Transparency over nuclear energy

(Jesse Hermans) #101

At a carbon price of over $120 a tonne (6x the 2012 carbon tax)… maybe. (By 2030 you’d still need at least $60 a tonne). At which point if you’re going to drive a carbon price that high you’d probably make existing storage tech with renewables competitive.

The other issue you seem to be ignoring here is that when we compare the costs of nuclear with the costs of renewables or even gas, you have to factor in how long the plant would take to build and then whether it will remain competitve on average over the operating life of the whole asset.
The reason why no one will touch coal (without government intervention) is because by the time a new plant is built, within 5-10 years it will be under cut by the cost of renewables excluding carbon pricing.
Now while nuclear doesn’t have to worry about carbon pricing, it does have to worry about being undercut within a few years of being built. No investor is going to take those sort of risks without public guarantees, subsidies, externalising of costs etc.
This is why when factoring in cost curves for nuclear, you are in effect comparing the cost curve of today’s nuclear with tomorrow’s renewables. You have to start building today’s nuclear now so it’s ready in x years time for a whopping big life span with a whopping big generation capacity, whereas a wind farm or solar plant can be built much quicker, in smaller scales and is riding off rapidly falling costs.

I guess the next question should be, who in the private sector is going to finance your nuclear power plant? I doubt the banks will touch it given they won’t touch coal for the same economic issues.


Erm, you are looking at the same graph I’m looking at, right? The one where the gas CCS line runs almost identical to the solar line?

(Jesse Hermans) #103

Yep. See that solid red line underneath the CCS? That’s natural gas without CCS. Basically for CCS to even be considered you’d have to first make natural gas without CCS more expensive than natural gas with CCS.
Solar is completely uncompetitive at the moment as well, which is why it’s getting massive subsidies (rightly or wrongly) under the RET etc.
However the important point here is not current solar costs but projected solar costs vs projected CCS costs. Solar is projected to fall much further than CCS. However this is all a mute point though since 2030 solar (with storage) probably won’t be competitive against natural gas without a basic carbon price. Either way CCS is laughing stock technology at present (and forecast) since it would require an absurd carbon price to make its implementation economical.

This is all beside the point though. I think I’ll take Frew’s advice on this one…

I’ve put my bet down on the table and am willing to let the market attempt to prove me wrong - as much as I detest private nuclear operators. You’ve got your capitulation on the nuclear ban issue so I don’t think there’s much more to talk about here. There’s no use arguing over some hypothetical the market would be deciding.

(John August) #104

That is not my understanding of how it works.

(Kaz) #105

Just going over this fuel leasing argument, so the idea is to make a ‘whole of life’ process for nuclear fuel where it’s never ‘sold’ to a party, but leased and the waste returned under that agreement.
Essentially it would be, say, a mine in SA digs out the uranium, that’s sent overseas to be refined and then used in whatever use case it may be, then the waste would be shipped back to SA for disposal.

While the exercise might mean that there would be economic benefits using this process, the risk of compromise of this waste whilst in transit for such large distances, especially from Australia, I think should warrant some further study.

(Steven Liu) #106

I think he’s talking about PPAU policy. No wiki results for nuclear. I’m assuming this is what we’re talking about overall?


I was speaking to a friend tonight and got onto this topic actually, so this is actually his idea.

Something which I don’t think has been mentioned is using Nuclear energy for our Submarine fleet.

This is something which makes an unquestionable amount of sense to do.

We already got these French-designed Barracuda submarines which were intended to be Nuclear by the original French Design, but for us in a backwards move they were fitted with Diesel-Electric power, which could be what led to them being lemons. I wonder how feasible it would be to get these refitted Nuclear so they can run as intended?

(Alex Jago) #108

I believe the consensus is we’d need a domestic nuclear industry to be able to service them.


Send them back to France for retrofit and service, or bring some Frenchies out here to do the job.

(Kaz) #110

Because the time to edit my post has passed, I’d just like to add that I personally do not support the idea of fuel leasing, mostly due to the distances that fuel and waste would need to travel and the negative implications of Australia being responsible for all the nuclear waste from other countries, which may use different methods of refining and processing.

(🔰‏ {UBI + LVT = 42} ) #111



I don’t know what is more toxic between Bernardi, a stick of Uranium, or joining Bernardi/Leyonhjem/Abbott’s call for Nuclear.

Could give us some appeal to the far right though? At least it’s better than coal. If the far right support this over coal then that must count for something.

(🔰‏ {UBI + LVT = 42} ) #113

pretty sure nuclear is still less competitive so might be time we support removing bans as we kinda libertarian but I think require high insurance or something…as well as taxing any pollution


There is no way the far-right would support a pollution tax. They want to drive down the cost of energy. Just lift a ban on research. Get them to do it right next to Pine Gap, that would guarantee it’s safety.


Don’t see why. We’re in the business of adopting ideas that make sense, not being arbitrarily against anything some group says. That sort of partisan bullshit is the Green/Liberal playbook. There’s a perfectly sensible non-partisan SA Royal Commission we can refer to that recommends repealing the nuclear ban.

Also, lol at Claire Moore in that article. Clearly she has never heard of Banqiao.

Economics are malleable to a large extent. My current impression is that mass production counts for a lot and therefore if a smaller, more modular, mass produced design was pursued it would bring the cost down quite a bit. Also as Simon mentioned, there’s advantage in having some level of nuclear power industry around for submarines as well.

There’s a big difference between “I don’t like it but sure, go ahead, because it’ll never work” and “it’s a reasonable option, so if someone can make the economics work then go ahead”. That kinda bothers me.

(Mark) #116

Wanting to remove the ban on nuclear deployment is a pro-science position. It doesn’t equate to supporting nuclear power. It simply allows the issues to be assessed within a scientific framework. Blindly banning things on political grounds denies that role for science and evidence. It’s the definition of anti-scientific.

(Joe Fury) #117

(Andrew Downing) #118

(Joe Fury) #119

What do they intend to use to replace it ?

(Laura) #120

capitalise on renewables?