Japan situation proves it. They took extraordinary safety measures, and now we have a radiation leak. Who could support that? No way.
Japan situation proves it. They took extraordinary safety measures, and now we have a radiation leak. Who could support that? No way.
I knew someone with get off on this tack.
Coal is unsafe.
Wood is unsafe
Gas is unsafe
Petrol is unsafe.
Going out in the bloody sun is unsafe
Rain can be unsafe.
Roast bloody duck can be unsafe if thrown from a skyscraper.
Being bloody Green is very unsafe for the rest of us for gawds sake.
"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member." Quote Groucho Marx
Je suis Charlie
Have a look at all the nuclear disasters in history and ask yourself how many of those situations could realistically apply to Australia today if we used the latest nuclear technology.
We don't have 8.9 level earthquakes here. The full details of Fukushimaís No.1 reactor are not understood yet so I donít want to make any predictions or comments other than it was one of Japanís oldest reactors being over 40 years old and it was hit by one of the greatest earthquakes in history. Japan has 55 nuclear reactors making it the 3rd biggest user in the world, they also have more earthquakes than any other country.
Nothing in this world is completely fail safe given the effects of maximum adversity.
Don't forget that uranium is used in hospitals everyday to help save lives.
If there is a catastrophic failure at Muja power station (coal-fired, Western Australia) then the lights may go out in Perth, there will be some injuries to workers at the plant, and the rest of the country will hear about it on the news as a minor item.
We can send people in from the nearby towns, Perth or interstate straight away to help treat the injured and start cleaning up the mess and working out how to fix the power station. Beyond those at the plant, there is no real impact on the surrounding area beyond a bit of smoke, a few sirens and some media attention.
Likewise if Torrens Island (gas-fired, Adelaide metro area) blows up then the main issue will be a lack of power in Adelaide with the usual consequences of a blackout. That plus, given that the plant is only a few km from the city area, there will be rather a lot of people trying to get the best view of the fire etc. But nobody not actually inside the plant will be in any real danger from the incident. The main thing it would do is give Adelaide the national news headlines for a day but that's about it apart from an ongoing power shortage.
Same if something bad happens at a hydro plant in Tasmania. If there's a major hydraulic failure at one of the underground power stations then it's no secret that anyone inside won't likely survive. But at an above ground plant they'd simply run out the door and should be OK. Beyond that, it's just a matter of fixing the power station and dealing with the consequences of it not being in service (that is, a power shortage) in the meantime. If it happened somewhere well known like Tarraleah power station, no doubt there'd be a thousand people up there taking photos in no time. And they'd be perfectly safe doing so apart from issues of crating a traffic jam etc.
Contrast that with a nuclear plant failure and the situation is very, very different. A few injured or killed power plant workers and a lack of electricity are the least of concerns when we're talking about something that has the real potential to shorten the lives of millions of people, including many who live nowhere near the site of the power station and may not even know it exists.
TEPCO which operates the damaged plant in Japan also has many gas and hydro power stations, plus some oil and coal generation as well. Some of them have probably sustained some damage due to the earthquake, but you don't hear mention of them on the news and there's a reason for that. Worst case might be a few injured workers inside the plants and the fact that they are out of production for a while with all that entails (that is, no power and a financial loss to the company). But if there's a fire in a coal stockpile or an oil tank leaks then whilst it will pollute the environment and make a mess, it isn't going to cause permanent health damage to millions of people spread over a vast area.
So it comes down to consequences. The odds of a nuclear accident may well be low, but the consequences when it happens are absolutely more serious than a comparable accident at a coal, oil, gas or hydro power station.
I accept that there is a need for nuclear power at this present time, but I regard it as the power source of last resort due to the consequences if (when) something goes seriously wrong. Accidents happen, always have and always will. I'm not totally against nuclear, but I am strongly against using it in any place where a viable alternative exists.
Looking at Australia, we do still have the ability to increase hydro and wind power production (using the two together works well) despite popular belief to the contrary. We could certianly make a contribution to meeting peak system demands through solar thermal generation. And we could get at least some power from otherwise wasted biomass. That's not enough to run the whole country, but it's as much as we'd get from the one or two nuclear reactors that we'd be likely to actually build as an alternative.
Now, if companies like Linc Energy can make their technology work using coal, and it looks very much as though they've got it worked out, or if we can get hot dry geothermal working, then we have absolutely no need for nuclear power in this country whatsoever. I'd like to see a few $ spent in that direction and give these alternatives a decent chance before we spend a relative fortune on the less than 100% safe nuclear alternative.
Of other countries in the area, New Zealand also has absolutely no real need for nuclear power. They've got plenty of hydro, wind, geothermal etc that could be used instead. Plus they've got a bit of coal, gas and biomass too. NZ doesn't need, and can't afford anyway, to use nuclear power.
As I said, I'm not totally against it. But where there's a viable alternative then nobody in their right mind would prefer to mess about with uranium.
Planes arnt safe cos occasionally they fall outa the sky....yet the aviation industry isn't going to close down tomorrow and neither will the nuclear power industry, however its a given that building nuclear reactors right on the Coastline of any country is a unacceptable risk.
And continuing to build the old standard light water type reactors is also an unacceptable risk....the world needs to move en mass to Thorium powered liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTR)
Get a LFTR education people...and behold your future.
Some discussion of this issue over at the Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum
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1) Coal is unsafe. Ewoks don't burn it.
2) Wood is unsafe. Ewoks only burn it in celibration of the destruction of imperial death stars or roasting Jedi Masters.
