northwest Is Nuclear right for Australia? YES!
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Huego
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« on: Tuesday November 15 2016 19:26:27 AEDT PM »

Is Nuclear right for Australia? YES!

A switch from old-world uranium to new THORIUM based reactors should be seriously considered, even while Sth Australia is still discussing uranium (see links below).

Benefits of Thorium Power include fail-safe reactor operation, ... reactor designs are incapable of an explosion or meltdown, as was seen at Chernobyl or Fukushima. Another is resistance to weapons proliferation, because thorium reactors create byproducts that make the fuel unsuitable for use in nuclear weapons. Australia has abundant supplies as well eg in heavy mineral sands  eg containing monazite and zircon. Less throium is required to produce the same amount energy. It produces less & safer waste with a shorter half life.

"….with the looming spectre of climate change and greater calls for a shift away from fossil fuels, nuclear power is once again on the agenda. The South Australian government is hosting a royal commission to investigate the plausibility of nuclear power in this country.

With discussion of uranium seeming to be out-of-bounds in some quarters, a growing community of devotees has sprung up around an alternative nuclear fuel: thorium. But is it right for Australia?”


  
  

We have geologically stable areas in remote sites that are suitable if not ideal … we are ideal as a large continent with scattered population to do it & maybe in Sth Aust should do it first. Distribution of power via mproved infrastructure will need to be thought through and financed.

An interesting post on uranium in Sth Australia appeared on ABC today. Maybe mining utilisation / generation and waste storage is the future for SA? … It offers reliable base power to states and maybe to eastern States. It does have safe storage site for low, medium & high level waste. Notice I avoid using the emotive term WASTE DUMP ... this word has evolved into a wate recycling site or similar benign word & imagery in other.

An excellent income & energy source for cash-strapped SA with the recent loss of its manufacturing industry.

Community support for a waste facility is lacking due to (unfounded) fear I believe.
Perhaps THORIUM POWER should be sold to them instead?

Underground sites for high level waste can be found in Australia. Perhaps underground Olympic Dam mine in a remote part Sth Australia could be considered?… afterall, much uranium and copper was extracted from it and there are miles of underground tunnels & networks existing. Immobilising the waste in glass may be an extra precaution. Technology exists for that now. Links below

  
  

 happy face
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« Reply #1 on: Tuesday November 15 2016 21:14:19 AEDT PM »

  
Is Nuclear right for Australia? YES!

A switch from old-world uranium to new THORIUM based reactors should be seriously considered, even while Sth Australia is still discussing uranium (see links below).

Benefits of Thorium Power include fail-safe reactor operation, ... reactor designs are incapable of an explosion or meltdown, as was seen at Chernobyl or Fukushima. Another is resistance to weapons proliferation, because thorium reactors create byproducts that make the fuel unsuitable for use in nuclear weapons. Australia has abundant supplies as well eg in heavy mineral sands  eg containing monazite and zircon. Less throium is required to produce the same amount energy. It produces less & safer waste with a shorter half life.

"….with the looming spectre of climate change and greater calls for a shift away from fossil fuels, nuclear power is once again on the agenda. The South Australian government is hosting a royal commission to investigate the plausibility of nuclear power in this country.

With discussion of uranium seeming to be out-of-bounds in some quarters, a growing community of devotees has sprung up around an alternative nuclear fuel: thorium. But is it right for Australia?”


  
  

We have geologically stable areas in remote sites that are suitable if not ideal … we are ideal as a large continent with scattered population to do it & maybe in Sth Aust should do it first. Distribution of power via mproved infrastructure will need to be thought through and financed.

An interesting post on uranium in Sth Australia appeared on ABC today. Maybe mining utilisation / generation and waste storage is the future for SA? … It offers reliable base power to states and maybe to eastern States. It does have safe storage site for low, medium & high level waste. Notice I avoid using the emotive term WASTE DUMP ... this word has evolved into a wate recycling site or similar benign word & imagery in other.

An excellent income & energy source for cash-strapped SA with the recent loss of its manufacturing industry.

Community support for a waste facility is lacking due to (unfounded) fear I believe.
Perhaps THORIUM POWER should be sold to them instead?

Underground sites for high level waste can be found in Australia. Perhaps underground Olympic Dam mine in a remote part Sth Australia could be considered?… afterall, much uranium and copper was extracted from it and there are miles of underground tunnels & networks existing. Immobilising the waste in glass may be an extra precaution. Technology exists for that now. Links below

  
  

 happy face

Another opinion
Don't believe thorium nuclear reactor hype
Thorium reactors are the latest big thing in nuclear spin. Noel Wauchope says: don't believe the hype.
“All in all, the thorium nuclear reactor pitch is just another con job by the nuclear industry. They know it won’t happen, but the idea might help resuscitate that industry. And in Australia, it might even give it a kickstart.
Don't believe the hype.”
  
link-https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/dont-believe-thorium-nuclear-reactor-hype,4919
doug smile
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« Reply #2 on: Tuesday November 15 2016 21:29:27 AEDT PM »

 
Thanks Doug

I will read and think about the points he makes.

