“I am very pleased to announce today the upcoming launch of the report Zero Carbon Options – Seeking an economic mix for an environmental outcome. The report will be launched in Adelaide on December 5, and I need your help.”

We have all felt it. The frustration; that dumbfounded feeling as our country and our world drives full speed toward climate breakdown while fear and prejudice hold back our most potent and far-reaching solution.

What I have heard from many of you, over email or face to face, is this:

We understand this problem. We want to do something, urgently.

We now have the chance to make something happen.

I am very pleased to announce today the upcoming launch of the report Zero Carbon Options – Seeking an economic mix for an environmental outcome. The report will be launched in Adelaide on December 5. Tickets (free) are available here.

We need your help.

The value of this report will be tied to what we can do with it. Our first stage is to  fund a major launch in Adelaide, capital of South Australia. We are seeking $6,680.

Please visit our fundraising site and make a pledge by clicking on the image below.

If we exceed this budget, we will promote this work much more extensively, beginning with videoing and editing the launch event,  funding launch events in the other capital cities of Australia, and printing more copies of the report for distribution.

Only if we meet or exceed our target will the pledges come in. One dollar short and we get nothing! So just as important as making a pledge, please use the full extent of your networks, and the sharing tools available, to build awareness of the campaign. It is my sincere hope that the pro-nuclear community is connected and cohesive enough to recognise the value in this project and get behind it.

In a first-of-its-kind effort, this report will directly compare two very different zero-carbon generation options (hybrid renewable and nuclear) against one very specific task: the replacement of the Northern and Playford Coal fired power stations in northern South Australia.This report will build understanding of the benefits of nuclear power as an electricity generation option in Australia, and my intention is that this report will be a major talking point, and reference, for 2013 and beyond.

The solutions will be compared across 13 economic, environmental and social criteria:

  • Capital cost
  • Levelised cost of electricity
  • Greenhouse gas abatement
  • Land use
  • Water consumption
  • Material inputs
  • Operational waste
  • Job creation
  • Lifespan
  • Capacity factor
  • Reliability
  • Requirement for network enhancement
  • Existing global and national generating capacity
This report has been prepared by me, via ThinkClimate Consulting, and Brisbane-based consultants Brown & Pang. It represents six months of research, writing and planning, all of which has been completely unfunded. It has been extensively researched and twice peer reviewed by energy and climate experts Professor Barry Brook (Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change at Adelaide University) and Mr Martin Nicholson (author of The Power Makers’s Challenge, available through Springer Press). It is currently in the graphic design stage. The graphic design work is being delivered by Brown & Pang.

This  report provides a chance to demonstrate the need and level of public support for a properly informed discussion on nuclear power.

It’s ready. Help us get it off the ground!
2 November update: 35% funded! Thanks to those who have made pledges. Please keep it coming, this is all or nothing fundraising!

5 November update: 50% funded! Over 50 tickets taken! Fantastic, keep it coming 

Like what you see? Please subscribe to the blog, Like Decarbonise SA on Facebook and follow Ben_Heard_DSA on Twitter.




  1. Full marks for advocating the sensible option of having nuclear in the mix but PLEASE help to stop the lemming-like march towards installing hordes of useless, and VERY expensive, wind farms!!

    1. Firstly, thank you very much. If you would see fit to making a pledge at Pozilble so that I might get this off the ground, I would be most appreciative.

      Regarding wind farms, my research for this or other work has not suggested that they are useless (as in, they do cut greenhouse gas emissions), nor particularly expensive (compared to other zero-carbon options including nuclear power), provided their penetration does not go overboard. They are also relatively quick to get up and running in appreciable quantities, and I wish the rest of Australia had at least done similarly to South Australia in this regard while we have been dithering over nuclear power.

      But they are intermittent, they deliver little during peak periods in South Australia, and as penetrations get high the network is subject to growing amounts of sudden fluctuation in supply including negative price events (i.e. massive oversupply meaning no one can make any money selling power) or big drops in supply. Trying to keep building wind as we enter this territory will become very expensive indeed. As such it is not, and probably never will be, a suitable replacement for fossil baseload in the way nuclear is.

      To read more, this report was released yesterday by AEMO http://www.aemo.com.au/Electricity/Planning/Reports/South-Australian-Advisory-Functions/Wind-Study-Report and I have written about wind here https://decarbonisesa.com/2011/09/14/the-good-the-hard-and-the-windy/

  2. It all sounds warm & fuzzy .. with things like the maximum 5 minute output being 1081 MW and so on .. BUT wind always suffers from being intermittent, unreliable and unpredictable. The real issue (apart from the huge subsidies necessary to make them “economic” ) with wind farms is .. how many thermal power stations are shut down when we want to use this “free” energy .. and how much less coal is burnt? I think the answer to both os a big fat ZERO.
    If you want to explore more on this I suggest you check the article by Graham Lloyd, in the Weekend Australian of 1st-2nd September this year where he reports on some very detailed research by a Victorian qualified (retired) Mechanical Engineer, Hamish Cumming, where Cumming concludes that the saving in greenhouse gases is quite illusory, largely due to the fact that the thermal power stations have to be kept running so that they are able to take up the slack whenever the wind drops out!
    However I do support the idea of pushing nuclear as an interim measure until we can get solar-thermal or hot rocks delivering the goods.

      1. In SA the displacement ratio is for every 1GWh of Wind produced 0.38GWh of Gas and Coal is displaced (past 6 FYs). But this doesn’t take into account displacement across the border to Victoria displacing coal there (increase the 0.38 value) and maintenance/scheduled closures of plants in SA (decrease the 0.38 value). The ratio is a good ball park figure.

        It’s interesting how the ratio looks eerily similar to the capacity factor in SA (~30-35%).

  3. I will read the report as soon as I get it and use the results on other blogs. I read the introduction. What needs to be emphasized are the impossibility of building adequate energy storage for renewables alone and that the fear of nuclear is based on false information and hype.

    Please read this book: “Radiation and Reason, The impact of Science on a culture of fear” by Wade Allison.
    Professor Allison says we can take up to 10 rems per month, a little more than 1000 times the present “legal” limit. The old limit was 5 rems/lifetime. A single dose of 800 rems could kill you, but if you have time to recover between doses of 10 rems, no problem. It is like donating blood: You see “4 gallon donor” stickers on cars. You know they didn’t give 4 gallons all at once. There is a threshold just over 10 rems. You are getting .35 rems/year NATURAL background radiation right where you are right now.

    Divide 5 rems by your present Natural Background Radiation. For Americans, Natural Background Radiation is at least .35 rems/year. Our Natural Background Radiation uses up our 5 rems/lifetime when we are 14 years old.

    Natural Background Radiation is radiation that was always there, 1000 years ago, a million years ago, etc. Natural Background Radiation comes from the rocks in the ground and from exploding stars thousands of light years away. All rocks contain uranium. Radon gas is a decay product of uranium.

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