Nuclear power is virtually the only reliable option to replace fossil fuels according to a southeast Queensland energy company.
Locality Planning Energy (LPE) is urging the industry and government to consider revisiting nuclear energy as a suitable alternative to coal, gas and other traditional power sources.
“Nuclear power is almost the only stable alternative to replace coal and gas, based largely on supply chain and capacity,” LPE co-founder and chief operating officer Ben Chester said in a public statement.
Nuclear ‘readily available’
The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) backs this view, saying nuclear technology is readily available, has little to no carbon emissions, is potentially 17 per cent cheaper than other energy sources, and should not be excluded from Australia’s energy mix.
“[Nuclear] has met energy challenges around the world, powers more than 30 economies and been deployed at
substantial scale within a decade in countries such as the United Arab Emirates,” MCA said in a September 2017 article entitled Removing the prohibition on nuclear power.
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Regulatory ban creates hurdles
At present the EPBC Act 1999 continues to ban Federal Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt from approving an “action consisting of or involving the construction or operation of a nuclear power plant”.
Although some political parties believe renewable energy is the solution to the shortage of fossil fuels, the industry is reminded of the 2016 South Australian blackout, which was partly blamed on the state’s high reliance on renewable energy sources.
“While there is a big push towards the generation of renewable energy, the technology has a long way to go before it can match the quality and quantity of electricity required by consumers,” Chester said. “Renewable energy, while preferred for environmental reasons and the priority of many, is faced with the issue of intermittency gaps which are only filled by utilising other technologies.”
No single solution exists
He claims there is no single solution to meeting the nation’s power demands and multiple sources should be considered, including nuclear power.
“Coal and gas have this same intermittency problem, supporting the idea that a single solution is not feasible over the long-term.” he said. “The future of energy generation will not be a single solution.”
Supply demand jumps
Chester said any multi-faceted energy source will need to cope with rapidly increasing demand for electricity that has soared since 1950, when a household only needed to power a single light bulb in each room, fridge and television set.
“Today, the household averages 10 outlets per person,” he said. “Our appetite has increased significantly over time and we need reliable energy resources that will accommodate the growing demand.”