Can life-long environmentalists change position on nuclear power? Or is the fear of change too strong, such that caring people will pursue flawed policy to avoid the process?

On Monday I was an invited participant for a Google Hangout with Senator Christine Milne, Leader of the Australian Greens. My sincere thanks to Ben Cubby, Environment Editor for Fairfax, for putting my name forward for this, and to Fairfax for running a great session and making this footage available.

The chat lasted just over an hour. With assistance of reader Mark Bolton (thanks Mark), I have prepared an edit to condense the nuclear discussion. Enjoy the clip. I offer some brief reflection afterwards, and a few telling infographics.

The policy of the Australian Greens is unequivocal rejection of nuclear power. Nonetheless, I was honestly surprised by the level of hostility of the response to my opening question. The suggestion of using nuclear power to address what had been described as a “climate emergency” seemed like something to wipe from one’s shoe.

I left nuclear behind then to query the policy on renewables in more detail. I was taken aback by how, having cited the AEMO work as backing for their position, the report itself was largely dissavowed by the Greens leader. Her assertions regarding AEMO’s “conservative” nature belie the report’s pretty impressive expectations for both geothermal and biomass. Yet there was no argument about the status of geothermal and if anything, Senator Milne saw my position on the unsustainability of biomass energy and raised me!

So with my final opportunity, I sought to understand just how, technologically speaking, the Greens expect to meet their target, by specifically asking whether solar thermal with storage is the only baseload technology that they can unequivocally support. Based on the response, I am concerned that in the policy is resting on little more than an article of faith that the technology the Senator has seen in action in Spain can deliver on our every baseload need.

We need hope, but hope is not a plan.

Where I clearly got under the Senator’s skin was suggesting that the policy was not consistent with a climate emergency at all, but rather about pushing preferred technology. I essentially asked whether a lifelong environmentalist does not actually care about the environment! Herein lies a quite a paradox.

I can’t come to a position where I believe Senator Milne does not care about climate change. On a great number of the fronts where this fight has been waged, it is The Greens who have held the clearest line in Australian politics. This makes their ideological objection to nuclear power all the more distressing.

It seems that moving to a position that is at least open to discussion of the nuclear option is more frightening and confronting than climate change itself. I have posited before that when we ask people to change their minds about something big like nuclear power, we are asking more than that. We may be asking them to change their identity and their roles.

That’s a highly confronting process, and it’s possible. That’s really what makes the tale of Pandora’s Promise so compelling. We see a generational stalwart like Stewart Brand who had the courage to follow through on his rhetorical question to self:

“I’m against nuclear… But what if what I have been thinking all this time is wrong?”

So today, I am talking to the Greens, and other caring environmentalists who either reject nuclear power or are wavering. Please, follow Stewart’s example, ask yourself the question and take some steps to find out. Pandora’s Promise is touring Australia in October, accompanied by the director for Q&A. Tickets for Adelaide are already on sale and selling very fast.

I have never been so glad to be wrong as I was about nuclear.

Like what you see here? Please subscribe to the blog, Like Decarbonise SA on Facebook and follow BenThinkClimate on Twitter. Read more about the potential for nuclear power in Australia at Zero Carbon Options

Nuclear power has been demonstrated to be the fastest and most comprehensive replacement for fossil fuels
Nuclear power has been demonstrated to be the fastest and most comprehensive replacement for fossil fuels. Image by Geoff Russell
The demonstrated successful pathway to decarbonised electricity is nuclear power
The demonstrated successful pathway to decarbonised electricity is nuclear power
The cheapest form of new-build electricity in Australia will be wind power and nuclear power. There is no economic argument to not using both
The cheapest form of new-build electricity in Australia will be wind power and nuclear power. There is scant economic argument for excluding either
The most comprehensive study of its kind tells us nuclear is the safest major energy source in terms of both accidents and pollution. ExternE as cites in Lancet 2007
The most comprehensive study of its kind tells us nuclear is the safest major energy source in terms of both accidents and pollution. ExternE as cited in Lancet 2007