I'm not hard wired in my views even though passionate about opinions sometimes. I can change my mind.

 happy face

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« Reply #3 on: Wednesday November 16 2016 00:02:10 AEDT AM »

Ok I can see the nature of the opposition, matters which I was unaware of at least not their seriousness, I am still educating myself but I'm not alone. According to Chemical & Engineering News, "most people—including scientists—have hardly heard of the heavy-metal element and know little about it...," noting a comment by a conference attendee that "it's possible to have a Ph.D. in nuclear reactor technology and not know about thorium energy.” There are a variety of opinions out there, some conspiracy theories that the Atomic Energy companies are using it as a propaganda tool. Hmm ... maybe. Some benefits and deficiencies are noted in the Wiki reference* I included. But it dosen't mention the 40-70 yrs time lag even if it mention excessively high costs as a barrier to changing from conventional fission.

Your article is clearly agaisnt thorium highlighting…..

TIME LAG: 40-70 years lead time (it seems) while improved uranium technology is here now. Many have been built, some experimental, yet they are being upgraded / improved.

ECONOMICS: They are not commercially viable? Seems questionable as number have been built using different designs

POLITICS & COMPETITION one industry a threat to another? Most certainly and the profit and protecting old capital and industries would motivate some reports.

SAFETY: "Thorium Reactors are unsafe" this refutes what others have said.  
They prodicue "considerabke radioactive waste" and "require enriched uranium or plutonium for start up" & need "dangerous fuel reprocessing nearby” Some of this is acknowledged but seems managable. Safety would be my biggest concern.

I am not sure where the truth or the obstacles to acceptance or its future lies. Probably somewhere in between these opinions. Public cceptance is clearly a REAL barrier.

Modern Uranium fission reactors seem a big improvement on the old styles used which have lead to explosions melt downs etc, Fusion still seems many decades away.

We NEED large- scale centralised, base load power. Natural Gas would be an interim source for few decades after dumping coal fired stations.
We still need bridging power supplies for a decade or maybe three until renewables can become a reality. The effective storage of energy from renewalbles on a large scale is still an impediment. Maybe small scale storage is a interim answer.

 happy face

PS: * "India's government is also developing up to 62, mostly thorium reactors, which it expects to be operational by 2025. It is the "only country in the world with a detailed, funded, government-approved plan" to focus on thorium-based nuclear power. "
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« Reply #4 on: Wednesday November 16 2016 10:38:54 AEDT AM »

Here are some more views expressed on the subject,

Should Australia consider thorium nuclear power? (2015)
(A discussion paper)

…"If Australia does eventually decide to build nuclear power plants, the best choice would almost certainly be a proven design based on existing third-generation uranium technology.

Such a decision is, however, a long way down the road. As a nation we haven’t even managed to figure out the best way to handle slightly radioactive gloves in hospitals, let alone have a mature conversation about nuclear power.

The real question is whether Australia can find a way forward to have a civilised discussion about how to generate non-fossil baseload power. And so, by all means, we should talk about thorium, but let’s not demonise uranium at the same time…"

  

Thorium in Australia
Parlimentary Paper (2007-8)

"There are several advantages for Australia in pursuing a thorium-based nuclear future in preference to the conventional uranium-based reactors that are now central to the nuclear and climate change debate.

However, with technical problems yet to be resolved, the current relative abundance of uranium, and an environmental movement opposed to any nuclear activities in Australia, a thorium-based nuclear future does not appear likely in the short to medium term"

  
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« Reply #5 on: Wednesday November 16 2016 15:20:49 AEDT PM »

Search REPUTABLE sources for “Nuclear versus Carbon deaths per GWhr” and links within the references. Quite the opposite of what the most of the public think by many factors of 10.
e.g.
  
  
  
  
  
  
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« Reply #6 on: Wednesday November 16 2016 17:35:52 AEDT PM »

  
Search REPUTABLE sources for “Nuclear versus Carbon deaths per GWhr” and links within the references. Quite the opposite of what the most of the public think by many factors of 10.
e.g.
  
  
  
  
  
  


Solar thermal may be a better alternative for Australia in my opinion.
  
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« Reply #7 on: Wednesday November 16 2016 18:14:34 AEDT PM »

  
  
Search REPUTABLE sources for “Nuclear versus Carbon deaths per GWhr” and links within the references. Quite the opposite of what the most of the public think by many factors of 10.
e.g.
  
