Nukes now mainstream

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Last updated on March 5th, 2018 at 02:03 pm

First Peter Garrett went wobbly on his lifelong opposition to nuclear power. Then Nicholas Kristof urged increased uranium use. And now Australian science minister Brendan Nelson—admittedly not the most stable isotope in the Howard nucleus—wants the same:

Lashing out at the “hysteria” of its critics, federal Science Minister Brendan Nelson advocated nuclear power as a solution to global warming.

It generated 16 per cent of the world’s electricity and avoided 600 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year, he said.

“Is it not time to consider in the longer term the most obvious power source – nuclear power?” Dr Nelson said.

Even Tim Dunlop—recently exposed to high doses of dangerous radiation—is cautiously pro-nuke. But Melbourne Age reader Duyum T remains unconvinced:

Hmmm…’Nuclear power as a solution to global warming’? I don’t think so… Who are they kidding? Hello…Isn’t ‘nuclear power’ considered a ‘weapon of mass destruction’… Remind me again- why did we invade Iraq alongside of the US? How would the US react to us possessing ‘nuclear power’? Would they threaten to invade Australia too? Or do they just do that to the Islamic countries? …Sounds a bit like double standards to me…When will we ever learn?

A milligram of uranium could power that low-watt mind for 100,000 years.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/19/2005 at 12:18 PM
    1. I feel dumber for having experienced Duyum.

      Posted by Aging Gamer on 04/19 at 12:57 PM • permalink


    1. Technically speaking, an isotope is an atom (nucleus) of a specific atomic weight . . . so maybe the “Howard Nucleus” is one of those Adamsized ones.

      Less pedantically, I’m not certain the US could invade and occupy every single nuclear-powered country, never mind prospective ones.

      Posted by dazed on 04/19 at 12:58 PM • permalink


    1. Not that we’d want to invade.  Nuclear powered friends?  More oil for us, while we work on our own home-grown anti-nuclear nutballs.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 04/19 at 01:46 PM • permalink


    1. Duyum’s just worried because splitting an atom leaves him with half a brain.

      Posted by Jim Treacher on 04/19 at 03:40 PM • permalink


    1. This ‘energy crisis’ that has the chatterers chattering is fascinating, previously strongly held opinions (on nuclear energy) are being revisisted and carefully revised so that ‘activists’ cannot be made responsible for any collateral damage over their own ‘global warming’ mantra.

      They either drop

      1) global warming
      2) opposition to nuclear power

      to remain credible

      So whats all this fuss over the Medicare safety net when there are bigger fish to fry?

      And can we – ‘the people’ – take Greenies et al to court over such global backflips?

      Please Stop and Think About This…

      Posted by rog2 on 04/19 at 03:50 PM • permalink


    1. Somebody give Duyum a spaceship and a fire extinguisher and tell him that the sun is nuclear powered.

      Posted by murph on 04/19 at 06:08 PM • permalink


    1. “A milligram of uranium could power that low-watt mind for 100,000 years.”

      I never thought I’d see the day when I found a sound argument against Nuclear Energy.

      Posted by Sheriff on 04/19 at 08:50 PM • permalink


    1. Dammit. Treacher wins the Best Comment Ever Contest. Again.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 04/19 at 11:51 PM • permalink


    1. while nuclear power is a reasonable alternative, modern materials science could give us solar collectors that would not have the inherent risk & waste problems of the nuclear option.  the trouble is that nuclear has always been inexplicably sexy & solar has been seen as the swampy alternative, attracting bugger all R&D investment.  i’m not anti-nuclear, but it makes sense to look harder at exploting a relatively low-tech free energy source that, once collectors are installed requires little maintenance, no huge bureaucracy, & no special safeguards, & which doesn’t scare the increasingly influential green voters (who ain’t going away just yet, even thought we’d love them to).  best of all you don’t have an electricity company charging you heaps & pissing you about

      Posted by KK on 04/20 at 12:16 AM • permalink


    1. buggre – EXPLOITING – perview si mi fiend

      Posted by KK on 04/20 at 12:17 AM • permalink


    1. The main problem with solar (and wind), AFAIK, is that they’re not capable of providing a stable base level of electricity output. You can’t store electricity in any meaningful sense, so you have to produce it at the same time it’s being used, which solar isn’t capable of to the degree you’d need for the energy demands of the entire society.

      In other words, having a solar panel on your roof may be a nice way to power your espresso maker, but it doesn’t exactly scale well.

      Posted by PW on 04/20 at 12:31 AM • permalink


    1. “in any meaningful sense” should be “to any meaningful degree”…sigh, I even previewed.

      Posted by PW on 04/20 at 12:32 AM • permalink


    1. KK, look at your last electric bill, and then figure out how big your solar collector would need to be to run your house and your car.

      Solar flux at the equator is about 1.7 kW per square meter at the Earth’s orbit. Cut that in half because of night. Multiply by 0.4 because the earth rotates. Commercial cells are about 12% efficient.

      Running a 40 watt bulb 24 hours a day would take a collector about one square meter in size.

      Now, if you live off the equator, in a place with clouds, expect that to be optimistic.

      Posted by John Nowak on 04/20 at 03:28 AM • permalink


    1. that’s why the R&D is important – there hasn’t been much done on collector technology or storage since the first flush of enthusiasm in the early 70s, when the 40 watt bulb from a square meter was about right.  since then there have been some advances by solar nuts, but no real investment in R&D.  there are also other things like solar hot water – the people in my neighbourhood don’t heat their pools with solar for show or green cred, they do it because the sums make sense.  i enjoy my daily wallow all the more because the tubes on my roof were cheap & there’s no bill for the heat.  there’s no rule that says you can’t have a mix of sources of electricity – it’s not a straight choice between nuclear & solar, but horses for courses.  of course you’re going to need other power generation technology for industrial baseload, transport, etc, & places where the sun don’t shine, but australia does pretty well in the sunshine department.

      Posted by KK on 04/20 at 04:42 AM • permalink


    1. You are not going to get more than 1.7 kW out of a one meter square solar collector in orbit, no matter how much money you pump into it.

      You are not going to get more than one fifth of that from a collector on the ground, unless you have equipment that will track the sun, no matter how much research money you pour into it.

      Solar’s nifty. It can run watches, some home electronics, and you can use it for heating. It’s never going to be a major contributor. It is not raining soup. It is raining a very thin gruel indeed.

      Posted by John Nowak on 04/20 at 04:51 AM • permalink


  1. Somebody give Duyum a spaceship and a fire extinguisher and tell him that the sun is nuclear powered.

    No problem. Duyum would just go to there at night.

    Posted by Some0Seppo on 04/20 at 12:04 PM • permalink