A new online survey has found 84% of respondents support nuclear power's inclusion in Australia's energy mix.
The results come on the back of newly released modelling on the future options for Australia’s electricity system is that it is possible to have the best of both worlds on power prices and emissions — with nuclear power - something the Conservative Party has advocated since its inception.
The Australian reports, the nuclear option would be slightly more expensive than the existing coal-based system, but less than half the cost of the Australian Energy Market Operator’s existing plan and less than a quarter of the cost of a 100 per cent renewables utopia. Going nuclear would also cut power-sector emissions by 93 per cent.
A key issue is whether higher levels of renewable energy will make electricity cheaper, as its supporters claim. Much will depend on whether storage and new grid management technologies can live up to their promise and be delivered at a reasonable cost.
The engineers’ opinion is to reject enthusiasm and expect more of the same. They say more renewables will continue to result in the speedy destruction of coal generators on which system reliability now stands.
No one disputes the need to replace Australia’s ageing coal fleet.
But for the engineers, the hodgepodge of new technology solutions does not compete with the potential of a proven source of generation that will be there when it’s needed.
Tempting as the analysis may be, it has some pretty dramatic hurdles to overcome. First is the ban on even considering nuclear energy.
The present fascination with a mix of wind, solar, pumped hydro, battery storage, big new grids and complex management systems simply does not fit with a baseload solution.
Nuclear may be emissions-free but it still needs strong champions, like the Conservative Party, to break into the renewables club.
Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi has told Sydney radio station 2GB, if the nuclear option is allowed to be considered, Australia could become an energy superpower.
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