  
  
  
  
  


Solar thermal may be a better alternative for Australia in my opinion.
  
doug
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Agree Doug that solar thermal looks attractive .... but, I cant see why it hasent matured more quickly as a technology. I wonder where the stumbling blocks are?

It would be ideal for large big inland cities eg Alice, Canberra, Albury and many others for baseload power, or at night. I’m not sure they perform in wet / cloudy months of year so climate of a region and land cost and area need to be factored in. There is probably a minimum feasible (profitable) size.

As the article says "the big advantage with solar thermal is the storage" (as hot sodium). "Our storage costs around $25 a kilowatt an hour, compared to lithium ion batteries which cost about $300 a kilowatt hour,"  Not exactly a fair comparison as one is as "heat" (requiring conversion to electricty) & other is as stored electricty.

"Commercial solar thermal plants (it is claimed) could be producing power at 7 cents per kilowatt hour, cheaper than the most up-to-date coal-fired plants", but not domestic solar PV.

I hope it succeeds!   good luck

  happy face
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« Reply #8 on: Wednesday November 16 2016 18:22:42 AEDT PM »

  
Search REPUTABLE sources for “Nuclear versus Carbon deaths per GWhr” and links within the references. Quite the opposite of what the most of the public think by many factors of 10.
e.g.
  
  
  
  
  
  


Thanks Kazza. Lots to read through there. I skimmed over most papers, not background refs though. This is a BIG topic but vital to discuss for our future.

For Australia before we can accept nuclear we need to consider water requirements (probably coastal requirement), handling of our own nuclear waste, a buffer zone in event of a disaster (to the surrounding people, ocean ecological environment), bi-products / nuclear proliferation, high capital costs to build and infrastucture distribute such energy and last but not least win social acceptance. The last being the biggest hurdle. The conflicting studies on the cost, environmental impacts, and health impacts of nuclear power do not help convince doubters. One problem is with such a high cost is that the investors will want assurance it will be profitable … and for many years!

I am sold on the overal benefits of nuclear (I accept there are risks) and was drawn to the apparent appeal of Thorium technology. But its obvious now that we are not ready for that as a replacement for uranium. Modern fission reactors have been operating safely across populated areas of Europe and US for many years. Building them is costly and slow but resulting power is cheap and safe. We can handle the waste better than most can.

What is obvious from your references Kazza:

- there are 2 options to decarbonise even for a stable electricity base demand: nuclear power & renewable energy ie wind & solar PV or Thermal. But only nuclear provides firmly dispatchable baseload electricity NOW

- Cumulatively, up to 2050, nuclear power would enable the highest CO2 emission savings in comparison to other technologies;

- in 2050, nuclear power would represent the largest source of low-carbon electricity.

(a hasty response based on fear (eg as in Japan where they closed all nuclear plants) may actually end up costing them more, polluting / warming more air, and killing more people than considered plan for a revised nuclear infrastructure and future.)

We need a baseload supply, short term, at least until 2050-60 when growing investment & success with renewables will likely make them even more broadly acceptable and / or economic. Australia has distinct advantages with geology, supply. waste storage options, But large distances between cities may require a number of coastal plants and proximity to coastal populations & cities is a BIG social hurdle. It seems unachievable at the moment! Timescales are aginst nuclear as well ... (building time & cost + recouping oif investment) I wonder if a nuclear plant could be built in the La Trobe Valley (where / near) Hazelwood is being decommissioned soon. Hmm?

Meanwhile I am still of the opinion that Australians should avail themselves of solar power (as solar thermal or PV) if and where they can, esp. for their domestic needs as I do. And I believe it will be economical to store ones own electricity with new, more efficient & affordable batteries becoming available in next few years. Communities & even small towns may be able to generate & store their own power one day soon. Large towns may be better off with solar thermal.  

Big cities with big needs for transport and industry could benefit from nuclear as a base load power.

 happy face
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« Reply #9 on: Wednesday November 16 2016 23:52:29 AEDT PM »

  

Agree Doug that solar thermal looks attractive .... 


What about underground thermal source - from hot Earth core? This could be forever source of energy.
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« Reply #10 on: Thursday November 17 2016 00:20:50 AEDT AM »

  
  

Agree Doug that solar thermal looks attractive .... 


What about underground thermal source - from hot Earth core? This could be forever source of energy.


Geothermal is a wonderful source of CLEAN ENERGY as you say WM6 IF drilling can reach such hot rocks. It seems most hot rocks except in volcanic areas are too deep in Australia.. (I think there was some drilling plans 2-4 years ago happeneing in some areas but I have heard nothing since.) Pump dowm water, tap and use the pressure steam coming out.

I believe Geothermal Energy is harnessed in New Zealand. They have hot springs & similar sources of underground energy. Australia has hot subterranean water in some areas but not enough for large scale use for power.

 happy face
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