Published on June 5th, 2012 | by Joshua S Hill17
Australia to Go Nuclear by 2030, Says Expert
June 5th, 2012 by Joshua S Hill
Australia will become a primary user of advanced nuclear technology, says University of Adelaide scientist Professor Barry Brook, if the country is serious about cutting carbon emissions.
Professor Brook, Director of Climate Science at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute, says Australia will eventually turn to nuclear power to meet our sustainable energy needs — and when we do, we will choose to focus on next-generation nuclear technology that provides major safety, waste, and cost benefits over conventional nuclear power.
Speaking on the eve of World Environment Day (5 June), Professor Brook says: “Coal, oil, and natural gas are the main cause of recent global warming, and these fossil fuels must be completely replaced with clean sustainable energy sources in the coming decades if serious climate change impacts are to be avoided.
“One particularly attractive sustainable nuclear technology for Australia is the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR). Although the scientific community has known about the benefits of IFR-type designs for many years, there are currently none in commercial operation because the energy utilities are typically too risk averse to ‘bet on’ new technologies. This is a wasted opportunity for Australia and for the rest of the world.
“Integral Fast Reactors are much more efficient at extracting energy from uranium, can use existing nuclear waste for fuel, produce far smaller volumes of waste that does not require long-term geological isolation, and can be operated at low cost and high reliability. They are also inherently safer than past nuclear reactors due to passive systems based on the laws of physics,” Professor Brook says.
“In order to re-start the nuclear power debate in Australia, it is best to have a solution that overcomes as many public objections as possible: safety, constraints on uranium supplies, long-lived waste, cost, and proliferation. The IFR technology offers a vast improvement in all of these areas.”
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