From last week's post...
...the taxpayer will have to foot at least part of the bill for this enormously expensive scheme which would place nuclear reactors up and down our coastline, sites which would become prime and very dangerous terrorist targets, and which would generate waste which would remain highly toxic for thousands of years, and which we would dump in a big hole in the ground on or near tribal Aboriginal lands, and pollute the last water we could rely upon in the droughts to come. And that is not to mention the danger of increased nuclear proliferation.
So all in all, it’s obviously a very attractive idea, this “clean and green” nuclear energy.
Now read on...
Then why would any political party ever consider a scheme that is so vexed, and that no-one wants? The reason Liberals are again pushing it, as part of their brawl-crafted non-response to the global warming many of them don’t believe humans are causing anyway, is the profit would stay in the hands of those would build and operate the plants. It is a big money-led, centralised, top-controlled model, with the bonus of lots of space age decontamination suits, white coats and clipboards.
The billions spent to create an Australian nuclear nightmare could so readily fund an effective, safe national solar power scheme.
Solar offers the opposite solution to nuclear: the potential for individuals to meet their own electricity needs through the power they generate off their roof. Decentralised and localised, it also provides employment to a wide range of small industries and businesses.
Critics of the solar option say it cannot provide the holy grail of 24/7 baseload power.
But according to the CSIRO, solar technology could supply all of Australia’s electricity needs by 2020, using an aggregate of only fifty by fifty kilometres of otherwise arid land.
Its solar/gas prototype uses solar energy focussed from mirrors to energise natural gas, embodying the captured solar power into the gas so that there is a 25 percent increase in energy yield. This means both a 25 percent reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions, and an extension of the life of Australia’s gas reserves by a similar amount.
The “solar-embodied” gas could be piped to cities for baseload power generation, and exported in liquid form too, to resource-poor countries such as Japan and Korea.
Such a technology could also be part of a set of solar options that could obviate the nuclear option.
Australia is now dotted with homes whose owners took advantage of the Federal Government’s solar rebate scheme, which allowed them to install a 1 kilowatt system on their rooves for as little as $1200 after the $8000 rebate. Mine is one of them.
One thousand houses doing the same thing could generate a megawatt. As there are literally millions of homes, apartment blocks, commercial, industrial and other structures in Australia, it’s not difficult to see how far we could go as a nation towards meeting our collective power needs, from our own rooftops.
We also have open areas around many of our cities and towns suitable for siting large arrays of solar cells for solar power stations. Thus we could use a combination of solar arrays on rooftops throughout the nation, as well as solar power stations attached to cities and towns, to generate power for the grid by day - and switch back to fossil fuel generation at night, or in cloudy conditions.
Such a measure would provide a significant reduction in Greenhouse emissions, while buying time for other alternatives such as wind and tidal power, and “clean coal” - should that ever eventuate - to kick in significantly. The imminent wave of hybrid and electric vehicles could be re-charged from solar generation too, reducing transport emissions.
Such a scheme would require a huge national investment, but it would be a once-off. Installed, the solar network would require minimal maintenance, as opposed to the safe disposal for many generations to come of deadly nuclear waste.
But still the nuclear lobby is present and it is vocal. And make no mistake, it is not confined to the Liberal Party. Uranium has tainted the very heart of the Labor Party, which has the hide and hypocrisy to flog it off to distant nations while seeing it as too dangerous for our own use. The Liberal push for nuclear power has possibly less hypocrisy, but poses an even greater peril for Australians. One can only hope Tony Abbott can resist the temptations of that shiny, ugly Lucifer, nuclear power.