Issues 77: Nuclear Energy
December 2006


How Nuclear Power Works
Martin Sevior, Physics Department, University of Melbourne
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 Environmental Studies, University of NSW
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
Matthew Brace, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
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?
Louise Clifton, Greenpeace
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
Ian Hore-Lacy, Uranium Information Centre
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
Yanis Miezitis and Aden McKay, Geoscience 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
Louise Morris, Friends of the Earth
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
Tilman Ruff, President, Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia); and Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne
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
Geoff Hudson, Former President, Australian Geoscience Council
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
Reza Hashemi-Nezhad, Senior Research Fellow, School of Physics, University of Sydney
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
Matthew Hole,1 Ben Powell1 and John O’Connor2
1Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Australian National University
2School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of Newcastle
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.

Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy: Opportunities for Australia?
Ziggy Switkowski, Chair, Prime Ministerial Taskforce on Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy
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.

Issues: Published by Control Publications, publishers of Australasian Science.
Designed by Delphinus Creative
© Control Publications 2012
Acrobat Reader is required to view articles