On practically the same day as the restart of Ikata unit 3 in Shikoku, Japan, despite ceaseless protests and intervention…
…two coal-fired power stations suffered major accidents, in China and the US.
Some Chinese workers sadly lost their lives. Yet the irony is the undouted benefit to human health with these plants inoperable.
A general fear of radiation throws off people’s sense of what’s dangerous. Generating electricity from coal—which kicks out particulate matter (soot) and noxious gases—is worse than making power from nuclear reactors… Particulates kill people. Radiation kills fewer people. Those particulates are in the air in part because we’re afraid of turning on nukes.
“What makes nuclear power so easy to hate may actually be deeply rooted in our psyche. We have little problems burning coal because we’re used to it. We’ve been burning matter in a controlled fashion for tens of thousands of years. We don’t have a problem with fire; but nuclear energy is a whole different matter. Very few people understand how nuclear fission works. Instead, what most people get to see are these huge reactors that are waiting to blow in any minute into a mushroom cloud, which is obviously absurd.”
I see the 2 GW Liddell coal station in the NSW Hunter Valley is set to close in 2022. That’s also when some Latrobe Valley Vic brown coal stations will be over 50 years old. Locals who got emphysema from the coal fires won’t be sad to see them go. It’s going to take dozens of smallish CSP stations with 10 hours storage to replace them if there are not too many rainy weeks. And millions of batteries all of which need to be paid for.
The Hunter and Latrobe valleys could get twin gigawatt light water reactors with LCOE of maybe $90 per Mwh not that different from new coal plant. With appropriate reprocessing SA could re-use the fuel in a heavy water or 4th gen reactor.