[LINK] Telstra propose biggest rollout in Australia's history

Glen Turner glen.turner at aarnet.edu.au
Thu Jan 18 18:45:19 AEDT 2007

Craig Sanders wrote:

> so, while on a technical level i'm in favour of nuclear power (modern
> reactor designs are *SAFE*

All paper designs are safe.

The reactor designs most recently built -- as opposed to reactors designs
most recently talked about -- are mostly Russian designs, and that thought
doesn't fill me with confidence.

This paper
summarises the technologies in innovative reactors. These are all
small reactors (<100MW) and thus inefficient.  The Switkowski report
seems to think they can be scaled up without uncovering limitations
in the design which may incur large engineering costs.  Hmmm.

Also the IEA report repeatedly makes the point that major efficiencies
in modern reactors are from improving the steam --> electricity process.
But that can't count in any nuclear/coal comparison since these
same efficiencies are available to both technologies.

I'm only half way through a close reading of the Switkowski report
and it's full of this sort of woolly thinking and rosy scenarios.
The most astonishing of all being the costing of carbon emissions
for coal but not the costing of nuclear waste for nuclear. And
the cost of nuclear plants is held artificially low by the use
of modular designs. This implies that if the first plant has
aspects that are poorly done (a certainty of any 'innovative design')
this won't be fixed in subsequent plants.

The other thing that really annoys me is the assumption that
the transmission system will remain the same.  That penalises
photovoltaic solar, which does not require a transmission
system and thus should include those savings in a comparison.

Also, electrical demand is simply projected as-is in the report.
Which seems a bit odd, given that the government's first response
to a shortage of water has been to start to manage demand.

> Maralinga, for example, would make a great location.  it's already
> contaminated and off-limits to people.

So who would work there? Given that it's so contaminated and all.

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