – if the USA decreased energy consumption by 2% and half the energy saved went to Nigeria, the Nigerians would be much better off and the USA would barely notice it and total energy consumption would be reduced.

    It’s an appealing thought isn’t it — a bit like the old trope our parents would hand us when we didn’t finish the food on our plates — think of Bangladesh, my mother would say.

    To begin with, there’s no easy way of sending 1% of US energy to Nigeria. I suppose they could pack up 1% coal capacity across each of the states and the coal to feed them and ship them across. Not really feasible though. They could help Nigeria build more capacity by charging all electricity users the same bill for 99% of their power and use that money to build new capacity in Nigeria. Presumably though you wouldn’t want that to be coal, so again the question arises — what would you do with it? 1% isn’t going to buy you a lot of wind or solar — certainly not the equivalent of 1% of US capacity since that is largely coal.

    At the moment, Nigeria uses almost no coal at all, and since the bulk of its limited supplies of coal are sub-bituminous and lignite that’s just as well because it’s especially filthy. Then again, burning that coal might be better than stripping their forests to get the fuel for woodstoves, except that they’d become ill instead. Bugger.

    About 39% of Nigeria’s energy in 2006 was NG so presumably you wouldn’t want to replace that. Another 7% is hydro and again, you wouldn’t touch that. So that just leaves the other 53% — petroleum burning — well they are an oil exporter. (Sidebar: Nearly half (44%) of all the oil they export goes to the US whom you have cutting their energy usage.)
    Would the US ship in coal or support nuclear? Interesting.

    Out in the rural areas there are some solar projects and they are fine of course but this isn’t going to make a huge difference in the urban centres.

  30. @Fran Barlow
    Nothing like sending crusts to the sub-continent Fran. You could allow an increase in the Nigerian consumption of oil and have the USA reduce their consumption by twice the increase of Nigeria. Net reduction in emissions. You could have the USA pay Nigeria to leave ‘their 2%’ oil in the ground but allow Nigeria to take out half that for domestic use as part of the deal. That’s effectively shiipping 1% of USA energy consumption to Nigeria but without the costs of shipping.

  31. “And just think wilful if 100% of the power for your a/c came from nuclear power, then the marginal CO2 cost of running your a/c would be … zero”

    Reminds me of ad slogans for consumer goods from the 1950s. The missing bit is ‘you can pay it off in regular installments over x-thousand years, ask the people of the Ukraine (once upon a time known as the breadbasket of Europe)’.

    Incidentally, I picked up a few suggestions from this blogsite when renovating my house regarding verandas, insulation, roofing material… Result: The other day we had 41 degrees in Sydney (more in some locations). Inside my house the maximum temperature was 27 degrees without air conditioning or even a fan. What is the problem?

  32. @nanks

    There are a couple of basic problems here.

    1. We would like the US to reduce its carbon dioxide footprint by a lot more than 1% or even 2%. We actually need the US to reduce its CO2 footprint by about 25% on 1990 levels by 2020.
    2. 2% is quite a bit. It’s estimated that to get consumption of liquid fuel down by about 2% you’d need about a 10% rise in real fuel prices that people thought was permanent. Admittedly over time that permanent 10% rise would translate into people making major lifestyle changes and base purchasing on it — so that five years in consumption may have dipped as much as 5%.

    You want an across the board cut so to get 2% you’re probably going to need a tapering 10% rise in real prices not just of fuel but electricity. Selling that in the US is going to be hard enough. Selling it on the basis that we’re giving the money to Nigeria … hmmm I can see lots putting their hand up for that.

    3. What would that mean in practice though? Does everyone decide to drive their cars only 98% of the distance of the year before. Reduce cold starts by 2%. Increase acceleration times by 2%? Turn off the lights and TV 2% earlier? Switch off the water heater 2% of the time? All 280 million or so?

    And do they stop buying 2% of US produced goods and services and not replace these purchases with imported goods and services?

    Tricky stuff. Much simpler to just force them to buy energy with all of the externalities priced in. With nuclear, the footprint is near zero. If most of them are recharging their cars and running their households and businesses from that grid it’s still near zero.

  33. @Ernestine Gross

    Blockquote>I picked up a few suggestions from this blogsite when renovating my house regarding verandas, insulation, roofing material… Result: The other day we had 41 degrees in Sydney (more in some locations). Inside my house the maximum temperature was 27 degrees without air conditioning or even a fan. What is the problem?

    No problem at all, but is your usage of power typical of the power demanded by industrial economies? Can aluminium smelting and steelmaking and car manufacture and concrete construction make better use of verandahs and insulation to cut the Co2 usage associated with these activities? How many extra lengths of copper wire can be forged as a result of your foregone consumption? If every householder in your circumstances duplicated your efforts would that free up enough energy to build a windfarm 2 Km further from the inverter to take advantage of a better wind regime?

    Your reference to the people of the Ukraine (why do so few mention ByeloRussia?) is sad. Here was a military reactor built to standards that even then were considered poor and run outside of design specs by incompetents. It didn’t blow up or meltdown — it caught fire. If it it had had a containment structure the fire would have been a damned nuisance, but nobody would have been harmed.

    You might as well say that because there is a huge human cost attached to the use of motor vehicles (it’s orders of magnitude larger every year in the Ukraine and ByeloRussia alone than even the worst stats on Chernobyl) that nobody should drive cars ever. Almost nobody draws that conclusion even though it is far more plausible. All sorts of idiots drive cars and they are often drunk and they are used in crimes. It’s one of the leading causes of death and disability in the developing world amongst people under 30. But ban the car? Unheard of.

    People take balloon rides even though they’ve heard of the Hindenberg disaster. The Titanic was unsinkable, but the fact that it and many vessels after it also sank didn’t stop people taking cruises. Every year aircraft crashes kill many people but every year people pay big money to ride in them. Three commercial crashes last year accounted for 546 people. There’s also a risk of terrorism but few compare one A310/330 to another and fewer yet ask whether the DC9 specs are relevant.

    We can’t roll back the film and undo Chernobyl, sadly. But continuing to poison the Earth’s biosphere and to load people up with coal combustion toxics to honour the losses from that tragedy makes no sense at all.

  34. Has anyone seen Henry Ergas’ sermon in the ‘What’s right’ column of the Tuesday Australian (titled ‘Maggie showed Keating the way’)?

    It reads as though it was written as a pre-selection speech for the Raving Bloody Loonies Party. In the two concluding paragraphs he ends with a spray of memorable but in most part absurd bon mots …

    “ The challenge for economic liberals is therefore far-reaching. The recrudescence of crude interventionism, disguised as Keynesian stimulus and nation-building; the risk of emissions trading schemes bringing into play a huge administrative apparatus and vast opportunities for redistribution to favoured groups; the seemingly inexorable rise in the power of the unelected, and the need to limit and discipline that power: these are central elements in that challenge.

    Ultimately, the role of government, should be that set by Albert Camus: “to do the housework”, not to cram recipes for perpetual happiness down the throats of mankind. But that demands a humility most rulers reject with asperity. Faced with that rejection, the liberal task is to be tenacious in pursuing economic and political liberty, which, as a way of addressing global needs, remains by far the best approach we have. ”

    So the stimulus was a mistake? As I think I have seen him claim elsewhere.

    How like late 19th early 20th century anarchists or other bomb wielding revolutionaries these ‘classical liberals’ sound?

    No wonder the foolishness that led to the most recent disaster.

    Crazy, but certainly entertaining. Makes one almost tempted to help storm the ramparts.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/maggie-showed-keating-the-way/story-e6frg6zo-1225818205617

    The version in print seems to have benefited from editing.

  35. @Ernestine Gross
    Ernestine says “Reminds me of ad slogans for consumer goods from the 1950s. The missing bit is ‘you can pay it off in regular installments over x-thousand years, ask the people of the Ukraine (once upon a time known as the breadbasket of Europe)’.

    Well said Ernestine.

  36. @Fran Barlow
    Fran – no “We can’t roll back the film and undo Chernobyl, sadly.”

    No we cant – not now, not for thousands of years to come..

    Its no use saying it wouldnt have happened if Chernobyl had this or that or if we did this or that. You are right the titanic wasnt unsinkable and no nuclear reactor is infallible either and when they fail the damage vastly exceeds any benefits of its use. No one costs that.

  37. @Fran Barlow
    The 1% figure was notional – not sure what the USA could save through general efficiencies and stuff like mandating small efficient cars etc. I would think quite a bit. But they won’t do anything that will impact on business anyway. The only practical political issue for the USA is how to shift even more money to corporates and sell that to the public – same as here.

  38. Fran, @40,

    In reply to my message,
    ‘I picked up a few suggestions from this blogsite when renovating my house regarding verandas, insulation, roofing material… Result: The other day we had 41 degrees in Sydney (more in some locations). Inside my house the maximum temperature was 27 degrees without air conditioning or even a fan. What is the problem?’,

    you say:

    “No problem at all, but is your usage of power typical of the power demanded by industrial economies?”

    What is this, Fran?

    I didn’t tell you anything about my usage of power. I only talked about how a few simple architectural measures resulted in avoiding airconditioning and even a fan to achieve a bearable internal temperature in summer in Sydney. Sure, this measure involves a power usage reduction relative to mechanical means. But this is not all. It also reduces noise pollution. I also don’t have to worry about maintenance and disposal of an airconditioning unit after a few years, and replacement costs.

    Fran, I know it was late when you wrote your reply but I should be honest with you. It is silly to ask whether my power consumption is ‘typical of the demand of industrialised economies’. It is silly because I am merely 1 member of 1 out of many industrialised economies. Furthermore, the distinction between ‘industrialised’ and ‘non-industrialised countries is particularly unhelpful in this case. Consider the USA as an example of an industrialised economy. I suggest one doesn’t require empirical research to reach the conclusion that the occupants of skyscrapers in cities, illuminated all night and airconditioned for many hours use much more power than the people who currently live in tent cities. So, the distinction between ‘industrialised economies’ and ‘non-industrialised economies’ is a red-herring in this instance.

    O.k. Fran, you would like to have the image of Chernobyl erased from the public memory and you want me and other readers to take on board your message, namely to distinguish between ‘military’ and ‘non-military. Not a good idea, Fran, because people have memories and they have invented writing and record keeping. For example, for military see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki. For non-military (in my closest vicinity) see http://www.smh.com.au/environment/radioactive-waterfront-home-to-be-razed-20091227-lga9.html.

    Fran, @40,

    In reply to my message,
    ‘I picked up a few suggestions from this blogsite when renovating my house regarding verandas, insulation, roofing material… Result: The other day we had 41 degrees in Sydney (more in some locations). Inside my house the maximum temperature was 27 degrees without air conditioning or even a fan. What is the problem?’,

    you say:

    “No problem at all, but is your usage of power typical of the power demanded by industrial economies?”

    What is this, Fran?

    I didn’t tell you anything about my usage of power. I only talked about how a few simple architectural measures resulted in avoiding airconditioning and even a fan to achieve a bearable internal temperature in summer. Sure, this measure involves a power usage reduction relative to mechanical means. But this is not all. It also reduces noise pollution. I also don’t have to worry about maintenance and disposal of an airconditioning unit after a few years, and replacement costs.

    Fran, I know it was late when you wrote your reply but I should be honest with you. It is silly to ask whether my power consumption is ‘typical of the demand of industrialised economies’. It is silly because I am merely 1 member of 1 out of many industrialised economies. Furthermore, the distinction between ‘industrialised’ and ‘non-industrialised countries is particularly unhelpful in this case. Consider the USA as an example of an industrialised economy. I suggest one doesn’t require empirical research to reach the conclusion that the occupants of skyscrapers in cities, illuminated all night and airconditioned for many hours use much more power than the people who currently live in tent cities. So, the distinction between ‘industrialised economies’ and ‘non-industrialised economies’ is a red-herring in this instance.

    O.k. Fran, you would like to have the image of Chernobyl erased from the public memory and you want me and other readers to take on board your message, namely to distinguish between ‘military’ and ‘non-military. Not a good idea, Fran, because people have memories and they have invented writing and record keeping. For example, for military see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki. For non-military (in my closest vicinity) see http://www.smh.com.au/environment/radioactive-waterfront-home-to-be-razed-20091227-lga9.html.

  39. @nanks

    One of the attractive aspects of alternative renewable energy sources is to reduce the concentration of power of large corporations. There are examples where relatively small communities in Germany have invested in waste recycling technologies which results in local self-sufficiency of power supply. Their stated motivation was independence of large corporations.

  40. You people who think that there’s any lesson for nuclear proponents arising from Chernobyl are nutters.

    Oh, and by the way Ernestine, yes, all of the Ukraine, it’s a desolate wasteland now, oh yes. That’s precisely what happened. Lost the ‘breadbasket’ tag the year after Chernobyl, of course they did.

    Look, there are two and only two substantive potential issues with gen 3+ and gen 4 nuclear power – will it cost too much, and could they be built fast enough in Australia, given the NIMBY FUD campaigns.

    The answer to the first is probably yes if we have proper accounting for climate change, and a carbon price, and to teh second, probably not because there are so many irrational beliefs hanging around, such as the nonsense that they are dangerous.

    How many people have died from nuclear power accidents in the past 40 years, excluding the irrelevant chernobyl?

  41. Fran @40,

    Fran, I can’t help but pointing out that your attempt to influence risk preferences (about nuclear) by means of suggesting an anaology of road and air traffic accidents is particulary unhelpful for your promotion of nuclear energy because:

    a) Risk is additive. That is, the adoption of nuclear energy does not reduce road tolls (not alternatives) but adds a further risk to human life and health.

    b) Your promotion of nuclear energy to maintain current energy consumption does not reduce road and air traffic accidents. On the other hand, reducing transportation, as suggested my nanks, is reducing energy consumption and it potentially reduces the risk of road, air, and sea transport accidents and hence the risk to human life and the risk to health due to noise and water pollution.

  42. @wilful

    Wilful @49, see my reply to Fran.

    Otherwise, it is clear that corporate ‘communicatons strategists’ are running out of ideas because they still try to influence public opinion with silly labels such as “NIMBY FUD”.