When spent fuel is recycled in an Integral Fast Reactor, a golf ball of uranium can provide as much power as 800 elephants worth of coal

31 comments

  1. It’s tough to know whether to give even a Senate vote for the Greens Sept 7th. If the party adopted a neutral position on nuclear that could tap a mine of new support. Some predict a Greens wipeout both Senate and House of Reps so they will go down fighting. If they hang on that may embolden their anti-nuclear stance. At the moment the party seems to be controlled by heart on their sleeve types, not pragmatists.

    Remember also that Milne earned her stripes protesting the 180 MW Franklin hydro, a form of clean energy which in my opinion would have caused little environmental damage. Now we need 150X as much clean generation capacity to displace coal and gas, more if we are to power electric transport. In a year or two the political pendulum could swing back particularly when ‘Direct Action’ fizzles into no action on coal. Perhaps the Greens could re-invent themselves as nuclear agnostics if not supporters next time round.

    1. Like everyone I have to vote, but my nuclear advocacy is non-partisan, so I can’t answer that.

      However, my vote happens to matter this time around, so if Andrew Southcott or Annabel Digance want my endorsement they are welcome to try I suppose.

      SA does have a hard working independent Senator in Nick Xenophon. I don’t always agree with him but he is hard-working, honest, and strives to be informed when making decisions. Happy to give a nod to Nick as an option South Australian’s are fortunate to have.

      Ironically, in doing my research for this session I found much to agree with in Green policy too.

      Any party showing actual spine on the nuclear issue would go a long way to winning my vote.

  2. In regards to wind and solar making energy cheaper as claimed by Senator Christine Milne, I like to dispute this.
    The increase of intermittent solar and wind supply reduces the efficiency of common power stations that have to shadow to the point that they become unviable to operate like in Germany. If the wind and solar power producer in Europe would be paid with the actual price of the Energy Exchange price that often gets to negative $ values they would get broke very quickly. Wind and solar makes the electricity cost going up as there is a constant fluctuation between power oversupply and undersupply and nothing will change this peaky situation. In the end we will be ending up with double and tripled required power capacity all established with capital that will have a high maintenance cost. We are 20mill Australians and there are 7 billion people living on this planet. Australia’s land and sea area makes us a net importer of CO2; why not wait and see how Germany is going with Die Energiwende before destroying Australia’s economy for no good reason?

    1. My rough calcs suggest we will import about 100 Mtpa of CO2 via petroleum (Australian output is declining fast) while exporting about 800 Mt of CO2 via thermal coal, coking coal and LNG. Of course when we no longer have steel and aluminium industries Asia will do the work for us (using our ore and coal) and we’ll buy the end products but the CO2 won’t be on our books.

      Germany seems hellbent on overbuilding wind and solar capacity to several times peak demand. However Spain shows us the subsidies can be cut suddenly. That means low carbon backup will be needed for the already built intermittent capacity. It not only rules out coal and gas but I also doubt biomass backup is practical on the required scale. Nor are any energy storage breakthroughs on the horizon. It suggests the need for load following nuclear such as Ben’s favoured CANDUs
      http://atomicinsights.com/ontarios-candus-can-be-more-flexible-than-natural-gas-and-hydro/
      and arrays of small modular reactors. Rightly or wrongly by 2020 the world will probably have a huge amount of installed wind and solar and a disliking for dirty coal and expensive gas. Flexible nukes will then have a major role to play.

      1. Unfortunately, we now have a lot of wind and solar and the best way in my opinion is to stop building more of these now. The best way now is to build preliminary modern high efficient coal and gas power stations as they are also load following. These coal and gas Power Stations can be upgraded with modular nuclear reactors most likely from China later; this only because it would take too long to get nuclear on line in Australia as required. Building modern coal power stations is exactly what Germany is doing presently. The real expense caused by wind and solar is the need to have peak power supply today only supplied by inefficient gas turbines that can respond within minutes to a peak demand.
        The power bills of the 1 million solar collectors on rooftops in Australia are paid it least in part by predominately less well of Australians that have no house and can’t afford to purchase solar collectors.

