Pros, cons of nu­clear

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - LIFE EDUCATION - MARK MCAR­DLE

AS THE world moves to­wards low-car­bon re­new­able en­ergy, thoughts are turn­ing to the de­bate over nu­clear power.

I ac­cept there are many who have con­cerns about the safety of nu­clear en­ergy and the ra­dioac­tive waste it pro­duces how­ever the next gen­er­a­tion of re­ac­tors could pro­vide food for thought.

Small mod­u­lar re­ac­tors, or Gen­er­a­tion IV re­ac­tors, are set to make nu­clear power safer and po­ten­tially cheaper.

The ready avail­abil­ity of ura­nium in Aus­tralia plus po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity pro­vides an en­vi­ron­ment for nu­cle­ar­fu­elled base-load elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion plants. Yet it can’t be de­nied that nu­clear en­ergy may pose other risks.

If we fol­low the mantra of tech­nol­ogy ag­nos­tic then we need to face all ques­tions and not let emo­tions dic­tate the out­come.

Com­bin­ing the ad­van­tages of se­cu­rity, re­li­a­bil­ity and low green­house gas emis­sions nu­clear power could hold the key to cheaper elec­tric­ity.

Can it be con­cluded that nu­clear power re­place­ment of fos­sil fuel-fired elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion is a vi­able de­bate to­day?

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