    We’ve been there, done that wilful. Its old hat what your are doing.

  43. @wilful
    “Wilful is Wilfully ignorant as well. He asks “How many people have died from nuclear power accidents in the past 40 years, excluding the irrelevant chernobyl?”

    You dont know? No, why would you? A. You cant be bothered to look it up? or B. It cant be measured when you take into account cancers diagnosed or not yet diagnosed, and deformities in offspring (It also causes illness not just deaths hence are you including living deaths?)

    Even so, why not make an attempt to find out instead of asking silly questions?

    Id trust Monbiot though…over you.

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2004/09/07/two-kinds-of-mass-death/

  44. @Ernestine Gross

    Risk is additive …

    You miss the key points.

    1. People don’t weigh the risks and costs of all technologies by reference to the least impressive examples available but by those which produce the greatest net benefit that people feel they want. Comparing a military grade reactor designed by people with a brief that attached little value to human life or even the operational effectiveness of the reactor at producing power with one designed to make maximum use of the feedstock to produce power and to minimise risk to human life is simply special pleading.

    2. The comparisons show that most people are willing to accept some risks to life in order to achieve some benefits, even when those risks materialise, as they do on every day. No person driving or riding in a motor vehicle or walking into places where vehicles are in motion is unaware that motor vehicle operation increases their risk of life-altering or ending injury. It is a requirement that people with registered vehicles insure others as against catastrophic injury for the operation of the insured vehicle. Catastrophic public liability insurance also applies to aircraft. Yet people think these costs and risks are exceeded by the benefits of using motor vehicles and aircraft and tolerating their use.

    In short, even allowing that the currently best technology is not risk free people continue using it. What you are saying is that because some past iteration of a technology using a comparable feedstock and operated under a regime that no longer exists, failed, rational people shgould oppose a far better iteration of the technology operated under qualitatively better conditions. That’s not the reasoning that most people use.

    Where a nuclear facility replaces a coal facility the risks of the nuclear facility are added to the risk profile of everyone in the footprint and the risks of the coal facility are subtracted. Where the risk is lowered, this trade begins to make sense.

    Quite apart from the CO2 and CH4 being added to the atmosphere from mining, transporting and burning the coal, there is also the impact of all the other toxics on those living within the area from fly ash and particulate. This includes, (but is not limited to) radioactive hazmat, mercury (which attacks the central nervous system), So2, lead, and much else. Fly ash is used in building materials and so this low level radioactivity is spread into the houses of those using the material. These are not prospective risks but actual daily impacts. Why a rational person would not prefer the remote, notional and prospective harms of a well run nuclear plant for the manifest and daily actualised harms of coal combustion is hard to fathom, especially when the latter creates a manifest harm to ecosystem services that lasts until rock weathering can sequster the CO2 entirely is hard to fathom.

    Your promotion of nuclear energy to maintain current energy consumption does not reduce road and air traffic accidents.

    Well no, of course it doesn’t. We are comparing societies that use cars and aircraft but get their stationary energy from some suite of sources including either nuclear power or fossil fuels in some balance.

    I might add though that if the demand for crude oil as a transport fuel feedstock fell sharply, then the transport of crude oil would also fall sharply. That would reduce the number of vehicles on the world’s roads carrying this highly hazardous material and the number of vehicles carrying it as fuel and reduce the exposure of drivers to incineration as a result of uncontrolled fuel ignition or as a result of collision with trucks carrying such fuel. We had one such on the South Coast not so very long ago. So if substantial numbers of motor vehicle operators drew substantial proportions of their energy from the grid and the grid was largely nuclear-powered they would be safer from fuel-carriage-related harms without addiing to the harms of those exposed to the consequences of those exposed to the combustion of coal.

    Should vehicle miles nevertheless be reduced if possible? Well of course. Fewer per capita airmiles should be flown and fewer per capita road miles driven. These are rational objectives regardless of the energy source(s). Yet it really says little about the comparative feasibility of nuclear power.

  45. @Fran Barlow

    “Where a nuclear facility replaces a coal facility”

    This is the basic flaw in most nuclear proponents arguments.

    Why anyone would want to replace coal facilities – as opposed to simply upgrading them with combined cycle, cogen, and solar preheat – is never sufficiently explained (either an economic or environmental standpoint).

  46. So, ernestine, the answer is zero then, from reading Monbiot’s column?

    And I can’t believe you honestly think I’m some corproate spin doctor and that’s the reason I’m pro-nuclear. Sorry mate, you’re completely out of the ball-park there.

    I’m in favour of nuclear power because I’m deperately afraid of the impacts of climate change on our natural environment, but I think that electricity is really nifty and if we can have lots of it then that is an awesome win for people. Put them together, discard the wishful thinking, and all that’s left is nuclear power.

    The known risks of DECT cordless phones and heavy mobile phone use are far higher than the known risks of nuclear power.

  47. iain :@Fran Barlow
    Fran, if you can highlight the error in Diesendorf’s work, please clearly do so (or withdraw your comment).

    Nuclear may make an insignificant and highly uneconomic contribution to reducing an additional 5% of GHG emissions over the next 20-30 years.
    Nat gas and renewables may make a much more significant reduction at far less cost (refer Diesendorf which you dismiss without any serious rebuttal). In combination with the Wentworth group’s optimising terrestrial carbon and enegy efficiency you have a reasonable and low cost start to a low carbon future.
    Alternatively let’s just have a robust and stable carbon price above $30/tonne and see what wins.
    Nuclear proponents may probably better off focussing their efforts on longer term fusion research.

    It occurs to me that if I attempt to offer a comprehensive rebuttal of Diesendorf’s claims — the book you refer to is over 400 pages — then I am going to go way beyond the scope of a Monday Message Board.

    It might be better to focus on the validity of some of Diesendorf’s foundational claims. If these claims fail, then his thesis on the role that renewables can play in decarbonising the energy system within the timeline we need it to happen fails.

    1. Wind/Solar/other intermittents can substantially bear the power load currently borne by fossil fuels in the stationary energy sector at acceptable cost i.e. financial/cost-benefit feasible)within an acceptable time frame. (i.e. schedule feasible)

    Related Claim 1.(a) To the extent that they cannot, demand management can reduce the call on power to the power curves the intermittent sector can meet.
    Related Claim 1.(b) Slews in the power supply system can be reconciled by resort to geographic dispersal of intermittent energy sources and redundant gas capacity.
    Related Claim 1.(b)(i)Resort to redundant gas capacity of between 33% and 50% (according to the extent of geographic dispersal = more redundancy for less dispersal) is technically feasible and capable of being reconciled with a low-enough emissions pathway (i.e is organisationally feasible.)

    Claim 2. The approach to meeting power outlined above is feasible for all heavily industrialised and urbanised societies everywhere.

    Claim 3. The approach to meeting power outlined above is feasible for less/non industrialised societies who are seeking to increase their life chances through resort to usages that are energy intensive.

    Claim 4. The approach to meeting power outlined above is feasible for societies aiming to shift transport energy away from liquid fuels to supply from the grid.

    Do you agree that these are Diesendorf’s express or implicit claims and that these are apt tests of their plausibility?

  48. @Fran Barlow

    Fran, to cut a long story short, your many words have zero impact on me.

    Not long ago you gave me words about a Nash equilibrium which made it perfectly clear that you don’t understand anything about game theory to which the term “Nash equilibrium” belongs.

    The other day, in the context of my question on a legal matter, you wrote that dynamic systems are non-linear and therefore causality is difficult to track. I bit my tongue. Not all dynamic systems are non-linear and not all linear systems are easy to analyse (track causalty) but some non-linear systems can be analysed by some people.

    Now you tell me that I have missed the point regarding “risk is additive”. You don’t demonstrate this by means of working with the original set of words. No, you give me a new lot of words.

    I know from past experience in the blog sphere as well as elsewhere, there is no end to these ‘communication strategies’.

    Good luck with your endeavours; I am not a suitable recipiant of your messages.

  49. Wilful is an interesting character. He is interesting in the sense that he names gen3+ and gen 4 nuclear power (technology?) but he apparently does not understand the much simpler technologies involved in his own household decision making problem. How credible is his statement regarding nuclear power?

    1. In his post @49, p1, he writes: “Look, there are two and only two substantive potential issues with gen 3+ and gen 4 nuclear power – will it cost too much, and could they be built fast enough in Australia..”

    2. In his post @ 27, p1, wilful writes: “(FYI peoples, as stated, I have solar PV – but a) I’m affluent, and b) the government are more about votes than sense, I mean fancy giving me $8000)”

    3. In his post 1, wilful says: ” It got down to 30.6 degrees in Melbourne overnight. We don’t have airconditioning, this is a conscious choice we made due to electricity consumption, but I tell you, my sense of smug moral superiority was really tested. Very grumpy today, didn’t get much sleep, and the kids are grumpy too.”

    But,
    “solar PV” doesn’t cool his house; it is only an alternative source of electricity generation to say coal. Assuming he can’t change the architecture of the house but can’t stand the heat, buying an air conditioning unit is a feasible solution for his home environmental problem. This solution is feasible (air conditioning units are available and by (b) of his 2 he is financially able to buy one). He can rid himself of moral guilt, if any, and he can demonstrate to himself that (his presumption of ) the PV subsidy is a vote buying exercise is wrong by giving the $8000 government subsidy to a charity or returning the amount to the government.

    Maybe the heat has affected his cerebral powers. Be it as it may, given
    his (1), (2) and (3), I attach zero probability to him having any idea about gen3+ and gen4 nuclear power.

  50. ernestine, the answer to my question is something approximately close to zero. two people died at a fuel preparation plant for an experimental reactor in japan (not power generating) in 1999, three people died at a US miltary experimental reactor in 1961, that’s about all that i can find.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf06.html

    It is quite absurd the level of safety that has been achieved, aginst which there are still people who believe that nuclear power is unsafe. This is entirely irrational.

  51. Ernestine, you don’t have to talk about me in the third person, I am right here. but I suppose it helps you to sound patronising, which is the effect you’re after. that said, I cannot for the life of me work out what your ad homonem attack on me is about.

    Maybe, in case you’re a bit slow, I need to restate it. I am concerned about carbon emissions, therefore I choose to avoid the purchase of airconditioning, knowing that it will contribute to brown coal emissions from the latrobe valley. In addition, I have also taken steps to reduce my family’s emissions, such as sensible house design (within the context of a hundred year old house and not infinite budgets), and taking advantage of a populist measure, that makes no financial sense for the government, to install PV panels.

    It’s really not that hard, i think most people would understand my motivation.

    And I certainly don’t profess to be a nuclear engineer, but my grasp of the basics is solid.

    For your information, “generation 3 plus” design rectors, so called, are the latest iteration of current reactor technology, with integral fail-safe engineering. They are currently being commissioned around the world. So-called generation 4 reactors are a bit more speculative, they are a different technology, sometimes called fast breeder, that use a much higher proprotion of the available energy in the radioactive fuel, leaving a much smaller waste problem.

    Hope you learnt something!

  52. Wilful – 4th generation may be “a bit more speculative” however not much. Globally we have over 300 reactor years of experience with Fast Breeder power plants.

  53. Alice – EG gave a similar score card in a debate you and I had regrading regulation. And for what it is worth I agree with Jarahs score card. Fran is on the money regarding risk.

  54. @Ernestine Gross
    Ernestine…I dont know why you bother…there is so much of this wall of empty noises and patter when it comes to nuclear – we have Wilful, a not terribly interesting character IMHO, wanting to sell us all on the benefits of “generation 3 plus latest iterations of the current reactor technology” and “proportions of energy in the radioactive fuel available”.

    Yet this person has no idea at all of how many people have died in the past 40 years from nuclear use (when you add nuclear weaponry its even worse) and when you add deaths to come (and living deaths now).

    He has no idea – the sort that would sell the latest technology in torture chamber equipment if he thought it produced greater efficiencies. These types are really peddling the self interests of big business EG, not the interests of mankind. It comes with a snowstorm of meaningless jargon with which they claim a moral superiority on the basis that these inferior creatures are educating you.

    Wilful is a troll Ernestine. He knows well there is as much delusionism out there on nuclear deaths over time as there is on climate science. It is in fact a minefield of utter lies and he seeks to push those lies in here.

    Wilful – why dont you join Plimer and Monkton?. You would all get on famously.

    I also question Fran’s motivations here on nuclear as well. Interestingly enough Fran, you do get on rather well with he hard right ankle biters in this blog dont you?

  55. Yet this person has no idea at all of how many people have died in the past 40 years from nuclear use (when you add nuclear weaponry its even worse) and when you add deaths to come (and living deaths now).

    Alice your earlier link to Monbiot doesn’t contain this information. In fact, it doesn’t even make the argument that nuclear power is bad, only that the British government can not be trusted with it as it is not as responsible as the Finnish government, whose nuclear authority he does not fault.

    This is not a debate about whether nuclear power is “good” or “bad”, it is a debate about whether it is “better” or “worse” than coal. The toll of death, cancer, deformity and illness arising from coal power is greater than that from nuclear power by an enormous margin; even before you take account of the number of deaths that can be expected by the greenhouse effect. There’s no contest. The only sense in which coal power is safer than nuclear power is weaponization potential, and it the very legitimate fear of nuclear warfare than has contributed to a disproportionate fear of nuclear power with regards to environmental effects – at least disproportionate compared to the public’s tolerant attitude toward coal power. Obviously this does NOT mean that nuclear power is the BEST option, but it is not trolling to point out that coal is WORSE.

  56. @wilful

    I suspect that where Alice and Ernestine are going with deaths is Chernobyl. Deaths associated with this, according to GreenPeace in 2006 were

    … approximately 270,000 cancers and 93,000 fatal cancer cases caused by Chernobyl. The report also concludes that on the basis of demographic data, during the last 15 years, 60,000 people have additionally died in Russia because of the Chernobyl accident, and estimates of the total death toll for the Ukraine and Belarus could reach another 140,000.

