Solar scrapping makes nuclear a real option

April 06, 2019

A $650 million solar thermal power plant planned for Port Augusta will not go ahead after the company behind it failed to secure commercial finance for the project.

The Conservative Party says a reliable, zero-carbon proven power mode using a resource we have in abundance in South Australia should now appeal to those who want to bring back common sense.

Nuclear power could not only solve our energy reliability and climate alarmist CO2 concerns, it could also irrigate great swathes of South Australia.

An Eyre Peninsula nuclear power plant would provide the state with cheap electricity and support a desalination plant which would supply water to a new agricultural irrigation scheme, according to a new study.

Nuclear scientists, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, have prepared a White Paper for Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi on South Australian involvement with the nuclear fuel cycle.

The Advertiser reports, Senator Bernardi released the paper last year for community discussion.

It backs the construction of nuclear reactors, which would be cooled with sea water and add up to 1500 megawatts of electricity to SA’s power grid.

“A significant fraction of the electricity generation from a nuclear power plant in SA could be devoted to the production of desalinated water (via reverse osmosis), which in turn could be used to develop farming of high-value crops on semi-arid, currently under-utilised land in the Eyre Peninsula,’’ the research said.

The water would be piped to farms in a 5,800 square kilometre region where high-value crops, such as potatoes, could be grown.

The paper was written by MIT Centre for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems Professor Jacopo Buongiorno and two PhD candidates.

One of the MIT team’s arguments in favour of nuclear power is that it can help slash carbon emissions.

While Senator Bernardi doesn’t support anti-carbon policies he said nuclear energy could provide much needed baseload power for SA and replace wind and solar farms, which only had operational lives of a few decades. “We’re going to have to confront that in the next 20 years. Nuclear is the only proven solution,’’ he said.

Senator Bernardi has introduced a bill into the federal Parliament to repeal the national ban on nuclear power plants in Australia.

The white paper backed the nuclear fuel cycle Royal Commission’s recommendation that SA establish an international storage facility for nuclear waste.

The MIT team suggested SA establish an interim spent nuclear fuel surface repository, which could accept waste from other nuclear countries within three to five years.

Revenue from the storage facility could be used to fund the plant build.

A desalination plant would ensure a steady stream of revenue for the nuclear reactors.

“In turn the desalination plant using nuclear electricity would be emission free and could operate 24/7 with high reliability,” and  additional nuclear power and desalination capacity would be added as demand grew.

Senator Bernardi has told ABC Radio Adelaide last October, the case for nuclear is irrefutable.

To download the white paper, click here.

To read Peter Jean's full article, click here.

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