Nuclear is Clean Energy

From The Canberra Times

By Leslie Kemeny

At a conference in Melbourne last October, global energy expert Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith, the director of energy research at Oxford University, urged Australia to embrace civilian nuclear power. He said it was the logical pathway to clean, secure and cost-effective energy.

He also reflected on the ”hard sell” of a nuclear power policy in this country due to fear, pseudoscience, political pragmatism, poor education and the dominant hydrocarbon energy lobby. Risk-conscious Australians were urged to remember: ”The nuclear accident in Japan has not killed anybody. There may be one or two people who will die of cancer, but we are talking of very small numbers, if any.”

There is a ridiculous paradox in the energy policy of a nation which makes symbolic gestures to the United Nations about embracing ”clean renewable energy” but continues to maintain its position as the planet’s premier exporter of dirty coal. Delegate nations to last month’s US Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Doha were challenged by the growing dangers of, as yet, an uncontrolled increase in emissions from the burning of hydrocarbon fuels.

The International Energy Agency estimates that, during 2010, about 30.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide poured into the Earth’s atmosphere as a result of burning fossil fuels. This represents an increase of about 1.6 gigatonnes over the 2009 levels, despite the economic effects globally of the most serious recession for the past 80 years.

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