Nuclear power generation

The Pangea proposal from the 90’s IIRC.

The problem as I see it isn’t the getting waste safely to a facility, it’s the longevity of the facility that can’t be confirmed. Structures generally can’t be guaranteed to last longer than 100 years but with the high concentration of engineering nerds in Australia, I’m convinced we could come up with something.

Having said that, nuclear energy is the cleanest, safest and most efficient energy source yet discovered by humanity but it is still considered dirty. Extraction and burning of coal on the other hand has killed more people over the last 2x years than COVID has (source: Steven Pinker).

The reluctance to embrace the benefits of nuclear power is a good example of collective irrationality. No one died in Long Island, a few hundred died in the initial explosion and in subsequent weeks of the Chernobyl meltdown and there was only 1x confirmed death in the Fukushima disaster with the rest being due to the tsunami. And out of the only 3x confirmed nuclear accidents in history, it’s fair to say that had the Soviets not been in charge, the resulting deaths would have been less or the accident may not have happened at all.

By every measure nuclear power is safe but the vast majority believe otherwise.


How dare you use sources to resonate your views.

Dont you know where you are?


Absolutely nuclear is good IMO but wouldn’t solar and wind be cleaner, better and safer?


Nuclear has, at best, a minor contribution to make to decarbonisation.

It’s too slow to build. There’s barely a major new nuclear plant under construction that’s overrun its timeframes by less than a decade, and that’s off long build time to start with (even after all the years of political bickering about whose electorate it gets built in). With climate, we’re in a hurry if we’re going to ward off disaster. Wind and solar can be built much faster. And it’s EXPENSIVE. Like, really, really expensive. Renewables are faaaar cheaper. And the small-modular or 4th-gen pebble-bed thorium reactors that promise to make nuclear power cheaper - well, they’ve been promising that for 20 years and show no signs of getting closer.

And global warming is … global. Sure, a mostly safe nuclear industry might be possible in rich, stable countries with limited exposure to major earthquake zones, but hands up who wants to see Afghanistan, or Iran, or Venezuela, or Congo, or Libya, or PNG go 100% nuclear? Or even Indonesia? Pakistan? India? Haiti? These countries will need power too.

Technologically, global warming is a solved problem. We don’t need nuclear. We can build enough solar and wind, and battery/hydrogen/pumped hydro storage, to decarbonise. The obstacles preventing us from doing so are largely vested interests. Nuclear kinda suits those vested interests because it promises not too much change - the miners still have to mine (uranium rather than coal) and the big centralised power monopolies still have big centralised power stations to sit in the middle of their grids. It’s like CC&S, really.




This is the main point.

Nuclear energy is a byproduct of producing weapons grade nuclear material. It’s not the other way around. Countries wanted weapon grade material which you need to react first, may as well got some electricity doing it to offset the cost.

There’s only 20 countries with nuclear power for a very good reason, you don’t want many countries to have access to nuclear material or to build a nuclear industry it’s just too dam risky geopolitically.

I’m less concerned with nuclear proliferation than i am with stability, maintenance, and security to be honest.

I believe it’s possible to build a nuclear powerplant that doesn’t produce weaponisable products in any significant or easily accessible form (i’m talking about weaponisable in a nuke here, you can strap any old high-level waste to a fertiliser IED and make an area-denial dirty bomb out of it). It’s been a looong time since i studied nuclear physics (I have a degree, you know… :stuck_out_tongue: ) but I’m 99% sure there’s some decay chains you can exploit for energy without fissionable byproducts, or at least without byproducts that are immediately fissionable without an arduous and difficult enrichment and purification process.

However, nuclear power plants are tricky things and require careful attention and management. In countries that are prone to civil war or unrest, in countries where infrastructure is neglected due to incompetence or corruption, in countries that sit on earthquake or volcanic faults - that’s not likely to happen. Some generalissimo’s nephew will get the powerplant maintenance contract and the money will vanish into the swiss bank accounts of Monte Carlo hookers, and the rebels will sweep through the area and shoot all the qualified staff for being lackeys of the regime or belonging to the wrong religion, and the thing will get rusty, and stuff will break down, and nobody will clean the filters, and nobody will know how to fix it, and the records won’t be kept properly, and it’ll get patched together with duct tape and corrugated iron because the previous dictator ran off with the contents of the treasury and now there’s no foreign exchange to buy new parts even if the US hadn’t randomly decided to blockade all nuclear tech imports on account of brown people, and that is when you start having problems. Just cos nuclear accidents in rich, technologically-advanced, organised nations with a deep pool of nuclear expertise to draw on have been managed without massive loss of life doesn’t mean the same outcome would happen if the Mogadishu or Kabul or Caracas nuclear plant started going hinky.

Incompetence is much scarier than malice, and nuclear tech depends very heavily on competence, especially in an emergency. If you neglect a solar plant and it breaks down, the worst that can happen is someone stubs their toe on an inactive PV panel. The same ain’t true for nuclear.


None of which invalidates an argument for nuclear power in Australia, unless you have concerns over how Australia could handle a nuclear power plant.

It’s not the plant I’d be worried about. The plant is a money making asset - it’ll be maintained because if it breaks down, it stops making money for shareholders.

It’s the waste. Hundreds of years of vendors underbidding each other. Hundreds of years of “self regulation”. Hundreds of years of politicians relaxing legislation a day before leaving office and (amazingly) landing a $500kpa “advisory” role with a company directly affected. Hundreds of years of power industry lawyers winding up companies and moving them to the Caymans.

Frankly, anybody who has faith in Australian government oversight on the energy/resource industry has not been watching.


Thats exactly what a nuclear terrorist would say.

Again, global warming is global. If the first world takes the nuclear option, it cuts the feet from under the global renewable industry. There is no chance of developing or unstable countries making a transition from fossil fuels to renewables unless the groundwork has been laid, the industrial capacity built, the expertise developed etc etc by rich countries.

But honestly, I don’t know what the argument for nuclear power in Australia actually is. Renewables are far cheaper and can be built far faster, with no lingering radioactive waste problem, and we’re a country where sun and wind are available in vast amounts. There isn’t really an upside to nuclear, unless you’re a uranium miner.


Curiously, what do you think has happened with the waste generated by the Lucas Heights facility since 1958?

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You want to give the energy industry one more way to kill us all?

I’d rather line them all up, one by one, against a big wall.

But what is that fear based upon? Currently, vast numbers of people are affected or die from conventional generation. No one dies from nuclear.

Oh yes they do from exposure.


Short of someone inventing renewable energy, I guess you’re right.

Totally false dichotomy.

Yours or mine?

When not properly maintained or regulated, including a wider geographical spread, not immediate if not up close, but think Chernobyl and the life spans, lifestyles of Ukraine kids.