1) After about 70 years of building, nuclear is at about 5% of the world’s total energy supply according to the IEA.
2) If nuclear energy is going to be our saviour, then it needs the same exponential growth that renewables require. A growth it has never sustained in the world as a whole over those 70 years.
3) At the moment there is almost no serious agitation in Australia from politicians or business for even one nuclear power station, never mind the number we need to replace all use of coal, gas and oil.
4) On the other hand, there is agitation from business to build renewables, despite the best efforts of the Federal government to discourage this and promote a “gas led recovery” as the alternative to renewables. The government is not promoting nuclear as an alternative.
5) Avoiding declarations of climate emergency and the setting of emissions targets, as seems common amongst nuclear proponents, does nothing to help energy transition or nuclear energy. Indeed it resists recognising the need for such transitions. No one is going to transition to nuclear for the hell of it.
6) For nuclear energy to work, just as for renewables to work, we need to encourage electrification of all energy use, and the construction of a decent electrical infrastructure. This agitation, again, seems rare amongst nuclear proponents.
7) We could argue that nuclear proponents appear to aim at slowing and hindering transition to renewables, and hence any realistic energy transition at all. Therefore it is possible to suggest that they are inadvertently(?) assisting fossil fuel companies to stay in business.
8) Nuclear proponents in Australia don’t have to behave like this. They could argue for a transition which simply requires:
- a) recognition of climate emergency, to help boost action,
- b) emissions targets (perhaps with the addition of a carbon price) to help boost action,
- c) general electrification, and construction of a new electrical infrastructure to cope that electrification,
- d) complete phase out of coal, gas and oil for use and export,
- e) money for research into energy sources with high energy return on energy input (EREI) and low greenhouse-gas emissions, and
- f) nuclear as one of the energy sources we might need along with renewables or other possible sources.
But sadly this seems rare. They are generally more interested in slapping the Greens, as if with the Greens blamed, transition will just occur by itself.