    There are reasons to doubt the methodology on which Greenpeace relies (and of course, to reject the ongoing relevance of Chernobyl to current nuclear power practice) but let us set these aside for the moment. Let us grant purely for the sake of argument that the ultimate human cost of Chernobyl will prove to be 200,000 extra deaths and that this should for some reason be added to the human cost of nuclear power.

    Here’s what one study by the Clean Air Task Force said of coal in the US …

    STUDY SAYS COAL PLANT POLLUTION KILLS 30,000 A YEAR

    Fine particle pollution from U.S. power plants cuts short the lives of over 30,000 people each year; […] Metropolitan areas with large populations near coal-fired power plants feel their impacts most acutely – their attributable death rates are much higher than in areas with few or no coal-fired power plants.

    So even the most extravagant claims about potential deaths associated with Chernobyl would be exceeded during the same time frame by a factor of about 3.25 to 1 in the US alone by coal plant operation alone.

    In China, the figures are said to be even worse.

    Toxic substances emitted into the air from coal burning have dramatically affected human health in China. For example, “chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), linked to exposure to fine particulates, SO2, and cigarette smoke among other factors, accounted for 26% of all deaths in China in 1988 […] China’s death rate related to COPD deaths, is five times higher in China than in the United States.

    Of course, that is unfair to coal, since Chernobyl was not designed mainly as a power plant and some of China’s deaths are smoking-related (one suspects this is true also within the populations affected by Chernobyl).

    This here is interesting

    Nonsmoking women in an area of China’s Yunnan province die of lung cancer at a rate 20 times that of their counterparts in other regions of the — and higher than anywhere else in the world.

    And in China, since 1949, according to official figures, some 250,000 people have died in coal mining accidents — typically gas explosions. We’ve already had our first in China this year — in which 18 were killed. In the first 8 years of this decade something like 5600 Chinese died every year in such accidents and countless others suffered injury. And one may add many more deaths from silicosis, if the reports above are accurate. Doutbtless if we roamed the globe pulling out stats for places like Poland and South Africa and India, things would look even more grim.

    Accordingly even if one includes Chernobyl at the most extravagant end of projections, the morbidity per TwH of nuclear power is a tiny fraction of that of coal usage.

    It’s interesting that as graphic as the report above was, it didn’t actually pitch for abandoning resort to coal. It merely wanted coal plants to adhere to stricter emission standards.

  57. @gerard
    you say “The only sense in which coal power is safer than nuclear power is weaponization potential”

    Then there is no contest. Coal is safer. What was the death toll from Hiroshima? Perhaps Wilful can enliighten us all. Have they finished counting yet? So we should advocate all countries that produce emmissions move to nuclear shall we. That includes Iran. Now, I wonder where terrorists can buy their black market uranium? After we do all this and make nuclear even more efficient…just imagine the technology. Terrorists will be able to make their own nasty little surprises from the much bigger and blacker than ever market for radioactive products.

    Good luck with it all. Its so deadly efficient isnt it?

  58. Apologies for not being terribly interesting to you Alice. Let me assure you, the respect is mutual.

    (odd how you and Ernie both think it’s a useful debating tactic to talk about me not at me).

    The number of deaths due to nuclear power, excluding Chernobyl, is very close to zero. About five, and maybe abbout 31 in uranium mining, in the past 40 years. Neither you nor Ernie’s entirely uninformative Monbiot link has provided any other evidence. So there you go.

    It’s a funny world view you have, any person who disagrees with you MUST have an ulterior motive. Now Fran is a secret rightie, while I’m a corporate spin doctor. As a matter of fact, I’ve been hanging around these parts, with a consistent view on these matters, far longer than you have.

  59. More on PR-type communications methods:

    Fran @21 writes ” I suspect that where Alice and Ernestine …..”

    Fran and wilful could use private emails to exchange their of assumptions about other people. But this is not the point of PR-type communicatons.

    Soon I have enough material for a whole book on this topic.

  60. @Alice

    I also question Fran’s motivations here on nuclear as well. Interestingly enough Fran, you do get on rather well with the hard right ankle biters in this blog dont you?

    The occasional visitors here from what I’d call “the hard right” don’t like me one little bit. To imply that Terje or Jarrah are from “the hard right” is simply abuse of the language in the service of a cultural claim. Oddly, at least one such person who came here recently who fits that description rather better was in sympathy with you … Guilt by association is poor methodology though because the mere holding of a view says little in itself about how one arrived at it. Suggesting Wilful joiun Plimer and Monckton when he has explicitly repudiated their general claim though his avowed acts is simply gratuitously nasty.

    You know full well that neither wilful nor I have any agenda on this matter beyond wishing to reduce net anthropogenic CO2 and pollution more generally. You implicastion that we might is without merit. Even were I totally wrong on this matter, my view (and I assume that of wilful, gerard, Terje and Jarrah) springs from a sincere desire to underpin human wellbeing. Doubtless each of us will differ on a great many things, but I assume that they are genuine in their difference rather than simply trolling.

    Why is that so hard to fathom? Why, without anything more impressive than untutored inference, must you attribute so much to the impact of the malign and self-serving? While your impulse is different, when you speak in this way you sound like nobody so much as those crazed LaRouchies or people convinced that dark conspiracies explain all.

  61. i always love a good climate change argument. Especially when it goes Nuclear.

    I love discussing nuclear, as so many pro-nuclear people over simplify their argument and seek to blame the “irrationals” for not beleiving in their wonderful nuclear solution to life, the universe and everything.
    While an argument can be mounted that modern nuclear powerplants are quite safe, there remain a number of other issues associated with it’s use as a primary power source. These include (in no particular order):
    – they take a really long time to build – recent example in Finland was due to take 4 years and will probably take closer to 8
    – they cost a lot – again with the Olkiluoto facility in Finland, they are expecting a 5billion Euro price tag. this means that is costs significantly more than coal to build. Depending on how you cost the clean up and what discount rate you use, the whole of life cost is unlikely to be less than coal
    – there remain real concerns about the safety, including environmental safety of mining, processing, reprocessing and storage of material. Waste management costs remain uncertain as the long term management costs are still somewhat speculative.
    – nuclear is a well developed, well understood and highly researched industry over a long period – this suggests that there are unlikely to be quantum changes in the technology that will improve efficiency or cost

    And dont forget that from a climate change perspective
    – renewables, while currently not cost comparable remain laregly a new industry. this creates significant scope for major advancements that will refelct a quantum shift in pricing or performance. It is expected that advancements in solar cell technology are likely to see it become cost competative with coal in less than 5 years.
    – estimates are that half of the global warming effect is not from CO2, but rather black carbon, CO and methane. This opens the door to significant global warming improvements without the immediate need for closing every coal fired power station in existance. Programs to reduce the use of biomass and timber for heating and cooking in third world countries, replace with solar cookers, would have a huge impact on black carbon emmission. As would improving diesel emission standards and electrification of rural communities.

    So, I for one see no compelling case for nuclear power. Unless you can make fusion work.

  62. 23 years is just a little over over ten? Okay.

    Do you know anything about Chernobyl, its’ causes? Perhaps you should read more about the how and why of the accident, and ask if any of the conditions that held on that day and leading up to it could ever be replicated in any modern reactor.

    Pretty much on the public record.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster

    The reactor design was highly dangerous, has never been used in the west. The operators were criminally negligent. None of the existing safety procedures were followed.

    These conditions have never been and will never be found in a western reactor.

  63. Alice@

    From your link

    … the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and World Health Organisation say that only 50 deaths can be directly attributed to the disaster, and that, at most, 4,000 people may eventually die from the accident on April 26 1986. […]

    An IAEA spokesman said he was confident the UN figures were correct. “We have a wide scientific consensus of 100 leading scientists. When we see or hear of very high mortalities we can only lean back and question the legitimacy of the figures. Do they have qualified people? Are they responsible? If they have data that they think are excluded then they should send it.”

    Gosh the structure of the high figure proponents’ argument looks familiar. The scientific consensus is wrong. What does the specialist agency know? The UN? oh dear …

  64. @wilful

    I suspect that the people over at LP will be love hearing that someone they fancied was proposing an eat the rich ideology and who opposes private property in land is really a secret rightwinger.

  65. @wilful
    Wilful….maybe you should look at few photos. An entire city destroyed. Yet you want to come in here and sell a more efficient model and suggest “oh we know were they got it all wrong..” Tell that to those who died and the children with leaukaemia and those with thyroid cancers still coming in to doctors and tell it to those who had to leave their homes and their city forever.

    Eco insane rationalist warriors.

    http://www.englishrussia.com/?p=293

    http://englishrussia.com/?p=2343

  66. What was the death toll from Hiroshima? Perhaps Wilful can enliighten us all. Have they finished counting yet?

    Hiroshima and nagasaki are reasons for Australia to not have nuclear power? Oh good grief.

    By the way, the post 1945 deaths attributable ot the bombs are less than 2000. About 150 250 000 died on the day(s). Source: http://www.rerf.jp/general/qa_e/index.html

    I don’t think they died in a more horrific manner than Dresden, for example.

    (Not even going to start with the likely death toll of an Operation Downfall)

  67. @JJ

    JJ, the RBMK reactor type will never ever be built again. Latest design reactors simply cannot do what that reactor was allowed to do. The human element, in what was still an extraordinary chain of incompetence (in the dying days of the soviet union), can be eliminated to a very large extent.

  68. Alice, look at a few images yourself. Google “climate change”+poverty

    Coming all bleeding heart at me over the chernobyl disaster gets you nowhere. It’s demonstrably irrelevant.

    PS that was 150 to 250 000 that died in the two nuclear bombs.

  69. @JJ

    nuclear is a well developed, well understood and highly researched industry over a long period – this suggests that there are unlikely to be quantum changes in the technology that will improve efficiency or cost

    resisting impulse to talk about your use of the word ‘quantum’, assuming it means ‘very substantial’

    At this stage, pretty much every nuclear reactor has been a first of a kind project — rather like making a movie or launching a new kind of space probe. The upfront costs of such exercises, combined with all of the individualised safety and performance testing have to be internalised in the costs of a single project. Imagine if you had an idea for the kind of car you wanted and asked Ford to make just one for you. It would not be cheap. In fact, with cars, you don’t start getting down to a viable product until you can have a production run of about 500,000.

    If a single reactor design were the basis for a couple of dozen or more plants, and the parts were highly modularised then the R & D and manufacturing/testing cost would fall considerably. If the burners were installed in replacement of coal burners on an existing brownfield site then the cost would be smaller still.

  70. Has anyone had a chance to view this CNN interview of eyewitnesses who witnessed well-dressed people helpe terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab aboard Flight 253 at Amsterdam Airport? Without their intervention, the airport officials would almost certainly have refused to allow him aboard the flight.

    In spite of this bombshell revelation, the couple American attorneys Kurt and Lori Haskell (husband and wife) were not interviewed furhter by the FBI, not the officials at Amsterdam Airport.

    And because of this we may soon face the additional impostions at airports including health-threatening full body scans. I have embedded the video tegether with other links including links to articles about full body scanners, in my reposting of the article “Statement of September 11th advocates in response to 12/25 terror attempt”.

  71. @daggett
    Daggett, you believe that the 11 September 2001 bombings were staged by the US, don’t you? And are inferring that the christmas day attempt was another plot?

  72. @wilful

    Any serious discussion of technology and safety issues needs to consider the wider implications of Ulrich Beck’s “risk society”.

    Any discussion of the safety issues of nuclear power, itself, needs to consider that the “next Chernobyl” could be Chernobyl itself; since 97% of the radiation is still inside its crumbling infrastructure. A disaster 30 times the size of the original accident is possible, from the same site.

    Nuclear proponents still need to clean up the mess in their own ideological backyards first. Although in our technological risk society this, of course, means adding more risk as a first step.

  73. @Fran Barlow
    Oh Fran – so we should just take the view of the UN’s view should we, which conveniently excludes aother nearby counties? Its all in how you count it isnt it? There are other estimates Fran with equally large numbers of scientists and yet still, none of these include the fact that people were ripped out of a city and one nearby and evacuated and its still an ugly destroyed wasted dead zone

    Plus – the sarcophagus is not without its problems either. Tha damn thing could collapse again – causing another Cherobyl – whats inside has not turned to dust yet – like some clowns suggested at the time…oh its OK the core will turn to dust in five years time!!

    http://www.foe.org.au/anti-nuclear/issues/nfc/power/chernobyl/

    And I find it hard to fathom where you people who push nuclear energy even come from. Yes – power and profit is more important that people isnt it ???????????

    I dont care what party you are in, just remind me not to join it.

  74. @wilful

    I think Alice needs to get out a bit more if she thinks you’re a capitalist running dog.

    Yes, especially since I’m against greyhound racing. 😉 I do have four little dogs.

    [monty pythonesque voice]

    And now for something completely different

    Woman drives home with dead pensioner wedged in windscreen

    A Japanese woman who drove home with the body of an 80-year-old pensioner lodged in her windscreen has been arrested.

    […]

    Sato struck the elderly woman on a straight stretch of road in central Japan, then drove seven kilometres to her home with the pensioner’s body wedged in her windscreen.

    Sato’s boyfriend then called the police, who arrived at the scene to find the corpse of the elderly woman still stuck.

    A police spokesman says the 23-year-old catering student was so shocked when she hit the victim, she did not know what to do.

    Sato faces up to 17 years in prison or a fine of $23,000.

    Can’t you imagine being the boyfriend?

    Ms Sato: Darling … I’ve had a teensy little accident with my windscreen. Could you pop outside and give me a hand?

    Boyfriend: Well there’s your problem. You’ve got a corpse stuck in your windscreen. Didn’t you use the washer?

    Ms Sato: I didn’t have any left after I mowed down those kiddies outside the school last week. I maxed out my credit card paying the fine on that one too

  75. @wilful
    Im pleased to see at last you looked up some stats on nuclear deaths Wilfully ignorant. Now why dont you go and look up cancer rates in Iraq from the use of depleted uranium and anywhere else. Itll be about as interesting as the us of agent orange and I bet people just as short sighted as you were pushing for the use of that brilliant defoliant technology in 1963 as well. Pure genius. Add it all up Wilful. The benefits of modern technologies.

    Educate yourself.

