Nuclear Power Must be Part of Australia’s Energy Future
By Terry Krieg
Most of the world’s energy comes from coal, oil and gas. World fossil fuel use grew by 28 per cent between 2000 and 2010 and is likely to continue to increase. The Copenhagen Accord called for a global reduction of 80 per cent in carbon emissions by 2050 and Australia has adopted a similar target. The targets are challenging, if not impossible, especially if global energy use follows projections and increases by 50 per cent by 2050.
Electricity generated by source
Fossil fuel 66 92
Hydro 17 7
Renewables 2 1
Nuclear 15 0
Modern life and industry require a reliable ‘base load’ supply of electricity. Renewables are not suitable to provide base load. The power they provide is intermittent, and large scale storage is rarely possible. Renewables require backup, which means there has to be extra investment in generation to maintain supply. There are five types of generation which can reliably provide base load: coal and gas, which produce CO2; hydro ,limited in Australia because of a lack of water; geothermal, still a developing technology; and nuclear.
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