  3. Nice try Ben, but these forums aren’t an even handed debate or discussion. You need a question which can rattle her … which isn’t easy.

    The optimal question will probably compare France’s nuclear success with Germany’s
    failure and the fact that one million solar roofs is pathetic. It will take 140 million 2 kw solar
    roofs to offset enough coal emissions just to offset our livestock methane.

    [Assume each kwh from solar saves 800 gms of CO2, then
    3 million tonnes of methane at latest 20 year GWP … 105 = 315 mt so
    315e12/(800*1e6*2*24*365*0.16)=140.4645 years]

    1. The question did not matter in terms of the answer received. The answer was always going to be the same. That’s how ideology works.

      The question was only of value in terms of how other’s perceived my. I tried to ask a good question with that in mind.

        1. Cheers, yes I have. To be fair Milne was at considerable disadvantage, as I had the luxury of sitting back and thinking in between those questions. Balancing that, her responses were certainly pretty facile.

      1. Yes, you came across as reasoned and logical, but … dare I say it, so did she.

        Milne’s argument is simple and not silly. If you have a choice of energy systems A, B, C and D and D is in any way troublesome, where as A, B, and C aren’t, then why include D? There’s a few ways to beat that argument: 1) show D isn’t troublesome, 2) show that one or more of the others are at least as troublesome, 3) show that the others can’t do the job in any conceivable combination … if this is true then D must be included. All of these require considerable time to demonstrate when you, as the questioner didn’t really have.

        1. Precisely. There were hard limits to what was achievable.

          You have nicely summed up why nuclear advocacy is challenging. It’s the reason why we need the sustained efforts of bloggers and writers, good infographics, feature documentaries and short videos. All of which I included in this post! 🙂 Positions tend to change slowly, though anecdotally I understand Pandora’s Promise is pretty amazing for 88 mins work!

  4. You did well Ben, but the set-up was a very difficult one to handle. It is easy to prattle off a set speech (and set answers to questions), as Christine Milne did. The weakness of her argument is that it is qualitative. The rebuttal is quantitative – the numbers don’t add up. And the format of the debate prevented that sort of an attack.

    She obviously believes that wind and solar (almost) alone can do the job. She doesn’t know that they can only do so if there is a huge storage system. And there isn’t any such a thing. So wind and solar will leave the lights out for long periods at random times and Australia will just have to live with it. Germany, at least can suck power from its neighbors.

    Modern power grids are AC. This makes long distance transmission efficient and voltage matching easy. DC grids are almost the exact opposite. One of the huge problems with wind and solar is that they are very much better adapted to a DC grid where the storage problem is easier (but still feeble), and the phase matching problem goes away. But DC grids are very inefficient at low voltages and very dangerous at high voltages. Somehow, this problem never seems to get discussed at any of these debates.

    Also, well put Geoff Russell: D has to be included.