  76. Wilful, have you looked at the YouTube video linked to from my above post?

    Why do you think the Kurt and Lori Haskell were not questioned further by the FBI? Why do you think that they have apparently not further questioned the Amsterdam airport employees nor made any attempt to find those people, without whose help Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab could not have boarded flight 253? Why isn’t the newsmedia following this story up?

    Are you happy that we now face the prospect of full body scans at airports because of this?

  77. @Fran Barlow
    Fran – we have all received pages and pages of posts of your pro nuclear arguments in here time and time again. Im with Ernestine – you are clearly pushing the barrow for someone else on it and Im inclined to agree with Ernestine’s observations of you at post number 9 where EG notes.

    “I know from past experience in the blog sphere as well as elsewhere, there is no end to these ‘communication strategies’. ”

    Interesting inundation of pro nuclear posts (and I mean inundation) Fran but a barrow load of non recyclable material just the same…or should I say as recyclable as Chernobyl dust?

  78. @Fran Barlow
    actually my use of the word quantum was to suggest a step change in peformance. A fairly common usage of the word outside physics circles I believe.

    While every reactor is unique there are still many similarities between types of reactors. This is often reflected in the approach adopted based on the contractors used and their experiences. So different companies have different approaches which they will then customise for the specific needs of the client. This level of standardisation is not completely inconsistent with other major powerplant or processing facility, where some elements are consistent but much of the detailed design is project specific.

    With 50+ years of major research and development, it is difficult to see where any real step change in cost or benefit is likely to come from. Rather a gradual improvement is more likely to be the case, should policy makers continue to allow it.

  79. @Fran Barlow
    in relation to your comment regarding the potential for cost benefit if a standardised approach was adopted, the Korean experience is relevant. They pretty much have a standardised design, which has been utilised for some time. While they claim significant cost benefits from this, they note in any of their reporting that they exclude decommissioning and clean up costs for nuclear when calculating whole of life costs. This skews the information fairly significantly, especially when noting the recently advised upward forecasts of the biritish nuclear inductry clean up liability estimate (well over 100 bn pounds).

  80. @Alice

    As I said Alice, even if one accepts the extravagantly high figures used by Greenpeace or others, resort to coal is more hazardous than resort to nuclear, not merely prospectively but as we are using it. That’s something your “people before profits” mantra evades.

    And what makes you think that the operators of coal mines and coal transport and coal-fired power are any less interested in putting profits before people than the operators of nuclear plants? I find that naive in the extreme. I assume that operators of any energy supply service in a capitalist economy will be very profit-focused and interested in people only to the extent that robust regulatory oversight (probably, but not necessarily from the state) and compliance requires them to be so.

    Of course, it is in the nature of the feedstock supply chain and the energy-intensity of the feedstock for nuclear plants and their manner of operation that the technical aspects of avoiding injuries to humans now and in the future is far easier than with resort to coal or to gas. Technically simple and economically plausible designs and procedures that would comply are available to operators of nuclear plants. Imposing a similar set of risk profiles on coal or gas would render them uncompetitive which is why the advocates for coal and gas (but especially coal) are focused on avoiding this regulatory compliance or putting a cost on CO2. If one energy source requires a million times the mass in feedstock of another competing energy source, it will be simple to work out which has the easier compliance burden. In the US, something like 40% of the mass of bulk goods carried on rail is coal.

    The cost of transport alone tends to force coal operators to build power plants near supplies of coal and acess to water — typically these are rivers — so the pollution being expelled from the plant (including actinides) rapidly contaminates living riparian systems. Why you’d be unaware of or indifferent to this I can’t imagine.

    A nuclear plant can be built where it is closest to demand because the feedstock is modest in scale. You can have the plant cooled other than by water, or use the ocean’s waters.

    Speaking of Chernbyl …

    its still an ugly destroyed wasted dead zone

    Well not to the recovering wildlife there.

    More biodiversity at Chernobyl
    August 12, 2005 Nineteen years after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, researchers say the surrounding land in Ukraine has more biodiversity.

    Some 100 species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of threatened species, as well as bear and wolf, have been found in the evacuated zone, says Viktor Dolin, of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences in Kiev, reported the Moscow News Thursday.

    There are a lot of mutations in species but they get weeded out and many young fish living in the reactor’s cooling ponds are deformed. But adults tend to be healthy, implying that those harmed by radiation die young, said James Morris of the University of South Carolina.

    So human development was worse for biodiversity than a radioactive disaster? What kind of worked for humans didn’t work for wildlife? Who could have guessed?

  81. Alice… there are a lot of useful technologies that can be used to murder people. These potential uses do not make benign uses impossible. Should we ban GPS systems and cell phones?

  82. @gerard
    I am curious how i kill someone with my GPS? Do I ave to club them to death with it? Annoy them to death with the voice? or use the instruction manual to bore them to death?

  83. @Fran Barlow

    “resort to coal is more hazardous than resort to nuclear”

    This is tendentious. No one is arguing for resorting to coal here.

    Alan Weisman’s “World Without Us” highlights a number of areas where humans no longer live where wildlife is rebounding. These include the Korean DMZ, Chernobyl and the Greek/Cypriot divide.

    These areas are, of course, outstanding examples of “progress”.

  84. Oh jesus christ, I want nuclear power for Australia and now I have to defend depleted uranium weapons as well? And be an apologist for the Vietnam war? What about the radium necrosis, is that what you’re saving for the next one?

    Good to see the credible figures I have provided (unlike you) have rolled like water off a duck’s back.

  85. @JJ
    JJ, i suspect there reference is to the fact that the GPS system was only developed for military purposes, it initially had no civilian application. Yet, for some reason, it doesn’t bear the “original taint” that nuclear power clearly does.

  86. @JJ

    Personally, I believe that that method of accounting ought to be resisted. One ought to levy the utility for all compliance and decommissioning costs pro-rata on the basis of their output. The funds should be held in escrow so that in the event that the plant had to be decommissioned earlier than anticipated life-of-plant (e.g. 40-60 years) then that operator, (or another if that one had failed its compliance and fiduciary burdens) could have access to the funds for any remedies or upgrades deemed desirable.

    One assumes that improvements in technology will continue to arise in coming years, and subject to feasibility considerations, it would be nice to think that the state could reuqire these things in circumstances where the operator would not be subverting to protect its principal stakeholders.

    Personally, an installed cost of about $US5000-7000 per Kw doesn’t sound excessive to me (especially if these are plants that can make effective use of existing hazmat or do flash desal), though I note quotes for the AP-1000 are much lower.

    Certainly, the proponents of Heliostatic CSP or diversified wind, or tidal barrages will be hard pressed to approach costs such as this, especially when one considers connection costs. AIUI, they don’t include decommissioning costs either. In the case oif wind, this is no small problem since every upgrade of a wind farm with new more efficient and larger turbines requires ne concrete footings and the disposal of old materiel. Similarly with solar PV one will be hard pressed to grant a longer effective life than about 25 years and once agian, all this hard won materiel will have to be dealt with.

  87. I am curious how i kill someone with my GPS? Do I ave to club them to death with it? Annoy them to death with the voice? or use the instruction manual to bore them to death?

    You should get a job with the Department of Defense.

  88. @wilful
    Credible figures my eye Wilful. Absolute garbage. Numbers based on short run costings. Numbers that do not include accidents like Chernobyl and misuse like depleted uranium and political evils like Hiroshima. Your numbers are about as credible as the ducks quack itself and these sort of petty diddling twistings with numbers (I, the great Wilful, cant see beyond the end of my nose and my excel spreadsheet beyond the costs of private firms and beyond their profits…to calculate how much profit some firms need to build a reactor)

    ….are the most narrow, petty, costings that cant ever and wont ever be able take into account the real costs of nuclear.

    You need to get out more Wilful and I dont care if you want nuclear for Australia. I dont and lots of others who are more sensible than you and have a bigger picture than your nonsense costings (or for that matter, Frans extensive “communication perfect storm” of pro nuclear propaganda), dont want nuclear for Australia either.

  89. Numbers that do include chernobyl, and Hiroshima, since you obviously didn’t look. God knows why nuclear power should have to account for DU weapons, or Agent Orange. Maybe it should account for nuclear medicine?

    All the rest, emotional verbiage. I want to keep the lights on, I want climate change solutions, you want pixie dust.

  90. @Fran Barlow
    You write in response tro my comment “its still an ugly destroyed wasted dead zone”

    “Speaking of Chernbyl …

    its still an ugly destroyed wasted dead zone

    Well not to the recovering wildlife there.

    More biodiversity at Chernobyl
    August 12, 2005 Nineteen years after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, researchers say the surrounding land in Ukraine has more biodiversity. Some 100 species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of threatened species, as well as bear and wolf, have been found in the evacuated zone, says Viktor Dolin, of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences in Kiev, reported the Moscow News Thursday. There are a lot of mutations in species but they get weeded out and many young fish living in the reactor’s cooling ponds are deformed. But adults tend to be healthy, implying that those harmed by radiation die young, said James Morris of the University of South Carolina.”

    Wow this idiot comment really takes the cake Fran. There isnt a human being in Chernobyl. Not one living there….

    Yet plants have grown at Chernobyl….how utterly amazing is that????. Of course they have grown – and they didnt die of thyroid cancer or leukaemia. Isnt it wonderful we have such wildlife diversity somewhere we humans actually cant even live or grow food from or eat anything produced there…nice trees to look at – just dont walk on the grass, touch the lower branches or dig up the soil underneath.

    Unless you are insinuating Chernobyl is now OK because Humans who return to Chernobyl will eventually turn into mutants if they stay there…..and all this is great news because it adds to wildlife diversity

    Hmmm really interesting take Fran but Im tiring of the pro nuke lobby group of yourself and Wilful in this thread. Im tiring of your persistence and your sheer volume every time the topic comes up. Its ill thought out propaganda Fran.

  91. @wilful
    Nuclear energy doesnt have to account for agent orange Wilful. Stupid people do though and there are no doubt many similarities between the pro agent orange camp of the 1960s and the pro nuclear camp of the 2000s plus. Some forms of stupidity in mankind have a longer life than uranium itself.

  92. @Alice
    Fran was just commenting that the phrase you used, “ugly destroyed wasted dead zone”, was simply not true.

    But no one is defending the Chernobyl accident, nobody has to. It has about as much relevance to the nuclear power that Fran and I are advocating as a 1970s Ford Pinto driven by a blind drunk man late on a Saturday night versus a Volvo estate driving to school.

  93. If you’re taking “pro-nuclear camp” to mean those supportive of nuclear weapons use, then there might be a similarity with the pro-agent orange camp of the 60s. Nuclear power generation is not nuclear weapons.

  94. Presumably someone has done the maths to see how many accidents it takes for nuclear (at coal replacement levels) to exceed coal wrt to deaths and decline in ‘quality years’. As we know continued use of coal at current outputs is incredibly toxic it would not surprise me to find that nuclear is safer in the shortish term. How it stacks up after say 1,000 to 10,000 years given global usage and some reasonable assumption about accidents with concomitant environmental write-off I don’t know.
    And it isn’t that important because neither coal nor nuclear are necessary and nuclear is only attractive if you are looking for a plug and play business as usual transition away from coal/oil/gas as energy supply.
    Personally I’d rather see renewables for a range of reasons – one of which Ernestine touched on in terms of decentralisation and autonomy – another being the expansion of research across a much broader range of disciplines than that required by fossil fuels or nuclear. It follows reasonably that the potential for spinoff domains of interest is greater.

  95. Australia has enough potential for renewable resources to take over from coal. But I’m not sure a place like China could, and still maintain its pace of economic development. If China were to make a rapid switch to nuclear power and away from coal, the net effect long term effect would be to save the lives and health of millions of people. Speaking of China, if its cancers, birth defects and poisonous waste that is of concern, when are we going to start treating all our cheap manufactured imports with the same horror we reserve for the nuclear bogeyman?

  96. @gerard

    As a purely technical question, Australia has enough, but the cost of making indutrial-scale use of these would be prohibitive. Some places don’t have the technical capacity but the difference is moot.

    How would Japan go using renewables … do you suppose?

    Japan would be an immediate beneficiary of an all nuclear power grid in China because its airmass would be radically cleaner.

  97. nanks :
    nuclear is only attractive if you are looking for a plug and play business as usual transition away from coal/oil/gas as energy supply.

    Except that when you talk about “plug and play” you really mean that if the government was to make a decision immediately, it would only take 10-12 years for the first plant to be operational. It would take at least 3 years to do necessary siting and environmental approval. 2 years of procurement and contract negotiation. 7 years to build and commission.

    So assuming the decision is made immediately (which it wont be) then we could expect to have the first plant online in 2022. With a few more to follow after that. Doesn’t really sound like a “plug and play” solution at all.

  98. seven years to build? Why? China is building them in three years. And why would you need to run contract negotiation after environmental approval, they can be run concurrently.

    but yeah, these things do take a while to build, and given community feeling, it would be ten years or more. As a matter of fact, I don’t think any nukes will be built in Australia before 2030, due to opposition. Until then, we’ll remain the dirtiest nation on earth, while struggling with brown-outs and saddling ourselves with hideously expensive and unreliable renewable ‘solutions’.

  99. @wilful

    Since (all credible) government studies find that nuclear is one of the most prohibitively expensive options, what adjectives do you use to describe the cost of nuclear? Hideously, hideously expensive? Any solution that relies on discounting significant costs to future generations should also be seriously questioned (on that basis alone).

    You are correct in identifying that the ramp up time for nuclear (plus regulatory hurdles and public opposition) mean that it isn’t a solution for the next 20 years.

    Since we need GHG reductions in the order of 40% in this time frame, we need to be clear that nuclear isn’t a serious, nor effective, solution over the short to mid term.

    Credible alternative solutions are outlined by a number of people, including Diesendorf (and despite attempts at obfuscation, appear perfectly valid). Regardless, the exact make up of any final energy mix will become clearer when we get a robust and stable carbon price above $30/tonne.

    Nuclear proponents are possibly better off focusing on research in fusion.

