Nuclear energy in Australia has recently been put forward by the Australian Federal Government in terms of having an assessment done. The politics for nuclear energy as we know has not been very good in countries like Australia, Germany and the US for many years. Australia does indeed have good reserves of Uranium Oxide (U3O8) ,and therefore would have abundant reserves for any nuclear reactor/s it decides to build. Australia has a technology led policy on sustainability given it is rich in energy yet challenged by sustainability. Pollution via carbon emissions will cause Australia significant problems in the mid-term if technologies are not implemented that reduce greenhouse emissions significantly.
Nuclear energy naturally happens in the Earth's crust via uranium by example. Uranium distributed through the Earth's crust gives heat to sustain core temperature. The question is do we interfere here and mine (U3O8) so that we concentrate versus leaving it dispersed naturally within the Earth's crust. Once we concentrate we then are faced with significant issues. We utilise the nuclear energy associated with Uranium by focusing on its main radioactive isotope being U-235.After usage we have a waste disposal issue and we need to disperse the radioactive waste back into the Earth's crust appropriately.
France by example has many nuclear reactors and it is now challenged by how to get rid of its nuclear waste. Nuclear waste is not only a major safety issue but it as well is a cost issue. These costs must be factored into the entire equation for a nuclear power plant. Nuclear energy for centralised power production with existing nuclear reactor technology is risky. The reactors to date that have operated safely can never give a 100% guarantee of safety. A 100% surety is impossible to give when a nuclear power plant is built, for not one(1) nuclear power plant can ever malfunction in a major way. Nuclear reactors in many countries under different policies add up to further increase the risk equation. The probability associated with risk can never be defeated. There will always be risk when nuclear power plants are built. The main risk is based upon the fact that living matter and nuclear radiation can never coexist. New nuclear reactors being the high temperature variety being developed for hydrogen production, may be the only variety of nuclear reactor that may be entertained in the future, to produce hydrogen as the energy carrier with electricity as the energy carrier. These new generation nuclear reactors are set for about year ~2015.
Energy risk management must be facilitated if nuclear reactors are being contemplated in Australia. The energy consumer today has direct choice as to "green energy" by example, in a more deregulated market. If nuclear reactors are entertained and built in Australia, the consumer will need to be carefully educated, if at all effective. Greenhouse gases need to be reduced quickly and nuclear energy can now perhaps be looked at more positively, but they can take well over a decade to be built.
My more personal view is that I have significant concerns about the proliferation of nuclear energy within Australia and to other countries around the world like China for example. There has been quite a large number of studies already performed on nuclear energy potential from around the world, and all concluded nuclear energy is expensive and dangerous. Significant concerns are thus warranted regarding Australia's current position.- 01.12.05
By the time centralised nuclear power power stations are built in Australia, they will be largely redundant by year 2025 and cost investors significant sums of money. The perpetrators of nuclear energy in Australia are not expert enough in alternate rival technologies, and that such alternates are currently exponentially developing in the world today. Not "looking outside the square" will prove to be fatal to nuclear energy in Australia. To use a year 2050 timeline in Australia regarding nuclear energy is almost comical.
We are entering the "Era of Non-Combustion" based on the need for far greater energy efficiencies and significantly lower emissions. This new "Era of Non-Combustion" was never designed to include nuclear energy technology, even though nuclear energy does not involve typical combustion. Distributed "Green" electricity production [base-load] is already happening via GridX P/L and their tri-generation power plant in the Camden-Macarthur area SW of Sydney. http://www.gridxpower.com/ This company is planning to go global in the future. Natural gas turbine technology is used to generate electricity and waste heat is converted for cooling and heating the houses. As new Australian rooftop tracking solar concentrator technologies becomes available from year 2008, and hydrogen fuel cell technologies as well become available before year 2010, they can be "Plug n Play" inserted replacing natural gas turbine technologies. http://www.fce.com/ To say that these technologies will not be significantly matured by year ~2015 would be foolish, and as well contradicts the current Australian federal government's existing policy of a technology led approach to future sustainability.
-Article by Stephen Zorbas
Copyright© Permission has been GRANTED[21.11.06] to reproduce this article.
NOW - Tackling global warming via education !
"A technology led approach towards future sustainability, should be complemented by the "push" of carbon trading administrative systems".In year 2010 from China's World Expo, Moonshot 2010 - World Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Science/Technologies Education Program will be launched. The objective will be to educate as many students as possible by year 2020 on hydrogen and fuel cell science/technologies, and the positive environmental impacts they have. This program has the potential of being the biggest world education program during years 2010-2020.
LPG as an option ? ETHANOL ! [Hydrogen Car] [ F.C.V.A.A. ]
World Fuel Cell Challenge [WFCC]
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