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THE SMALL NUMBER OF Australians vehemently opposed to uranium mining and nuclear power are obviously not avid readers nor weight-lifters.
If they were they would have seen the International Energy Agency's enormous 687-page, two-kilogram report on the world's energy outlook released last month.
The IEA lays out three scenarios for the growth in emissions-free nuclear power across the globe over the next quarter of a century and all are stellar for nuclear energy.
In any of the three scenarios, nuclear power is only going one way and that's up, which is terrific news for Australia. We have a massive natural advantage in resource endowment and, despite the over blown rhetoric of the industry's ideological opponents, an enviable health and safety track record.
More than 10,000 containers of uranium concentrate have been exported from Australia over more than 30 years without incident. We are geographically located near the fast growing energy markets in Asia where most of the 60 nuclear power plants currently under construction are located.
These fast developing economies will soon join nations like France, Canada, the United States and others where nuclear power has been providing cheap energy to homes and businesses for decades.
It's becoming so mainstream that nuclear energy is now drawing support from a wide-array of traditionally unhappy bedfellows.
The Australian Worker's Union is now in the same camp as conservative Republicans in the United States in their support for nuclear energy. These developments leave the remaining anti-nuclear campaigners completely out of step with the mainstream. There is no doubt current market conditions pose short term challenges for uranium miners, developers and explorers.
As the IEA growth forecasts and the growing consensus on nuclear energy shows, the industry's opponents are being over-run by the inexorable economics of the world's energy needs.
The simple fact is the world is going to need all sources of power to meet the world's growing electricity demands. It is not hard to work out why the future of nuclear energy and uranium mining is assured — it is affordable zero emissions base load energy that is readily available to help drive growth and economic prosperity around the world. No matter what Australia is the one if not the safest places to have nuclear reactors.Australia is not only one and if not the most tectonically and politically stable countries put a nuclear power plant. Uranium is not the only nuclear fuel.Thorium molten salt reactors are impervious to meltdown and totally safe. Currently generating only 5% of energy consumed globally (11% of electricity generation) nuclear power stations yield roughly 12,000 tons (that's 12 million kilograms) of highly radioactive waste per year.Involving heavy metals this waste is both highly toxic and bio-accumulative, that's before you consider its radioactivity. I can see the advantages of nuclear for generating electricity and other energy uses, however no one seems to be able to work out what to do with the waste. Yes debate over nuclear power is very important and primarily it needs to be understood that the very old technology used in Japan has no relationship on the current technology systems being constructed now. All of the high-level nuclear power waste created to date would fit inside a football stadium. The radioactivity of existing coal fire power stations exceeds that of nuclear power stations. Ziggy,You may prefer to get your radiation from the sun, however I trust you are aware that more people die from sun radiation every year in Australia than have been killed by peaceful uses of Nuclear energy world wide in the past 100 years.
Geothermal Electricity generation systems are being developed in Australia and I believe that one pilot system is already running. I can't comment on the environmental impacts of tidal power stations but it has been demonstrated that, in the case of one company's wave energy technology (that I won't name), it acts as an artificial reef, not only attracting sealife but increasing biodiversity also. Only those in the nuclear industry or believe those in that industry are saying that renewables cost more than nuclear.The cost of producing solar energy fell below that of producing nuclear energy in 2010 and has been continuing to fall since then. Perhaps the reason that Germany is shutting down all of its nuclear plants is that there is more money to be made -- in the immediate future for politically powerful people -- from burning lignite (brown coal) and natural gas imported from Russia.The German chancellor who initially negotiated the nuclear phase out, Gerhard Schroeder, received a substantial signing bonus from Gazprom, the state-owned natural gas monopoly in Russia within a month after he lost reelection to Angela Merkel. And, don't forget, Germany has the fallback of buying any extra power it's solar panels don't produce on those cloudy European days from Nuclear power-generating France! Best wishes to all ; especially for all of us having to deal with the nuclear weapons and waste that comes from exploration , mining , processing , enrichment of uranium [ 238 , 233 , 234 et al]. Helen - Please don't take this the wrong way - which means I think you will - but we are on the same page.
Wow - 1 out of 13 support you here Daniel - I don't think your argument is all that convincing. I wonder how many of those who 'Commented' here have heard of, or better still, seen a new documentary called "Pandora's Promise"? NUCLEAR is akin to cars.There are big cars, fast cars, small cars, slow cars - yellow ones and so on. Not only are all the previous comments rather valid, they have not even considered the environmental burden of extracting the uranium from the ground and processing it in to a form in which it becomes usable for fission. Do proponents of so-called clean, green solar and wind power consider the environmental burden of extracting components of manufacturing from the ground and processing it in to a form in which it becomes usable for energy production - let alone the issues with energy storage (e.g. The most important attribute of nuclear power, and the one that held most promise from the very earliest days is the very high energy density.