  5. Whether you like it or not, even if someone starts building tomorrow nuclear power will not make a contribution to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions until almost 2030. Here is a long blog post I’ve written on that topic:
    http://evcricketenergy.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/if-the-answer-is-nuclear-you-dont-understand-the-question/
    Why would the Greens change their opposition to nuclear? Like me, they want to lower emissions as quickly as possible, right now. Renewables and energy efficiency are lowering Australia’s emissions right now. Supporting nuclear power as a solution to climate change in Australia is as effective as supporting bringing back dinosaurs for biodiversity.
    Perhaps Senator Milne didn’t engage with you because, like me, she is sick of the holier and smarter than thou attitude of nuclear power supporters? It strikes me as incredibly churlish to suggest that because she doesn’t agree with your solution to climate change she mustn’t believe in it at all. This is the leader of the party that introduced carbon trading into Australia and has consistently campaigned for environmental protection, but she doesn’t agree with your solution so you think she’s been lying all along. Changing our economy to one that is less carbon intensive is a gigantic problem, and despite what you might think one with many possible solutions. Maybe you could stop picking fights with people on the same team and start working against those who oppose any action on climate change?
    To your point about baseload, I could hardly disagree more. We do not have any requirement for baseload generation, never have and never will. We have a market that compares demand with availability every 6 minutes. At no stage does anyone care whether generation is baseload or not, all that matters is “can you supply power cheaper than others”.
    But, if you own an aluminium smelter and want to power it from renewables, geothermal will be true baseload, as will run of river hydro (which TBH probably won’t work much in Australia) solar thermal with storage is already demonstrated as dispatchable, wave and tidal will be near baseload in a number of places and storage will smooth the curves of wind.
    Turn that around too; nuclear is a big slow Rankine cycle, much like a big coal plant. It can’t load follow quickly and will sit idle for about half the time, as demand goes on its daily path from about 20 to about 40GW. How are you going to fix that? If your answer involves dumping the excess load somewhere, please let me know where this is currently being demonstrated, or concede that we would have to invent something.

    As you’ll see in my post up the page, I concede that nuclear has some advantages, before you go off half cocked about ideology. But it can’t make a difference to emissions quickly enough in Australia to bother with it. Even if you somehow manage to convince enough Australians that it shouldn’t be illegal any more and get that law changed, the best case scenario I can imagine is one plant under construction by 2020. The sort of build out needed for a nuclear Australia would require a drastic restructuring of the economy, state ownership of assets and our entire skill base. Not going to happen. So pursue your nuclear purity by all means, but let the rest of us get on with it in the mean time.

    1. Thanks for commenting.

      I have not suggested that Senator Milne does not believe in climate change, and did not do so in the interview. I am querying whether it is more confronting for Greens to face an ideological objection to nuclear power than it is to face the prospect of climate breakdown. In the interview, I suggested that a policy of excluding a major potential solution is inconsistent with assertions of a climate emergency, and more consistent with using the problem of climate change to push preferred technologies. There is an inference that one who would do this does not really care about the problem. As I have gone on to comment, I don’t believe that to be the case. It seems rather more complex. People really can sincerely care about an issue, yet struggle to confront some critical beliefs about the issue.

      I have spent plenty of time and effort fighting those who object to action, in a great many ways, big and small, quiet and loud. I had a big thank you from an incoming Greens Senator following my presentation “Dealing with Denialism”. Beware false assumptions Evan. If we lack the courage to challenge ourselves and our “own team” too then environmentalism is truly lost. I’m quite comfortable challenging both fallacies, that of climate denial and anti-nuclear ideology, at the same time. Both are harming us.

      You have confused me about baseload. We do not have a requirement for baseload, never have, never will. Then you tell me about a whole lot of renewable technologies that are good for baseload, including something called “true baseload”. Then you twice mention the importance of energy storage. If we don’t need baseload, then we don’t need most of what you talked about.

      Nuclear power has been an effective load-follower for decades in countries where it provides a substantial proportion of supply. More modern plants do it even better. They are not as nimble as gas, but not remotely the sluggush juggernauts you suggest. As to the spare capacity overnight, that’s just what we have now with our fossil plants. However, given that there is virtually no marginal cost, financial or environmental, to providing the power from nuclear, there are a great many useful things it could do, including charging vehicles or desalinating water. By contrast, the AEMO report on 100% renewables tells us such a system will need a great deal more, not less, latent capacity in the system to deal with the variability.

      “So pursue your nuclear purity by all means, but let the rest of us get on with it in the mean time.”