  100. “You are correct in identifying that the ramp up time for nuclear (plus regulatory hurdles and public opposition) mean that it isn’t a solution for the next 20 years.”

    You can say the same for any large-scale renewable scheme.

  101. @nanks

    Of course, like going to the nuclear crowd. Or the standard BAU apologists. But there aren’t any other good options but to keep advocating for reasonable responses.

  102. @iain
    Neither would any new potential big diggers of uranium.

    Puts a whole new slant on the old Ozzie expression “digger” doesnt it?

    Maybe its time we stopped digging our way to riches and started manufacturing and producing and building our way to economic health with less environmental vandalism (oh we are so good at it here in Australia – even when are emitting madly we are also giving other nations a helping shovel or container load to dig their own graves) with some large scale sustainable clean energy infrastructure. Hmm – maybe we need to go back to the 1950s for that. Managed a hydro scheme back then did we? Wow. Thats impressive with a population half the size and unemployment low.

    But these days who really is in charge of vision….big BHPs vision of its profits…besides cant BHP sue governments for interfering with their free market rights? One too many publically constructed windfarms and they get the cheque book out and start suing for yours and my taxes?

    I dont see much hope we will get any emmissions reduced actually. First we have to face facts about past atrocious policies that ceded the most heavy weight power to the private sector and corporate lords. I never minded the private sector having a good healthy business environment – I just object to them using bully boy tactics over the rest of us and the government.

  103. We need nuclear power for all these submarines the DoD is building. It is ridiculous in this day and age to have submarines that are not nuclear powered. And if you are going to have submarines, where are the nuclear missiles. Its a poor submarine that doesn’t have a fuel complement of ICBMs. What if Fiji starts to get stroppy?

  104. Also, we need depleted uranium. Its twice as dense as lead and its armour piercing properties are unrivalled. Without using armour piercing shell the last Iraqi war would have taken as much as half an hour longer to have won. Maybe it would have been a half hour more of compelling TV viewing but that is not the point. It just wouldn’t have been as shock and awe-ee.

  105. @Freelander
    What if Fiji starts to get stroppy? (LOL Freelander)….problem solved? One nuke and thats the end of Kava ceremonies forever. You see those nuke reactors have a variety of productive uses dont they, according to this dismal lot in here.

  106. Iain, you give political and technical reasons why nuclear will take time. Large-scale renewables face different delaying factors, but they include political (1) and technical (2) ones. I put it to you that these would mean a similar deployment timescale to nuclear.

    (1) Overcoming entrenched fossil fuel interests, convincing the voters to spend more on electricity and local goods that have electricity as an input, overcoming NIMBYism with plant and line placement, etc.

    (2) Sourcing sufficient silicon for PV, scaling up geothermal from its current small experimental size, finding enough spots for wind turbines and then building them, building new gas and thermal power plants, upgrading powerlines, etc.

    Re Diesendorf, unfortunately you have given me a link to a Powerpoint presentation instead of something substantive, so I’ve had to glean what I can from it. Thus I may be misinterpreting his proposals. Having said that, I’m happy to give you my opinion on them.

    The emphasis on energy efficiency is something I applaud, and something often left out of these discussions. My preferred carbon tax would provide a big impetus towards greater energy efficiency. I’m also a fan of solar, biomass, and geothermal solutions. It might not be clear from my defence of nuclear, but I’d prefer we only used renewables for our power. So I’m glad we have many people pushing for their implementation, including Diesendorf.

    However, his criticisms of nuclear are poor (p. 5), his scenario includes no land clearing (though I suppose you could get net-no-clearance with enough tree planting), a reduction in aluminium smelting, something to do with agriculture (?), and apparently a reduction in population (p. 9).

    To cut to the chase – I don’t favour nuclear. But I also don’t have an irrational fear of it. It has risks, but everything does. It has costs, but everything does. What I’m most concerned with is that all risks and costs are borne by those who will benefit. The precise make-up of our power sources is beside the point, and I don’t really care which ends up being the cheapest and most effective. Put a price on the currently-unpriced pollutant that is CO2, and let our proven system find the best solution.

  107. @Jarrah

    To cut to the chase – I don’t favour nuclear. […] What I’m most concerned with is that all risks and costs are borne by those who will benefit. The precise make-up of our power sources is beside the point, and I don’t really care which ends up being the cheapest and most effective.

    That’s pretty much my position. I’m less in favour of nuclear than I’m in favour of what suite of solutions would most closely approach the optimal solution, or to put it as Professor Mackay does, I’m not in favour of nuclear, but I am in favour of maths.

    If there are places where the natural advantages of what we think of as renewables are significant enough to make it the best option, then by all means let’s have these.

  108. Iain @9, p2 provided a reference by a credible source, Diesenberg, UNSW.

    nanks @13, p3 pointed to positive externalities from renewable energy such as research involving possibly many disciplines, which in turn may result in spin-offs for local enterprises.

    gerard @14, p3, introduced a possible scenario regarding China’s decisions.

    Now it is interesting from an economic perspective.

    Suppose China were to switch to nuclear quickly. This would result in a reduction of coal exports from Australia. But it is exports of coal and iron ore which provides a significant source of foreign exchange and foreign exchange would be required to pay for nuclear plants since Australia hasn’t got its own tested nuclear technology.

    By contrast, developing a variety of renewable energy technologies provides not only meaningful work (job satisfaction) but also reduces the risk of financial macro-economic distress.

    The ABC program, landline, has shown several examples of how land-owners are enthusiastic about changing their methods of production to more ecologically sustainable methods which turn out to be also financially viable.

    My casual observations from conversations with real life individuals indicate that architects, builders, housewives and the proverbial ‘average family’ are quite excited about learning more about the environmental implications of their activities.

  109. @Ernestine Gross

    Iain @9, p2 provided a reference by a credible source, Diesenberg, UNSW

    [ugh it’s Diesendorf] He’s from this village rather than this peak 😉

    Amusing that you can’t get the name of this important person right even when it’s in the thread.

    Suppose China were to switch to nuclear quickly. This would result in a reduction of coal exports from Australia. But it is exports of coal and iron ore which provides a significant source of foreign exchange foreign exchange would be required to pay for nuclear plants since Australia hasn’t got its own tested nuclear technology.

    Breathtaking! How could anyone who is seriously interested in reducing world emissions, not to mention the immediate damage to ecosystem services and the amenity of humans in the footprint of coal harvest and combustion be less enthusiastic about the radical and rapid cut in emissions implied above than Australia’s balance of trade position?

    If I had Alice’s methodology, I’d now be wondering out loud whom you were working for. As it stands though I will observe that this is a level of parochialism that would redden the face of Barnaby Joyce. If China reduced their combustion of coal to near zero then the singler biggest argument the deniers have for not reducing Australian or US emissions (fugitive emissions) would vanish. The US would have to follow suit and so would India. What Australia managed in response would be almost entirely moot because a huge step forward towards combating environmental disaster would have been made. That said, if China built nuclear facilities on that scale then the marginal cost to Australia of adopting that technology would fall dramatically (perhaps to as little as $1100 per KW), so the argument about what the economy would afford would be silly. Nukes really would be cheaper than coal, even without a carbon price.

  110. @iain

    No one is arguing for resorting to coal here.

    Not directly, but implicitly, since nobody here has tried to show that any technology apart from nuclear can (on the timiline neded and at ac ceptable cost) do the job now being done by coal (even allowing that that job might, ceteris paribus be less with some demand management, energy efficiency etc). You are paying lip service to renewables but in practice it is a fantasy and must be deemed so at least until someone can show that it is a plausible way of meeting projected demand in the most plausible scenarios when we need it to happen. Until that time, it is really cover for something very much like business as usual. While it may be more culturally felicitous to say “I’m for renewables” instead of “what ya gonna do?” stripped of the handwaving, that is what it is. One might as well say things such as “one should never abandon hope” for all the difference it makes.

    Nuclear proponents are possibly better off focusing on research in fusion.

    This is hugely revealing. You, a proponent of technologies that are utterly unlikely to work at the scale needed anytime in the foreseeable future invite us to become invested in technologies that are even less likely in that time to prove feasible. Fusion was about 30-50 years away from being feasible 30-50 years ago and it still is What’s next? A pot of free energy at the end of the rainbow?

    Also really revealing is this. Why would one who thinks GenIV is out of the question prefer nuclear fusion to nuclear fission. GenIV contributes as much new hazmat as fusion and is far closer to commercial realisation. You also overlook the fact that opposition to nuclear power is based, as we see in Alice’s case, on ill-informed fears of anything associated with the nuclear brand. Fusion wouldn’t change that even were it available.

    And what might one do with a “fusion” weapon … hmm?

  111. @Fran Barlow

    Fran @40,

    Yes I spelt the name of Dr Diesendorf wrong. Since I provided the reference on this thread there was no harm done.

    I am happy to have provided you with an opportunity to finally come up with a good joke (village rather than peak).

    I don’t work for anybody. But, since you are so interested in generating innuendos about people, I am asking you: Who do you work for? This is not a rhetorical question.

  112. @Ernestine Gross

    I don’t work for anybody. But, since you are so interested in generating innuendos about people, I am asking you: Who do you work for? This is not a rhetorical question.

    Plainly, you don’t read very carefully. I didn’t imply you worked for anyone. I said:

    If I had Alice’s methodology, I’d now be wondering out loud whom you were working for.

    Alice implied that I was one of a number of people working for someone merely on the basis of my belief that nuclear power was worth evaluating as part of the mix.

    Whom do I work for? The DET (NSW), as a high school teacher.

  113. @Fran Barlow
    Correction:
    Fran @36

    1. Yes I spelt the name of Dr Diesendorf wrong. Since I provided the reference on this thread there was no harm done.

    I am happy to have provided you with an opportunity to finally come up with a good joke (village rather than peak).

    I don’t work for anybody. But, since you are so interested in generating innuendos about people, I am asking you: Who do you work for? This is not a rhetorical question.

    2. Fran, you have again changed the topic from discussion alternative energy sources to only 2 alternatives, coal and nuclear. I have not talked about coal at all but about nuclear versus renewable. To make it clear to you, in the current policy debate, the term renewable refers to sources other than fossil fuel and nuclear.

    3. My post was related to three specifed posts. None of them related to you. There is a reason.

    4. What are your qualifications? This is also not a rethorical question.

  114. @Jarrah

    Jarrah @30 says: “It has costs, but everything does. What I’m most concerned with is that all risks and costs are borne by those who will benefit. The precise make-up of our power sources is beside the point, and I don’t really care which ends up being the cheapest and most effective. Put a price on the currently-unpriced pollutant that is CO2, and let our proven system find the best solution.”

    Well, Jarrah, there is a fundamentally important questions I’d like you to answer:

    What are the risk preferences of future generations?

  115. @Ernestine Gross

    Well, Fran, you were wondering out loud!

    I was making a rhetorical point against Alice and underlining the perversity of the point you were making.

    What are your qualifications?

    Modestly well-educated and thoughtful citizen with an active interest in social justice and human welfare who has made it her business to systematically follow discussions by experts on this and related topics.

    @Jarrah

    [risk preferences] … are likely to be similar to present generations.

    Yes they are likely to be similar, but exactly how similar and what they make of the data from which these preferences derive and the extent to which these will be manifest in governance all have values that, even if they were all similar to now could generate sharply differing conclusions. Ernestine’s question is therefore moot.

  116. Fran,

    Yes, my question is “moot” as in “unresolved”.

    Therefore most if not all of your ‘stuff’ is empty pontification – you are out of your depth all over the place.

    To prove my conclusion wrong, please provide references for all your assertions throughout this thread. By reference I mean author, publication, date.

    IMO, you owe an apology to Alice (and to Terje regarding ‘feasible’; his usage of the term is perfectly consistent with the usage in economics).

    I note you are not prepared to state your qualification.
    .

  117. @Ernestine Gross

    No Ernestine, it’s moot as necessarily unquantifiable when it stands to be actionable.

    IMO, you owe an apology to Alice …

    Noted, you don’t say what for …

    and to Terje regarding ‘feasible’; his usage of the term is perfectly consistent with the usage in economics …

    His usage of ‘feasible’ in the context of public policy or organisational behaviour was vacuous …

    The rest of your claims are merely emty breastbeating …

  118. @Ernestine Gross
    I agree Fran is over her depth all over the place Ernestine…I just not quite sure why Fran has become such an avid pro nuclear advocate and I question whether it her political affiliations rather than her true beliefs…perhaps modestly well educated is a description that fits well.

    There is a lot of that in here….

  119. @Alice

    I’m an advocate of what can work Alice. So far nobody has shown that any suite of options not including nuclear power can work, nor has anyone shown that the large parts of the world that use nuclear power will abandon it.

    Show me a suite of options not including nuclear power that meets feasibility on a global scale and is not simply wishful thinking and I will be as keen as that as any other simialrly plausible set of options.

    So far though, all I’ve read here from those with a bee in their bonnet about nuclear power being unthinkable is special and specious pleading agains a fair evaluation of the options. You are arguing, de facto for business as usual because nobody in a position to make decisions on these matters will deprive their populaces of the power they demand or choose options that aren’t economically viable for the people putting up the cash or incurring the liability.

    For those in power now, the world kind of works and the fact that it may become catastrophically bad in the foreseeable future is not something that bothers them greatly. That setting will probably hurt most people but yet you and Ernestine spend your time prattling about things that don’t have the proverbial snowflake’s chance in hell of flying and hurling moraliostic abuse at anyone who says otherwise.

    That conduct is a matter for you, but you have not earned the right to describe your conduct as rational. It isn’t. It’s visceral and emotional.

    I don’t like coal and I’d like to see its use ended ASAP. Note though the “P”. If coal burning in a given setting is less nasty than all other possibilities, I’m for it until it isn’t. That’s how rational people work stuff out.

  120. Now that India is directing harsh words toward us, we need to match their nuclear capability. With our growing fleet of submarines (suitably modified) we can regain some international respect.

    And most importantly….

    Australian cricketers ought to be free to humiliate foreign teams unmolested!

  121. @Fran Barlow

    Pat Robertson has it all wrong. I have it on very good authority, that this particular ‘act of God’ was the unintended consequence of someone, undeserving, praying to Mary MacKillop.

