Issues 77: Nuclear Energy
How Nuclear Power Works
Nuclear power’s great advantage over fossil fuels is the enormous amount of energy released from small amounts of uranium
The Economics of Nuclear Power
Mark Diesendorf, Institute of Generating electricity from nuclear power involves a complicated chain of processes, from mining uranium ore through to managing the wastes for hundreds of thousands of years. In trying to understand the economics of nuclear power we have to consider both the individual stages and the whole system. It is possible for some individual stages to be profitable (especially when they are heavily subsidised by taxpayers) and for the whole system to be uneconomical.
Nuclear Science at ANSTO
ANSTO runs Australia’s only nuclear reactor. It produces no electricity but plenty of vital nuclear medicines and scientific research.
Why Go Nuclear When Safe Alternatives Exist?
The nuclear industry has experienced hundreds of minor accidents and near misses. It is only luck that one of these has not caused a western version of the Chernobyl disaster.
Nuclear Energy: The World Picture
Nuclear power is a solution to the problem of how to produce electricity as fossil fuels become problematic. It is growing and likely to grow further.
Uranium Exploration in Australia
Australia has more low-cost uranium in deposits than any other country, but finding it is not easy. While the price for uranium has been low, little was found but now exploration is starting to increase.
Leave Uranium in the Ground
As the location of 40% of cheap uranium reserves Australia has a special responsibility to consider both the local consequences of uranium mining and the global effects of its export.
Inseparable Twins: Nuclear Bomb Fuel & Nuclear Energy
The spread of nuclear power increases the number of nations and organisations with opportunities to make nuclear weapons or buy or steal the materials to make them. Global warming demands real solutions, not nuclear diversions and dangers.
Australia Should Provide a Nuclear Repository
Providing the site for a nuclear waste depository could be more profitable for Australia than uranium mining. More importantly, it could make the world a safer place for everyone, Australians included.
Types of Nuclear Fuels: The Importance of Thorium
Thorium-powered nuclear reactors driven by a particle accelerator could become a source of energy that avoids the dangers of weapons proliferation, waste and accidents. This type of reactor can incinerate its own nuclear waste as well as those produced by uranium-burning nuclear reactors.
Fusion Power: The Philosopher’s Stone of Science
Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy: Opportunities for Australia?
When people talk about a nuclear debate they usually mean fission. However, there is another form of nuclear power, and while it is not yet practical, one day it could be far more important.
Nuclear power has proved a safe and relatively environmentally friendly way of generating electricity. However, it will take some time for it to be established in Australia, and will not be cost-competitive with coal and gas unless these are forced to pay for their greenhouse emissions.