Damien,You may not be aware of the fact but when put into advanced nuclear - breeder reactors the depleted uranium stock pile and the plutonium stock pile can supply the whole of the Earths energy needs for the next 1,000 years.Uranium mining only needs to happen for older style nuclear reactors that will be made uncompetitive once the Integrated Fast-breeder Reactors (IFR) style reactors get the nod. It is understandable that the executive director of Uranium for the Minerals Council of Australia has such a bullish view of uranium. The first version of the public plaza located at the corner of Melville and Burrard in downtown Vancouver was removed to make way for a 2008 design, also by PWL Partnership which features both an expanded water feature, and a Cactus Club Restaurant.
Photos on website are examples of barndominiums and are not necessarily built by Tri County Builders, LLC. It should be compulsory reading for those who think Australia's uranium industry and nuclear power has a bleak future. Even the sector's former bitter enemies, like environmentalist Ben Heard from the Thinkclimate group in Adelaide, have actively embraced nuclear power.
The long term costs associated with nuclear power are such that it is simply inconceivable that it be developed. Its true nuclear power does not emit green house gases, that's a plus, but you can not call nuclear clear or emission free. There is now no part of the northern hemisphere where the ground has not been contaminated by airborne radiation from Fukushima, which is a disaster of many time magnitude worse than Chernoble.
The only reason the government is not investing in this technology is because we have a lot of uranium to mine.
With the (relatively) few operational plants currently in place we have stockpiles of spent fuel rods and no agreed safe way to dispose of them.
There are many ways to boil water, the question is what is the most cost effective and safest way of replacing the use of fossil fuels to boil water and fuel vehicles. Several other sites have been identified where the hot rocks lie reasonably close to the surface and their are also within reach of existing power feed lines.The main difficulty is drilling a 300mm hole down into the really super hot areas where steam can be generated, however every year their technology is improving in this regard and by the end of this decade there will be much more publicity.
We are in fact still fighting a rear guard action against the extreme right wing who consider all action to avert global warming a waste of money. But its hugely expensive Energiewende has failed to make their energy efficient, nor the environment cleaner.Germany is overhauling its entire energy infrastructure to embrace renewable energy sources and shutdown nuclear, but in reality coal consumption increased 8 percent in the first half of 2013 as new coal-fired plants are deployed to replace the 18% of Germany's electricity that nuclear currently supplies. It deals with all of the 'issues' above (eg Fukushima and more) surrounding the nuclear debate and merits IMHO a reaction, especially from the anti nuclear lobby.Released globally on 3rd Dec 2013, Pandora's Promise was produced by well known Environmentalist, Robert Stone. Not only that, uranium would just become a highly sought after commodity similar to our fossil fuels now. Properly managed that quality offers the unparalleled potential for the lowest environmental impact of any energy technology. Even the most optimistic of energy projections into the future indicate renewables will not produce the base load power required. In a country with huge solar intake and hence the potential to produce vast amounts of energy it is vital for our future that it be exploited. The waste product is very dangerous and toxic for hundreds of years, and accidents do happen, with long lasting effects.
The Pacific Ocean is probably not big enough to contain the effects of radioactive water currently being dumped into it, and if there is one mistake in the removal of fuel rods from the reactor, Japan and much of the norther hemisphere will be rendered uninhabitable.
I am interested to hear from those lobbying for growth in the nuclear energy industry as to what they propose to do with the expected rapid growth in waste? The roof color of buildings and vehicles has a huge effect on their energy consumption in summer in hot areas.
Breeding increases the effective amount of uranium fuel by as much as 8x because it converts the high-level waste into fuel and consumes it.
But also not to mention the death rate from mining and a long list of other toxic legacy issues.An increasing number of environmentalists are saying very clearly that coal must be closed down ASAP and replaced with advanced nuclear for a much better environmental out come. Currently, Nuclear is significantly cheaper and safer according to the independent studies that have investigated the matter.
However the cost of the electricity produced by these technologies is still way higher than the expected cost from Nuclear.
They know the build up of toxic waste will be a burden for future generations to have to manage.
For example with current reactors, 1 tonne of uranium produces about the same amount of energy as 20,000 tonnes of high quality coal.