    Question is, Will this negate one of her two miracles?

  122. @Ernestine Gross
    LOL – but Im too tired. I started a new job today and earned my keep well. Saved the company 4791.56 by finding a duplicated payment – one of them to the wrong customer. What a windfall on your first day. The owner thinks Im wonderful (I am…. but I told him “dont get too excited – Im spending it your accountants charges – your books are in a mess!).

  123. Freelander :@Fran Barlow
    Pat Robertson has it all wrong. I have it on very good authority, that this particular ‘act of God’ was the unintended consequence of someone, undeserving, praying to Mary MacKillop.
    Question is, Will this negate one of her two miracles?

    Good one, Freelander.

  124. @Ernestine Gross
    Yes JQ- sorry for any shenanigans – but Freelander is actually being very funny (and so is Ernestine)! Its hard not to laugh at the costings of the pro nuclear arguments. There is always the unintended uncosted consequence (unfortunately no miracle).

    I dont really think there was any ill will intended.

  125. @iain

    The link you point to is a series of propositions rather than a detailed account of the GHG implications of various packages of measures.

    Doubtless, much of what Diesendorf proposes here makes good sense and are measures I’d strong endorse, but that doesn’t entail believing that these will reduce net Australian GHGs by anything like the 60% by 2020 he proposes as necesssary and still less that this could be applied on a world scale with similar effect.

    The other problem is that such measures are “one-off”. While they would cut growth in per capita emissions by some percentage (let’s call that x% since we don’t really know what it is) that’s all you get. Growth in the demand for power (and for food, which is also very GHG intensive) continues. While it reduces GHG-intensity it doesn’t enable the world to retire and not replace energy capacity. It’s very clear over the next few years, particularly if the area of arable land shrinks due to coastal inundation, desertification and population grows etc that more energy will be required to pump/desalinate water, produce fertiliser, pesticide, transport food, keep it refrigerated etc.

    No amount of using solar water heating or resort to solar panels or wind farms will change that.

  126. Fran Barlow :
    @TerjeP (say Tay-a)
    It’s possible to use derision in a civil tone.

    No not really. Derision is disrespectful pretty much by definition. It is possible to disagree with somebody and to regard them as wrong or misguided in a civil manner but that isn’t derision.

    As an aside derision occurs at the ALS blog but it is actively discourages by the administrators. I’ve also intervened in the past to halt derision directed at John Quiggin via the ALS blog even though I disagree with Johns worldview. I’m now less sure about whether I would bother in future.

  127. @jquiggin

    John,

    I had a look at the first references Fran Barlow provided @12, p4 of this thread. I am not sure whether to be amused or to be alarmed. Consider the line

    “Even in the best regions PV provides no energy for up to 15 hours on a hot and clear summer day.” Source: Ted Trainer, 2008 RENEWABLE ENERGY – CANNOT SUSTAIN AN ENERGY-INTENSIVE SOCIETY, UNSW, referenced by Fran Barlow.

    There is a Dr Trainer, School of Social Work at UNSW. https://www.dir.unsw.edu.au/cgi-bin/search.pl?person=Trainer&soundex=on

    Trainer, F. E. (T.), (2006), The Simpler Way website, http://ssis.arts.unsw.edu.au/tsw/
    https://www.dir.unsw.edu.au/cgi-bin/search.pl?person=Trainer&soundex=on. This web-site works. Others referenced in Fran’s article under T. Trainer don’t.

    I don’t know whether Dr Trainer knows about Fran’s reference. Be it as it may, I object to Fran Barlow integrating any part of version of my name into her stories.

    PS: If some people want to write for the pleasure of writing then Freelander’s question seems a good one.

  128. If advocates of renewables need to answer Ted Trainer’s criticisms, then presumably advocates of nuclear do as well, since, according the the document Fran has linked to, Trainer concludes that nuclear is not a solution either. If the summary is accurate, Trainer’s view appears to be that economic growth must cease.

  129. @Ernestine Gross

    I think the things that people like Plimer and Lord High Admiral Monckton say, constitute derision; although they do augment their stupidity with ordinary garden variety derision as well.

  130. @Ernestine Gross
    Ernestine..Fran is slightly smarter than your average troll but the sheer persistence with which she pushes the pro nuclear barrow and drops meaningless references (incorrect at that) spell only one thing for me Ernestine…Ive had my suspicians for quite some time. People like this use communication strategies to make others think they have some knowledge

    Alas…they have an agenda..not knowledge…but Ill use the word pro nuclear concern troll. I think you know what I mean….but in case you dont EG …you guessed it yourself already. Half of what she posts is utter rubbish.

  131. Tim Macknay :If advocates of renewables need to answer Ted Trainer’s criticisms, then presumably advocates of nuclear do as well, since, according the the document Fran has linked to, Trainer concludes that nuclear is not a solution either. If the summary is accurate, Trainer’s view appears to be that economic growth must cease.

    Yes, I have also noticed Fran Barlow’s own goal.

    My point is that I doubt the authenticity of the paper referenced by Fran Barlow. This article contains many statements which I wouldn’t swallow without verification. I picked the simplest one-liner I could find easily to illustrate my point, namely “Even in the best regions PV provides no energy for up to 15 hours on a hot and clear summer day.”

    Do you know any locations on earth which belongs to the ‘best regions’ for Photovoltaic electricity generation which has only 9 hours of daylight (24-15) on ‘hot’ and ‘clear’ summer days? I don’t, even if I allow for differing local notions of ‘hot’ (eg 25 degrees in Helsinki, 45 at Cobar, 35 in Singapore, 35 in Melbourne, …). Dust storms, volcanic ash, or bush fire haze do not match ‘clear’.

    Would you go to a School of Social Work at any university for your primary source of information on any question regarding energy sources and environmental sustainability? I wouldn’t even though I value the work of social workers, particularly when they have to deal with the consequences of ‘concerned social advocates’ (with or without alleged employment as high school teachers), who mess with young people’s heads in the blog sphere.

  132. @Alice

    I haven’t found one bit in Fran Barlow’s ‘stuff’ which is credible. The funny bit is, I gave her credit for having made a joke at my expense with her translation of my misspelling of Dr Diesendorf’s name. But upon checking, she got even that wrong. The English word for the German “berg” is mountain and not “peak” as she had written.

    I had hoped after John Quiggin’s interception this thread would die off – no chance. Fortunately I am not busy at the moment. (Hope your job continues to go well and you have a good time.)

  133. @Tim Macknay

    Blckquote>If advocates of renewables need to answer Ted Trainer’s criticisms, then presumably advocates of nuclear do as well, since, according the the document Fran has linked to, Trainer concludes that nuclear is not a solution either …

    That’s what is refreshing about Trainer. He’s actually far more logical and consistent than most advocates of renewables who really want fossil fuels to stop. He asserts that this side of dismantling the usages of consumer society, you can’t get rid of fossil fuels. Now plainly, I disagree with him about the potential of nuclear power, (his calculus about EROEI on nuclear relies on the flawed van Leeuwen and Smith and he is plainly not considering Fast spectrum either) but if we are not to have resort to nuclear power then it’s either Trainer’s approach (renewables + small scale non-energy-intensive society) or at best a modified business as usual with fossil fuels.

    Ultimately Trainer is quite right though — with renewables you would need massive redundant capacity and a parallel system of nuclear/coal to run societies operating roughly like ours. If Trainer is right and nuclear and coal can’t do the job then renewables can’t either — hence his conclusion.

    Trainer’s most serious problem though is that he doesn’t outline how you can seel a sufficiently large share of Australia’s or the world’s populace on the idea of abandoning mucgh of the lifestyle they’ve come to expect and likewise persuading the nearly 3 billion who don’t have food and water security and dream of living as we do now that this is a pipe dream — especially when it is first world societies who have largely authored the problem.

    So here’s where advocacy for renewables as replacement for fossil fuels leads — to (at best) an acceptance of a slightly tarted up b-a-u scenario in which GHG intensity falls slightly at very considerable expense but by near century’s end the world’s ecosystem services are now on an irretrievable path to collapse. The coal is largely gone and so is the oil. We are tracking 3-6 degrees of warming, and the world’s 9 billion people or more are squabbling over the last arable land and mineral resources. But in the meantime we can go all cognitively dissonant now because at least we managed to keep nuclear power to a minimum and by 2080 those of us responsible for that will all have long before drawn our dying breaths.

    That doesn’t sound like an appealing scenario even if I won’t be about to see it.

    PS: And for the record Ernestine, while berg also does mean mountain in spoken German it also is used metaphorically to mean “peak” as in the zenith of a line graph. To “break the back of some problem” is rendered in German as über den Berg sein (to be literally over the hump, back, peak, hill etc). I actually studied German and lived there. Of course Die Spitze is also possible.

  134. @Fran Barlow

    Fran, the reason why I pointed to the link was because you did not explain why you thought Diesendorf’s “Greenhouse solutions with sustainable energy” was incorrect. You complained of having to re-read 400 pages to summarise his position.

    I pointed to a summary of his arguments to highlight why your “summary” of Diesendorf was considerably offtrack. Obviously, the substantial version of his power point is contained in the work he references at the end of this file.

    Again, I challenge anyone on this thread to point out any significant error in Diesnedorf’s work “Greenhouse solutions with sustainable energy” (without resorting to one or two inconseqential quotes from Brook’s site, or resorting to the view that Diesendorf does not offer a substantive input).

    If there is one nuclear proponent in this thread that can do this, I would seriously consider revising my opinion.

    I am not aware of any significant flaw in Diesendorf’s analysis (besides, obviously, the valid points that Salient Green and nanks have made, which most people on this thread generally agree with).

  135. Alice & EG – what are your thoughts regarding proposes Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactors. Do they address any of your concerns about nuclear energy?

  136. Fran @4/12

    No one has to address Ted Trainer’s idle thoughts, they are total crap coming from someone who knows jack**** This set off the filter and forced me to edit it. Please avoid coarse language in future, or I will just hit delete and save myself time – JQ about engineering (Faculty of Arts at a quick glance). This also frames 7/8’s of Australia’s environmental problem, engineers do not go into politics.

    For what little it is worth a technology partner and I are currently assessing current proven technology that will enable us to put 10Kw of solar power (actually up to 20Kw depending on climate and dwelling energy requirements) into every new house for as little as $A15,000. And the material content in this system is neglible in real terms. We came upon this opportunity quite by chance as a result of a conversation which led to some words from which a google search delivered this connection. In principle this system applied to every dwelling solves 2/3’s of Australia’s new energy infrastructure needs (not that that would happen). On the liquid fuels front we have promising technology to produce Algal Oil, which is currently snagged by the small amount of CO2 in the air (.38%), we are looking for CO2 concentrator technology. During the holiday break I aided another technologist who is working on a biomass project for which he has a patent and which looks extremely promising (no great science involved just a different way of perceiving existing resources).

    There are solutions. Simple solutions. It simply requires determination and insight to grasp these solutions to solve the problems that we face. In the engineering world this is going on in every corner. By contrast, in politics we have sneaky people eeking out self serving, greedy hidden agendas.

    I watched the Air Crash Investigation of the JAL123 accident last night. I remember when this accident occurred and I remember what was published at the time. But I was horrified to learn from the more detailed account of the accident that many people survived the crash, and a US helicopter arrived over the crash site immediately after the accident and was preparing to lower a rescuer to the surface. But because of infighting between Japanese rescue services the US (military) helicopter was order back to its base and Japanese resuers did not arrive until the next day and by foot. Consequently there were only 4 survivors instead of many more. To my thinking there are many close parallels between the handling of the JAL accident and the way climate change is being addressed. The Ted Trainers of the world fit into the negative influences in this scenario.

  137. TerjeP (say Tay-a) :Alice & EG – what are your thoughts regarding proposes Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactors. Do they address any of your concerns about nuclear energy?

    Nice try, Terje, but no luck.

    I could write down a list of questions which would be of interest from an economic perspective. I would do that in a research group environment with people who have expertise in the relevant natural sciences. If I were to write these down here, I might run the risk of getting replies from Fran Barlow and co.

    PS: For the record, I don’t agree with Fran Barlow’s approach to avoiding having to admit to have made a mistake regarding ‘mountain’ vs ‘peak’. If she were to ask me kindly, I would explain.

  138. @TerjeP (say Tay-a)

    Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactors? But where do you get those useful by-products – plutonium and depleted uranium (which have so many handy uses)?

    No, liquid flouride thorium. Simply not good enough!

    Besides, could be a bit dangerous. What if the liquid leaked?

  139. TerjeP

    I think people may be getting fed up with comments about how some new concept for nuclear reactors solves this or that issue or concern.

    Trainer may be right – the problem is economic growth. However I think the problem is worse than this.

    The real problem is twofold – one, the undeveloped world seeking, rightfully, the same standard of living in the OECD economies – two, population growth (outside China).

    Of course there is no solution to this unless we get rid of growth-based economics.

    There’s your problem.

  140. @Chris Warren

    Of course there is no solution to this unless we get rid of growth-based economics.

    This is the most significant of your claims yet it is a thought you don’t develop. If you are right, then what you are advocating (assuming you want a “solution”) is a sharp reduction in the standard of living of the citizens of the world as a whole, especially since worl population will probably be 23-25% higher in 2050. It’s also most unlikely that that reduction will be evenly borne, meaning that an even larger proiportion of the owlrd’s populace will be seriously deprived of the necessities of life.

    In such circumstances can one expect that people who are on the margins will simply accept their fate? That would seem very doubtful. Can we expect that they would challenge those that had resources or arable land, water, food etc for a share of them, violently if necessary? Almost certainly? Can we expect that those that had them would simply hand them over? Unlikely.

    “Powering down” is not an option without massive human costs, particularly when one must at least grow world production of goods and services by about the same as world population growth simply to avoid reducing living standards. Yes there’s some scope for greater efficiency, reduction in waste etc but if the world’s population grows by 1.5% you are going to need all of that in goods and services growth less what people are willing to go without. So reversal of world growth without sharp coterminous declines in world population would be disastrous and that has little to do with western desires for flat screen TVs.

