No easy future for nuclear alternatives

Conservatives are finally getting it – the people want climate change addressed. However their solution is so often to spruik ‘new generations of nuclear power’ or mini versions of the same. 

Rolls Royce offers here “to install and operate factory-built power stations by 2029” and Barnaby Joyce says 40 MW Nuclear Power Plants are a viable option for rural Australia. Newly appointed Resources Minister, Keith Pitt, is also a long time nuclear power enthusiast

However Generation 4 nuclear power plants are still all under development and none is operational, as of today. 

Rolls Royce wants to install them in the UK on sites occupied by the now defunct nuclear power stations. 

The Rolls Royce article explains the concept but also points out that the two major construction companies (Hitachi and Toshiba) in the UK, that built nuclear power stations in the past, have pulled out of the industry due to lack of interest, demand and funding for nuclear power. Experts say these small-scale nuclear power plants will not be ready for operational duties until mid-2030s and by then the plummeting cost of renewable energy will make these projects uncompetitive.

Almost all current nuclear power station projects have had cost overruns in the billions of USD and year-long delays. A major project developer in the UK was considering halting construction and leaving the project unfinished due to its unviability now and in the future.

There is no easy future for any nuclear alternative, in fact the alternative is already here, in the form of numerous viable, safe and fully funded renewable projects all over the country.

Rick Baek, Democrats campaigner, Qld

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