My Letter to Radio National

Dear RN Science Show,

While the program does a great job of covering a vast range of scientifically-related subjects, I write this letter as a suggestion that you should revisit the issue of advancing domestic nuclear power as a proven, dispatchable greenhouse gas-mitigating[1] replacement for entrenched fossil fuel generation and mining, exemplified by unfortunate recent circumstances in the LaTrobe valley.

The context of this suggestion is quite broad: submissions recently closed for a federal energy white paper which has seen professional bodies like ANSTO[2] and the Energy Policy Institute of Australia[3] call for consideration of nuclear power; Business SA[4] did its best to raise nuclear sector establishment and expansion in South Australia, with its considerable uranium reserves, at the recent state election; renowned climate scientists[5] called very publicly upon groups like Greenpeace to reconsider their irrational opposition to civilian nuclear energy; and the detection of the 400 ppm atmospheric carbon dioxide milestone[6] despite environmental group-backed renewable energy dominating national attempts to provide carbon mitigation in our country (7%in 2008, down from 19% in 1960[7]) and the purported goals of Germany’s energy transition (the largest scale renewables-focused experiment so far) which in reality prioritises shutting nuclear capacity over lowering emissions and pollution.[8] The impacts of climate change are already having worrying effects on the ocean, connected with warming and acidification.[9] The IPCC warn of specific consequences for large vulnerable segments of humanity.[10]

The results of a recent survey of 1,216 random South Australians indicate considerably more support for the consideration of nuclear power than opposition.[11] What could this mean in a state with well-exploited wind energy? It is also three years since the Touhoku earthquake and tsunami led to the Fukushima Daiichi accident and subsequent radionuclide contamination and evacuation. No Japanese have been harmed by radiation despite many loud, morbid predictions, and indeed international experts expect essentially no increase in related diseases.[12]

You could do worse than to invite Mr Ben Heard on to your show. I have met Ben a few times; he has embarked upon a PhD this year looking at how we do energy in Australia. He won’t try to scare your listeners, but rather summarise the sort of knowledge he (and other nuclear advocates like him) has absorbed by listening to nuclear professionals and analysing the best available data.

Personally, following almost 10 years of personal study around the subject of energy generation, utilisation and constraint I have recently, independently concluded that inclusion of modern nuclear technology can provide the only safe, proven, rapid route to effective mitigation of greenhouse gasses while concurrently expanding our knowledge base, opportunities in science and engineering for the next generations and ensuring Australia maintains its strengths in various industries and politically in the Asia region.

Please consider my suggestion. Thank you in advance.

_________, PhD.


[7]’s%20energy%20mix%201960-2009.pdf Fig. 1

I received a prompt reply from Robyn Williams with a invitation to submit a piece myself to Ockham’s Razor. I shall seriously consider it.


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