    It’s worth noting that a number of the most significant nuclear weapons states — China, Russia, Pakistan, India are going to be seriously impacted by climate change. What happens to the operation of that 1960 water treaty India and Pakistan signed if rivers fed by glacial melt delivering water to Pakistan stop delivering it and make dry land irrigation there much less feasible? And in what part of Indioa are the headwaters of the rivers they’d be looking at? Go check out a map.

    This is the real problem — not that people can make nuclear weapons (and other WMD) but that circumstances might conspire to make them think deploying them would be sensible or that they had little to lose. Talk of asking the third world to accept less so we first worlders can keep having more won’t fly. And few here in the first world will accept much less.

    This side of all of us accepting a quantity of ecosystem service comparable to that in the middle ages, with all that entails, I see no prospect at all of renewables playing a significant role in the future. The only circumstance in which that might occur would be post the kind of roiling late century disasters that would impose changes on humanity that would not have been politically saleable. Even then though, beggar-my-neighbour style policies behind culturally circled wagons would seem more likely. Can there be any doubt then that nuclear power would be de rigueur?

    And that would surely be the tragic irony of today’s anti-nuclear fulmination. In order to foreclose a frivolous prospect of some local contamination we lay the foundations for a catastrophic setback to humanity’s fortunes in which nuclear weapons and other WMD are actually deployed.

  141. @Chris Warren
    I totally agree with your comments to Terje

    “I think people may be getting fed up with comments about how some new concept for nuclear reactors solves this or that issue or concern.”

    Naturally your comment sets off the sort of pro nuclear prolific rant that Fran excels in as above.

    Utter meaningless jargon like this comment of Fran’s

    “This side of all of us accepting a quantity of ecosystem service comparable to that in the middle ages, with all that entails, I see no prospect at all of renewables playing a significant role in the future. The only circumstance in which that might occur would be post the kind of roiling late century disasters that would impose changes on humanity that would not have been politically saleable. Even then though, beggar-my-neighbour style policies behind culturally circled wagons would seem more likely. Can there be any doubt then that nuclear power would be de rigueur? ”

    and Fran claims to be a modestly educated teacher?. “quantity of ecosystem service?” “beggar-my-neighbour style policies behind culturally circled wagons””anti-nuclear fulmination” “a frivolous prospect of some local contamination “??

    Nuclear contamination is a frivolous concern?????? – I dont think so.

    The only circled wagons are yours Fran.

  142. @Alice

    and Fran claims to be a modestly educated teacher?. “quantity of ecosystem service?” “beggar-my-neighbour style policies behind culturally circled wagons””anti-nuclear fulmination” “a frivolous prospect of some local contamination “??

    Nuclear contamination is a frivolous concern?????? – I dont think so.

    You continually hold yourself up to ridicule Alice. You can’t dismiss any of the above so you ignore it, with the exception of the one thing which you misunderstand.

    Concern wasn’t frivolous, but the prospect of contamination was.

    quantity of ecosystem service

    How much service the ecosystem provides humans — i.e. power, water, nutrient, shelter, other amenity

    beggar-my-neighbour style policies
    culturally circled wagons the idea that the needs of ‘foreigners’ are trivial compared to those of one’s own cultural community
    anti-nuclear fulmination“To issue a thunderous verbal attack or denunciation” + against nuclear (power)

    Anything else I can help you with?

  143. Fran

    Your reinterpretation of what I said was uncontrolled and excessive.

    People who try to impute their own ill-considered spectres of:

    “sharp reduction in the standard of living of the citizens of the world as a whole”, or of

    “larger proiportion of the owlrd’s populace will be seriously deprived of the necessities of life”, or of

    “asking the third world to accept less so we first worlders can keep having more”, or of

    some “catastrophic setback to humanity’s fortunes in which nuclear weapons and other WMD are actually deployed”,

    are pissing in the wind.

    Be very clear – none of the above misinterpretations are consistent with my views, and in any case, all are immature and unworthy exaggerations.

    If you want to do a threat analysis, then please consider the threats that arise if:

    1) the rate of temperature increase continues due to greenhouse gas concentrations plateauing

    2) the rate of temperature increase itself accelerates due to greenhouse gas concentrations rising.

    Controlling populations may produce various second effects, but whatever harm may arise will be many magnitudes less than would occur under 2) [above].

  144. @Chris Warren

    Chris — I very much doubt that you or Alice or any of the other advocates of a renewables-only/mainly strategy are contemplating the scenarios I raised. That’s the problem. You are under the impression that some combination of less consumption in the west on luxuries plus renewables is consistent with living much as we do now and allow the developing world to live similarly. It isn’t.

    It’s not just CO2 with which the world’s economies have been profligate. It’s water too, and yet as you and I know large swathes of humanity do not live remotely as we would accept living.

    The basic thing is this. To will the end is to will the means. It’s not enough to have a vision of how the world might be. One must have a plausible vehicle for getting there or abandon the vision as unrealistic. Your vision is simply not realistic, but to the extent people pitch it, they de facto support the consequences of making renewables the only acceptable alternative to coal/fossil fuels. Most people will always imagine that fossil fuels are the lesser evil, until it’s so obvious they aren’t that it’s too late.

    Nothing short of stabilising @450 ppmv ASAP (ideally no later than 2030) will work to avoid disaster (and even that is not necessarily enough). That can’t in practice be done using renewables. Some countries might track pretty close to the right number with lots of renewables and lots of expense but enough won’t to make it impossible. If we don’t keep the permafrost then that CH4 and CO2 alone will push us over. 2 Degrees C is probably too much but more would be a disaster.

    To do that we need rapid decarbonisation and without nuclear on a very large scale, it is not going to happen. Australia can free-ride for a while but most countries will have to go this way.

  145. @Fran Barlow
    Fran….there is nothing you can help me with. You speak nonsense. Consumption is the cause..you dont paste over an essential problem of excessive consumption of crap that is causing massive emmissions by developing and applying an equally dangerous technology as the one currently in existence.

    You are part of the “how can I keep consuming cheap crap” with less damage to the environment school…ah ha Nukes – great bigh ugly nuclear reactors that 20 years from now threaten to degrade their infrastructure? How much has Telstra invested in maintaining its lines? So lets get the private sector to build them and then degrade them unless the guvmint helps bail them out. I can see it all…..its a CON. Nuclear is a massive con.

    But you dont want to recycle. You wont consider solar. You wont consider wind power. You have no aptitude for any sustainable energy source consideration.

    There is nothing you can help me with Fran Barlow.

    There is something massive you can help yourself with though….broadening your narrow one track pro nuke mind.

  146. Furthermore Fran – its really interesting that of all the countries that now have nuclear power – it just so happens that those who use the most nuclear power appear also have the most nuclear weapons storage facilities. Im sure thats no accident.

    http://archive.greenpeace.org/wmd/

    Creepy Fran – you pro nukers. Just creepy.

  147. @Alice

    it just so happens that those who use the most nuclear power appear also have the most nuclear weapons storage facilities. Im sure thats no accident.

    It’s also the case that the three states most likely to use nuclear weapons (DPRK, Pakistan, Israel) have no nuclear power industry.

    @Alice

    You won’t consider solar. You won’t consider wind power.

    Nonsense. I just don’t pretend they are part of the industrial-scale answer.

    There is nothing you can help me with Fran Barlow.

    You don’t want to be helped. That’s a different thing.

    For the record, I’d favour waste being stored here as it is somewhat safer here than in most places, and with 4th Gen, we could use it as fuel.

  148. Alice – I think you’re completely wrong to accuse Fran of not considering solar. She has considered it, as have I and lots of others have also. I wish it were a scalable solution that would solve our energy and emission concerns. I studied photovoltaics in final year electrical engineering because I held great hope for the technology. I still do but not as a replacement for fossil fuel. It is neat technology as is solar thermal but they don’t cut it as a core energy solution due to poor capacity factor and transmission costs. You can claim otherwise but the detailed analysis (which you refuse to grapple with) does not back you up.

    In the great scheme of things it doesn’t much matter what Australia does. We can stick with fossil fuels, go nuclear or flush our economy down the tube. There isn’t many votes in nuclear power but there is even less in tanking the economy so I suspect our future will be based on burning fossil fuels.

  149. @fran barlow
    “at least grow world production of goods and services by about the same as world population growth simply to avoid reducing living standards.”

    I can’t see how this is true at all Fran – it would have to be the case that all goods and services now produced are necessary to ‘living standards’. i would agree with the comment if ‘living standards’ was replaced by ‘levels of production and consumption’. However as you know there is a diminishing return between increasing consumption and increasing quality of life once basic needs+ a bit are met. We can easily reduce consumption without impacting quality of life at all – in fact we would increase quality of life if consumption of, say, cigarettes, heroin, Rush Limbaugh, leaf-blowers, etc decreased without any replacement

  150. @TerjeP (say Tay-a)
    Right Terje…you and Fran dont even make room for sustainable energy anywhere in your arguments. You are both pro nukers which I consider narrow minded…anything to keep your own conumption going at levels unprecedented in history. Thats tge real “beggar thy neighbour attitude”. I dont object to buclear because in the short term its cleaner than coal and I (we – Fran and Terje) or anyone else doesnt have to address the consumption problem and wind is used as supplement and neither is solar in one of the sunniest countries on the planet.

    As if I fall for the …

    “Oh Alice – I know Fran has considered solar… and we are so very very sorry but it wont help but really we are well meaning people and you should just swallow nuclear even thogh its a bitter ugly pill – we know – but its all we have got – boo hoo” routine…

    I dont want to be rude Terje but its you and Fran that have your collective heads in a bucket of sand and are having problems seeing a way out….

  151. @TerjeP (say Tay-a)
    And this Terje …this statement of yours

    “In the great scheme of things it doesn’t much matter what Australia does. ”

    Is pure “beggar thy neighbour” when it comes down to it. The very thing Fran was complaining about, you both excel at. Fran is a troll and you have jumped on her bandwagon

    Terje – you have done it time and time again in here… pushed the denialist no intervention vision – only hyere in this thread – its replace filthy dirty with dirty and dangerous. JQ has noted it, many others have noted it…you may be one of the smarter libertarians but you know its wrong Terje. You are just being damn difficult and doing the wrong thing for mankind.

    If you have conscience it should be biting you on the bum right now.

  152. @Fran Barlow
    and she (Fran – the prolific pro nuke post deluger) would prefer (nuclear) waste being stored here in Australia.

    I dont know about nuclear waste but there is a lot of waste being stored right here in this thread courtesy of Fran.

    Complete waste of time in fact.

  153. Alice – you havn’t added anything other than a statement of anger and discust. I’m pleased you have human emotions but I don’t see a lot of point discussing them here. Try phoning a friend.

  154. The argument that “economic growth” is “the” global problem is false. The real problem is resources depletion. In principle it is entirely possible to have strong economic growth with a…contraction…of resource consumption. How is this possible? For starters it is happening steadily happening now. Efficiencies of performance driven by technology is the core. The most visible iconic form for this is the “iPod/iPhone”. Only a handful of years earlier to appreciate the creative performance of others required large floor standing significant energy consuming equipment . Now that capability and much more is available to all the people of the world in hardware that weighs just grams. And the service industry that feeds that capability is massive, while requiring very little in support resources to enable it. The main consumption of resources now is for the living support for those engaged in this form of industry, and that is a variable which can be influenced by persuasion and legislation. So if the “soft resource industry” doubles its output economic growth will increase without there being a significant increase in resource consumption.

  155. @Alice

    and she (Fran – the prolific pro nuke post deluger) would prefer (nuclear) waste being stored here in Australia.

    Given that we have nuclear hazmat in the world, I’d prefer it to be stored in the least unsafe place, all things considered. Wouldn’t that be any rational person’s viewpoint, regardless of his or her attitude to nuclear power?

    One of those least unsafe places would be here, and since Australia is an exporter of uranium oxide and is a party to NNPT, and since there are those worried about re-use of hazmat to produce weapons — would this not make sense?

    And if we found a way to degrade this waste to less weaponizable form, to produce power from it without adding to the stockpile of hazmat and were paid to take it, would this not also make sense?

  156. @nanks

    However as you know there is a diminishing return between increasing consumption and increasing quality of life once basic needs+ a bit are met […] in fact we would increase quality of life if consumption of, say, cigarettes, heroin, Rush Limbaugh, leaf-blowers, etc decreased without any replacement

    I completely agree. Indeed one might consider the question of the share of production/consumption spent on the military (along with the knock-on effects). I read that if the fuel used by the military alone were handed off to the world’s largest airline they could have a zero fuel bill.

    It’s unlikely in practice though that the first world will agree to these kinds of cuts in consumption and even less likely that the military will be substantially dismantled. If we could have a verificable agreement amongst the states of the woprld to cut real per capita spending on the military by 1% per annum and to reduce the sizes of their arsenals and logistics by at least the same amount that in itself would be huge, but I don’t see that happening. (the adjective I’d like to attach here would upset PrQs filter).

    The broader question is that even if we did all these things, extra goods and services still need to be produced, however you count the total. You still need to produce the things near the Maslow’s hierarchy stuff at industrial scale. At some point, you stop being able to eliminate wasteful consumption. Cutting waste buys us time — good thing — but it doesn’t change the long run calculus. This side of cuts in population or at least stability, growth is necessary if poor people are to become not poor.

    If we first worlders are outrageously successful in persuading our fellow first worlders not to be reckless and to strive for “just what we need” and diverting those resources toward people who don’t, then we buy useful time to do the other things that are also necessary. We put off the day of disaster or lessen its depth. We don’t cancel it though.

  157. Fran,

    Australia is a continent predominantly made from semi permiable sedimentary rock, with a massive and complex artesian basin. Just because there are barren suface areas where few desire to go does not make this a “suitable” dumping site for nuclear waste. Beyond that are the mangement times from hundreds to thousands of years, way longer than the life span of any previous civlisation, and certainly greater than any stable political environment in history. No present government can responsible force future governments and generations to bear that responsibility.

    What you are suggesting is that it is ok for someone to pay you to mind their child with you for a few minutes, then disappear for ever.

