Dear subscribers and supporters of Decarbonise SA,
This letter was mailed to Mitch Williams and to The Advertiser on 9th August with 54 co-signatories. That’s a fantastic effort. For anyone who did not get the opportunity to co-sign, your comments are still welcomed below.
Dear Mr Williams,
I am writing to express my support for the consideration of nuclear power for electricity generation in South Australia. I congratulate you for your clear expression of support for this.
Our electricity generation sector will require very substantial investment in the near future to replace aging and highly polluting baseload power stations.
With lifespans of 40-60 years, such investments are made once every two generations. When we decide what to build, we cannot think about the next five years; we must think about the next 50.
We have to get it right. We can only get it right by being open to all options.
The assumption that South Australia will transition from coal to natural gas must be challenged. Natural gas power stations that live for 50 years are not a transition- they are a commitment. Is that the commitment South Australians want to make? It would lock in further power price rises from the massive growth in global demand for gas, and the soon to be introduced carbon price. New natural gas generation will produce a range of toxic pollution, and over 400g of CO2-e per kWh of electricity, for the next 50 years.
In 2011, with all we now know about the urgency of climate change, that is simply 400g too many. South Australia needs to draw a line: Any new baseload power generation must be zero carbon. Therefore South Australia must explore all zero-carbon options for baseload power.
Nuclear power provides around 15% of electricity generation in 31 countries in the world today. Many more nations in our region will soon deploy nuclear for the first time. It is zero-carbon generation and emits none of the harmful, toxic air pollution of fossil fuels.
It is the safest major generation source in the world, and provides electricity at a competitive price. With minimal fuel requirements, and no exposure at all to carbon pricing, investment in nuclear power will lock in low and stable generation prices for South Australia. Near-term developments in 4th Generation nuclear power will enable all long-lived nuclear waste to be consumed as fuel, providing abundant and sustainable energy.
These benefits are simply too great to be overlooked or ignored because it may be a tough sell to South Australians. I commend you for your public position and look forward to contributing to a discussion that South Australia has to have.
Founder- Decarbonise SA
Director- ThinkClimate Consulting