Should you doubt this consider the UK where two very large off shore wind projects have just been cancelled because they are not economic (the Argll and Atlantic Arrays).
We could also put one out in woop woop away from densely populated areas with zero chance of a tsunami hitting it. That place will be a nuclear wasteland for decades if not centuries or even millenia to come.
In keeping a building or car cool there is simply no substitute to preventing the heat from entering the building in the first place. We should now start actively developing Nuclear power to replace our ageing fossil fuel infrastructure. No one can even guarantee all future generations will have the knowledge, skills, finances to continue to keep the waste secure.


Commercial media and Government Authorities seem unable to bring themselves to report the truth of this matter, and the sooner the world weans itself away from reliance on nuclear energy, the greater the chance of our grandchildren enjoying a normal, healthy life. Once it actually gets inside the game is over and a reactive cooling response such as air conditioning is needed. Accidents, terrorism or other disaster events would lead to more toxic legacy for future generations. The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change assesses nuclear as the lowest cost low emission technology now and for the foreseeable future.2.
I however, can guarantee a catastrophe if it is not operated safely - and I can also guarantee an accident, leading to a catastrophe.
A well sited and well performing wind farm that would produce the same amount of electricity would require 3,000-4,000 sq kms of land.In some ways we are still at the dawn of the nuclear age and many of the nations with the largest use of nuclear power have on their long term horizon an eventual evolutionary transition to a closed nuclear fuel cycle. The cost of spent fuel management is a small part of the cost of nuclear electricity and most credible authorities these days include these costs in overall cost estimates. Yes insulation helps however wool types are a simple heat storage system and prevent the building from cooling down in the evenings.
The more facilities that are implemented, the more robust my guarantee becomes, and the more quickly it will occur.Don't believe me? In most jurisdictions (including the US, UK and China) operators of new nuclear power plants must pay these costs. Yes, in theory, a city built with reflective roofs would reflect a huge amount of heat back out into space.
Such a closed fuel cycle has already been demonstrated at engineering scale at Argonne National Laboratory in the US.A closed fuel cycle makes far more frugal use of uranium resources than do current light water reactors using perhaps 30 times less uranium than current light water reactors.
This is done by accumulating funds in segregated accounts by means of a small levy on each kWh of electricity generated. No Houses should not be built on hot areas with black or blue roofs, yet sometimes we see entire housing estates built with these roof colors.2. The environmental impact is tiny - a piece of uranium (or thorium) the size of a golf ball (and producing about the same mass of waste) would provide all the energy needs for one individual at Western consumption levels for a full lifetime. It is very expensive to heat water, however in many places the hot water storage cylinder is relegated to either the outside of the building or a cold basement because of a lack of space and the possibility of a water leak. In terms of low environmental impact, no other technology (except possibly future fusion) comes anywhere close.It would be misleading to suggest that transition to a closed fuel cycle will happen quickly - it will take multiple decades. But the insulation provided inside the cylinder is extremely thin because they like to keep the dimensions tight. The end result is that massive amounts of energy is lost through the water storage cylinder walls in winter. This is the fundamental reason why uranium resources are not a constraint on the future use of nuclear power. The impact on natural habitat is the smallest of all technologies due to the very small land use.
In countries like Canada they provide insulation jackets but not here in Australia, plus there are no waterproof outdoor storage cylinder insulation jackets available anywhere in the world (that we could find).3.
And the full life cycle emissions (ie from construction, decommissioning, uranium mining, refining, enrichment and fuel fabrication) are comparable to those of wind power and less than those of solar PV. It does not seem that there is any resource constraint on significant expansion of nuclear power using current technology at this time, but should such a constraint arise sometime in the future it will be a matter of deploying advanced reactor and fuel cycle technology rather than attempting to extract uranium from reserves of ever decreasing quality. When the engines are worn they become much less efficient and the pollution increases, there are some countries where there is classic evidence of this problem.
There is very little connection between weapons and nuclear electricity generation these days.
Yet there are hybrid and pure electric vehicles which are very effective and economic for city driving.
Technology exists to sequester carbon dioxide from combustion , but it is make no money for the miners.
Light water reactors which comprise the overwhelming majority of the worlds reactor fleet are completely unsuited to producing weapons grade plutonium. I have friends who have an all electric car and solar panels on their roof, so they personally emit virtually zero carbon. Today most nuclear armed states have too much weapons grade plutonium and are seeking ways to dispose of it. If more countries could achieve the low emissions of France over a 20 year transition, then we should from a climate perspective be very happy about that.



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