3) Gas is unsafe. Not quiet true. Ewoks are allowed to fart (I think).
4) Petrol is unsafe. See 1 above.
5) Going out in the bloody sun is unsafe. Very large trees and hairy bodies offer protection.
6) Rain can be unsafe. Big trees offer some protection and with a brain the size of Australopithecus afarensis, it's a lesser worry.
7) Roast bloody duck can be unsafe if thrown from a skyscraper. Roast anything is unsafe as requires cooking by wood/gas etc. If the Greens were around when Homo Erectus ate that first bit of meat that accidently fell into the fire, they would have objected. Come to think of it, the Greens would have objected about the control of fire.
Being bloody Green is very unsafe for the rest of us for gawds sake. The Greens should have got in 3-million years ago when the rest of us couldn't tell the difference.
If there was a nuclear plant in SA and it blew up then there goes the health of the entire population of Victoria, Tasmania or wherever else the wind happens to be blowing.
It's not about the likelihood of an accident, but the consequences should it occur.
People die in car crashes on a routine basis. Every now and then an aircraft or a train crashes somewhere. But no car, train or air crash endangers millions of people or contaminates a vast area of land effectively forever.
The argument for nuclear is like that of a successful trader who suffers a 100% drawdown just once after many years of successful trading. No matter how much money they made, they ultimtely fail due to the consequences of a single event. As with nuclear, it only takes one event with sufficiently large consequences to blow the lot...
Agreed though that thorium makes a lot of sense, at least it does when compared to uranium or plutonium.
It screams to me that someone screwed up the risk assessment and design specs for this particular nuclear power plant.
Obviously Japan is earthquake prone and it appeared the plant was designed to handle the direct effects of such reasonably well. Earthquake triggering tsunami isn't at all a rare occurance. Afterall, 'tsunami' is a Japanese word so they must be familiar with the linkage.
Tsunami brings in sea water. And electricity doesn't mix well with water. Again pretty simple linkage.
Continuity of power supply has to be one of the critical design critera of a nuclear plant.
So how can a nuclear power plant located by the sea only has a backup power system that will fail with water inundation?
Earthquake => tsunami => flooding of backup power... just doesn't really demand great leap in logic to design against.
One could build the most epic nuclear power station ever, but when the requirement is that it 'can take anything and not skip a beat', that's a pretty unreasonably stringent requirement .
Bus tour to Chernobyl anyone?
You guys are so dumb.
There are alternatives to nuclear that are completely safe and yet you'd perefer a technology that can render a city and it's residents poisoned for many years.
Righto GG we'll build Australia's next nuclear power plant underneath your home. Tell us when it starts to warm up will you\?
I did. How about reading my post?
ok, solar thermal could power most of California, if given the go ahead and a reasonably sized chunk of desert land to install the mirrors.
If an earthquake or terrorists target it, no harm done, apart from some power outages.
The implementation of alternative fuels is being held back by the big oil and coal businesses who hold self-intere$t ahead of anything else. They have the money and contacts to manipulate the decision makers.
Using nuclear reactors are perfectly safe if built in the right places. Unfortunately the right places are usually far from population centres, so short cuts are taken.
In Australia the proper place for nuclear reactors would be near existing radiation poisoned places like Maralinga, where in the event of a catastrophic failure, there is not the huge danger to population. This is provided the failure only can be a meltdown and not a huge release of radiation into the atmosphere. Unfortunately the costs of piping seawater and transmission lines to carry the power, would make such a thing uneconomic.
As Smurf has already stated, if the generators in Japan had been coal or gas or oil fired, we would have heard nothing. We would be concentrating on the enormity of the death and destruction from the Earthquake.
The mere fact that there were nuclear reactors in such an obviously poor location, and they had been kept running even though new designs are much 'safer', clearly shows the lack of understanding about safety by the nuclear industry.
I made my money by selling too soon.
Reports of another explosion at the Japanese nuclear plant.
As for nuclear power in general, I think I can safely say that nobody wants a nuclear power station (anywhere) for the sake of it. Nor does anyone really want a coal, oil or gas power station either. And unless you're planning on going fishing, hydro dams aren't something you really want "for the sake of it" either.
What people do want is power at an affordable price and with as few nasty side effects as possible.
But we don't have a perfect power source. Those arguing in favour of nuclear are basically arguing that it is less bad than coal or oil. Just as those who argue in favour of big hydro dams do so because, in their opinion, they are less bad than fossil fuels or nuclear power. Nobody actually wants a pile of nuclear waste of a flooded valley. They are just arguing that their preferred means of power generation is less bad than the alternatives.
Personally, my preference is for things like hydro, wind, wood etc simply because the damage caused can be reversed in a reasonable timeframe. They may well make a mess, but it will be cleaned up relatively easily and quickly. Nobody's going to still be dealing with today's decision to build a dam or wind turbine in 500 years time, indeed they'll struggle to find any evidence that it ever existed by then.
Of the rest, I have a slight preference for coal over oil, gas or nuclear simply because despite all its faults, at least coal isn't likely to start a war and has no military application. Seriously, there's an awful lot of trouble and suffering in the world caused by oil when you think about it and the same would apply to gas, due to geographic concentration in the same countries, if we used enough of it. At least coal doesn't have those problems despite its other faults.
On a practical note, I think we can assume that there are going to be several reactors in Japan that will never again produce electricity. From an investment perspective, that means an increase in consumption of other fuels, largely LNG and oil in the immediate term.
Australia has a 30 mega watt research reactor is Sydney.
Check on webb "ANSTO research reactor."
It was modified and restarted in 2007 I think.