  158. @BilB

    Nuclear hazmat is not a magical substance. Essentially all you need to do is to house it somewhere that is secure from human contact in circumstances where it won’t get access to water tables opr the atmosphere.

    The volumes in question are tiny compared with CO2 and other fossil combustion releases. They are also tiny compared with the bulk of the decommissioning burden of renewables such as wind turbines or solar panels or even CSP.

    It is a fact that there are large areas on Australias land mass that have been gologically stable for orders of magnitude longer than the time for completed decay of the waste to background levels. The jurisdictional questions are far more salient, and Australia has stable governance and is presently fairly remote from the major areas of civil conflict.

    For the record, why don’t you draw up a management plant for the storage of the various levels of waste? Where would you have these stored?

  159. Moreover, the risk from long lived nuclear waste becomes vanishingly small if you choose a high enough discount rate.

    Remember, why should we care about future generations; what have they ever done for us?

  160. There are a few properties at Hunters Hill which the nuclear advocate(s) could move to for the purpose of learning by doing and putting their money where their mouth is. This would save the NSW tax payers a bit of money spent on belated decommissioning work.

  161. Fran,
    I would not create the materials in the first place. The only safe system that I can imagine is granular vitrification and deep burial in a very dilute form ie small grains mixed amoungst massive amounts of impermiable clay, preferably in the deep ocean on the edge of a rapidly subducting techtonic plate.

    The French have controvercially decided to bury theirs in low permiability clay beds. But what will bring that unstuck, depending on the amounts involved are that decaying nuclear waste emits heat and gasses while also having a variable neutron emission rate. What I can see going wrong with this plan is that the heat will change the properties of the clay allowing porosity which will provide the opportunity for progressively nuclear contaminated supporting material to become mobile thereby allowing the nuclear separation of the material to change offering the possibility of a critical mass event to occur. Of course the engineers have worked out all of the risks and have allowed for these things, just as engineers have before every disaster in history. The interesting one was the Marshal Islands test explosion which was planned to be a 4000 megatonne event but (woops) became a 15000 megatonne event (roughly) due to unforseen reactions.

    I know, Fran, that you prefer to think about Chernobyl as though it was a bad long weekend on the roads, but for everyone elses “entertainment” he is one account worth reading

    http://environmentalchemistry.com/yogi/hazmat/articles/chernobyl1.html

  162. @Freelander

    Moreover, the risk from long lived nuclear waste becomes vanishingly small if you choose a high enough discount rate.

    It does, but your flippant tone ill-becomes you.

    Consider this. While it is unlikely that we will discover a permanent technological fix for secure hazmat storage in the next ten years, it may well be twice as likely 20 years from now if there is any substantial expansion in the volume of waste to be dealt with and the costs of doing so. The further out into the future you push the consideration (250 years?), the more likely it is that we will come up with a good answer.

    We don’t know what the discount rate is and clearly, a technological breakthrough could occur anywhere along the timeline, so the real challenge for us to to adopt a strategy that allows us to manage the problem at low cost in human resources and risk until that day comes, precisely so that any discount rate works for us and those who come later.

    Our relationship with future generations is more complex than you allow. Clearly, if we mess up, we mess them up, but the reverse is also true and has been true all thoughout human history. What we learn and build we pass on as legacy, and not the least way of messing up is to hand them a problem that exceeds their resources to handle and is very serious in scale. That’s why GHG-buildup cannot be ignored. Unlike nuclear hazmat, CO2 emitted today will perturb the biosphere for well beyond 50,000 years. It cannot yet be stored securely in the volumes required for the time needed.

    That’s something the renewables-largely advocates miss. Their plan calls for large-scale resort to NG which is not only finite but CO2-emitting. The net-CO2 reduction is not the reduction from a CSP or a wind turbine but from the total package including the redundant fossil capacity. And if that NG comes (as some of it must) in the form of open cycle gas, then the savings fall still further since this more CO2-intensive relative to coal than are the most efficient closed cycle plants. These must be used since the more efficient closed cycle plants get damaged by being rapidly and repeatedly asked to meet slews (variations in the supply/demand balance) caused by supply from intermittents.

  163. @BilB

    Endlessly referring to Chernobyl, BilB, proves nothing. No amount of sadness about that disaster is pertinent to considering the marginal utility of fundamentally different systems operating in a significantly different regulatory context.

    What you don’t say is how much damage to the environment resort to coal rather than nuclear has led to during the same period and will author in the future. One could argue that the disaster at Chernobyl will not only come to prematurely end the lives of 4000 or so people and seriously damage the lives of many others, but it will have authored a context in which much more coal would be burned, killing and harming orders or magnitude more people for hundreds of years into the future.

    That of course is a failure of human politics because instead of knee-jerk reactions to nuclear — which we don’t often do with other industrial-scale systems — we might have responded by ensuring we simply didn’t repeat the Chernobyl system — a military grade reactor without a concrete housing operated outside of specs.

    Think of this — how many people were killed at Three Mile Island?

  164. Actually, you wrong there, Fran. The use of natural gas (NG) in the CSP (Concentating Solar thermal Power) hybride system, used to cover the non solar periods (13% in total), can be comfortably replaced with the use of biomass. And there are 2 projects that I am privy too that serve that need extremely well. One is a down draft gasifier that burns a broad range of biomass inputs to produce an ideal burnable output gas of CO (Carbon monOxide) and H2, plus biochar (this system is now in production I believe). The other is a project to use a biomass source that is massively abundant in Australia (can’t talk precisely about it because of confidentiality constraints).

    The biofuel component potential makes CSP 100% CO2 free and fully baseload deliverable 24/365. Another project that I am periferally involved with offers the possibility of 10Kw of solar power for every new house for as little as $15,000 per house, and with a complete payback period of 3 to 7 seven years without subsidy or special feedin rates. This project is really exciting and uses today ready technology with the certainty of higher efficiencies again in the near future.

    So the way that I see the future unfolding now is that the 3 cent per Kwhr levy will fund the basic 28 gigawatt fossil fuel power generation infrastructure replacement with CSP/Wind/Wave and Geothermal, and privately funded PV (high efficiency Photo Voltaic) providing the supply of demand growth to cover the transition to electrically powered transportation over the next 30 years. All of that for less than the cost of a McHappy meal per family per week for the next 30 years. With the ongoing bonus that the progressive increase in the number of families with houses containing the 10Kw sytems will steadily improve the standard of living for Australian families as this offers an income improvement of $3000 per year after the payback period of the system has passed.

    The future is potentially far more secure. The solutions are all there.

  165. @BilB

    1.What do you base the 13% figure for “non-solar” periods on?
    2. Where are the sources of the biomass feedstock and the putative biomass combustion plants?

  166. Fran5/10, the reality that you have to cope with is that Nuclear is entirely unnecessary in the Australian context (refer BilB 5/11) and if it were employed on the east coast of Australia, any accident at all jeopardises the premium farming/residential land that Australia has to offer. And a Chernobyl scale accident, however unlikely, would be absolutlely devastating in this region, the region of highest population and electricity demand. These are risks that Australians are entirely averse to.

    You are pushing a barrow with a corpse in it. It is time to head for the cemetary, then get back to the living.

  167. Fran,

    1. The 13% figure was provided by Dr Franz Trieb,
    http://www.kfas.com/information_pages/pdf-news/Dr-Franz-Trieb.pdf
    (his phone number can be found on this document), and is based on the accumulated experience of all of the operating CSP plants.

    2. I cannot divulge that at this stage (confidentiality, I was involved in preparing samples for testing during the holiday break), but it is my undestanding that this is highly abundant and in near proximity to the areas where CSP plants are likely to be placed. However, it should be appreciated that the non solar periods are infrequent and provide more than ample time for stockpiles to be formed. This is a fully manageable facility which offers solid permanent employment opportunities for many inland Australian communties.

    2b the “putative biomass combustion plants” would be a combination of the standard hybride gas powered boilers with the gas, instead of being natural gas (methane), being supplied by the downdraft gassifier above mentioned (CO + H2). This downdraft gassifier system (a mobile version) was demonstrated to the energy minister in the grounds of parliament house just recently, I am told.

  168. freelander5/6,

    Well, my future generation, presently, provides me with delight and entertainment. What I am more concerned about, though, is that it will be they who managed my dotage, and they have been more than direct in reminding me that my future comfort will be managed by them.

  169. @Ernestine Gross
    LOL Ernestine…there is a real agenda going on here isnt there?? It is so very obvious…and that is to try to shove nuclear down peoples throats when they clearly dont want it here in Australia. I posted a link above. It really is no accident that the majority of nuclear weapons in storage happen to be close to nuclear facilities across the US and Europe and these shortsighted fools want to see them extend into the Southern hemisphere as well which is relatively free of the hideous weapons storage.

    Then we get the propaganda that uses every semi pseudo technical term wrapped in jargon and triple wrapped in a snowstorm of posts to try to convince us all nuclear is normal and safe and we could eat it on our weetbix. I wish they would just disappear for my childrens sakes and their childrens sakes. They are a danger to us all.

    Good on you BilB. I couldnt agree more with your comment at 13 “Fran5/10, the reality that you have to cope with is that Nuclear is entirely unnecessary in the Australian context”

    But I agree with this comment even more “You are pushing a barrow with a corpse in it. It is time to head for the cemetary, then get back to the living.”

    Fran – do us all a favour and take BilBs advice.

  170. @BilB

    I checked your linkt to Dr Trieb. There is neither a claim about 13% in it and still less any modelling to justify such an inference.

    Certainly, one can’t simply make such sweeping claims for every location, even if it turned out that there were at least one such location.

    What does 13% mean anyway? Plainly it can’t refer to the hours between dusk and dawn. It’s also not going to refer to the hours each day when there is some sun. CSPs can harvest at peak only when the sun is fairly high in the sky. Outisde those times you aren’t getting 87% of rated capacity.

    Now I would be willing to pay a significant premium to have CSPs here if they could replace coal within 5 years, but I’d need to see some solid modelling to suggest this was actually possible.

  171. Fran,

    In a CSP baseload capable systems the collector array takes in solar energy in the form of heat and transfers the heat with oil at 400 deg C to the enrgy conversion facility (boiler and turbines). As demand fluctuates during the day surplus heat is stored in either concrete blocks or molten salt tanks for use at a later time. During non solar periods (night time and cloudy day), the stored heat is transfered to the boilers to maintain continuity of supply. Where there is a short fall in heat storage gas burners or biomass burners come on line automatically to maintain the continuity of electricity output. By this method CSP performs the combined roles of coal power and hydro power but in the one facility. The 13% is the industry experience figure for the percentage of gas or biomass required for a CSP plant to maintain baseload performance. The figure was obtained from a phone conversation with Dr Trieb several years ago.

    Dr Trieb is Europes foremost authority on CSP power. He was engaged by the former German government (pre Angela Merkil) to evaluate and implement government policy with regards CSP electricity in the Eurozone. Dr Trieb is less available for phone conversations these days, but his email address is readily available if you need verification on the figures.

    There are two approaches to building expensive energy infrastructure. One is for the government to be the “owner builder”, the other is for the market to provide an “off the shelf” or “supplier takes all risk” approach. The difference is seen in the delivered electricity price. If you need modelling then Dr Trieb is the only person that I am aware of who can provide such from a government “owner builder” viewpoint. For the “supplier bears all costs and takes all risk” point of view there are an increasing number of consultancies and corporations keen to obtain that opportunity. Australia’s Professor David Mills being one of them.

    All systems at the moment are compared to the “coal standard” with regard to electricity generation cost. The coal standard (in the Australian context) is a system where the infrastructure has been paid for by the public and the assets have been written off, and is fueled with coal that the state “owns” and makes available at cost through independent mining contractors. It is for this reason that the proposed 3 cents per retail unit levy infrastructure funding plan is the only system that can deliver truly comparible electricity generation pricing. This is the only method whereby the replacement alternative energy infrastructure is provided in a “paid up” manner thereby removing the “mortgage” component form the delivered electricity pricing.

    If contracts were let today for CSP infrastructure, it would be 3 years before the first facilities came on line. By this time the retail electrity levy system would have 20 billion dollars accumulated. New capacity would come on line every year after that. The completion rate would be controlled by the available funding.

  172. @BilB

    I looked at your link, http://www.kfas.com/information_pages/pdf-news/Dr-Franz-Trieb.pdf.

    It contains an abstract of a paper by Dr Franz Trieb.
    I assume you explicitly referred to the address and telephone number because the full paper, possibly presented at a conference, is not available in the public domain for commercial in confidence reasons.

    Dr Trieb’s paper, like most research papers I’ve come across, signals its content in the heading: In this case: Concentrating Solar Power for Seawater Desalination AQUA-CSP. Dr Trieb’s paper talks about the specific case of North Africa and the Middle East. Anybody who has elementary education in geography will therefore know that this region is arid, it includes the Sahara desert, and it has an shortage of water. Its relevance to Australia cannot be dismissed a priori.

    I also had a look at the web-site of Dr Trieb’s affiliation: http://www.sollab.eu/dlr.html
    I found that Dr Trieb’s affiliation (place of work) is part of a large EU-wide research net-work. The content of this web-site signals support for your statements as well as those if iain on this thread.

    I am writing in this manner because I wish to illustrate to the target audience of ‘communicators’ (previously ‘advocates’, previously ‘spin doctors’, previously public relations experts, previously propagandists) that it is possible for non-experts in a field to carry out elementary checks on the credibility of the ‘stuff’ published .

  173. Exactly, Ernestine. The link was to the source of the information rather than the content. In this case the individual with whom I have had a number of lengthy conversations, with the intention of determining the suitability of the European CSP system for the Australian environment. In my opinion “a phone call saves a thousand emails”.

  174. BilB – if I read you correctly you are saying that a CSP plant can deliver electricity with the same reliability and flexibility as a gas only plant whilst using on average 87% less gas. If this is so then I’d regard it as a technically feasible alternative to our existing purely fossil fuel plants. It then becomes a much more simple economic question.

    The economic analysis I have seen still tends to put such alternatives in the very expensive category.

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