      I think you are projecting. I am not, have not, suggested nuclear purity. I’m wondering if you did not actually watch the clip, so did not listen to my first question to the Senator. I presume you did not read this recent piece http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2013/08/09/3821327.htm . In both cases I went out of my way to argue for all of the above. You are probably not aware that my day job includes energy efficiency strategies and grant writing for solar systems. Deliberately putting renewables and nuclear in opposition is something we all have to get over.

      Which brings me to a question. It seems that “too slow” is the core objection here. How are we prevented from “getting on with it” using wind, solar and energy efficiency while commencing the process of deploying nuclear power?

    2. The problem with being obsessed by doing something “right now” is that it mightn’t get us to where we need to be. Please have a look at the UAE line in the graph under Ben’s post. It’s the difference between building a bunch of bicycles and glorying in how fast you are progressing compared with somebody “wasting” time building factories to make B-double trucks. By 2020 the UAE will have grown it’s per capita clean energy by triple what the Germans may have achieved with renewables … and it’s not just clean energy, its reliable 24/7 electricity which you can use for many things … recharging electric vehicles overnight, desalination, etc, etc.

    3. Unlike Ben, and as an engineer looking at this for many years I came to the conclusion that any form of what is called renewables is a waste of time and resources. It is a matter of energy density and availability. To harvest low density wind and solar the infrastructure and destruction of the environment is just enormous. The ratio of investment to actual CO2 not produced is very questionable. Germany is a good example and I predict that the next five years will tell a different story as most Germans and environmentalist like to hear, the cracks are slowly showing and the first changes will come with the next German elections in three weeks’ time.
      As Ben, I think that we need to act on climate change now but not in a way that consumes a lot of capital with little to show for. There are 7 billon people on this planet with about half of them not having reliable electrical power supplies presently and only a universally fast applicable technology can make a decisive different.
      Until we catch up with 4o years of lost time in nuclear technology development, the best we can do is to improve conventional technologies in operation now and utilise newer nuclear technology that is available where possible.
      People that think that windmills and solar collectors are a bad idea for the low carbon future are not climate change deniers, these people just have come to the conclusion that windmills and solar collectors are the wrong technologies to deal with this challenge.

  6. A week out the election pundits predict the Greens will lose their lower house seat and at least one senate seat. The looming reality is that the new government will go through the motions on a weak 5% emissions cut by 2020 then probably lose interest when the practicalities bite. In other words all systems go for coal which is effectively the status quo anyway.

    The big problem for any government will be replacing the large coal stations after 2020. Some might think they can be replaced by overbuilt renewables, somehow stabilised or the customers bullied into unreliable supply. Based on 2012 generation of 1.1% PV and 3.5% wind power I wouldn’t bet on it. Nor does the 1 MW geothermal plant after a decade of full-on effort inspire confidence. It is unlikely electrical demand will shrink to the point that we don’t need coal station replacements. Example the 2+ GW Bayswater B power station. Note the gas fuel option which we can probably rule out since NSW is to supposed to have a gas crisis by 2015.

    I think a good approach is to buy one of the first SMRs to get US NRC approval. Use it for power and desal on a mining project like Olympic Dam. Let it run glitch free for 6 months then start thinking about bigger capacity.

  7. Publicly (or in a public forum) I expect this is the reply you will get ad nauseum. For the greens it will be “too expensive, too long, too dangerous”. The coalition will be “it’s not economically viable currently”. The ALP is a mixture of both.

    However take any politician aside and ask them in private and the contrast is interesting. If you want to try this it has to be in person and not via written correspondence. Politicians are fickle characters and like to cover their reputations.

    1. I have noticed this as well, but while working with sustainability consultants. Being involved in several sustainability working-groups and committees where I tend to push consideration of the nuclear option and getting attacked for it, there have been many times when other members of those committees have told me in private that they are not actually against nuclear, even while they remain silent during meetings about it (or even join in the attack on me!). The main reason these otherwise fine consultants hide their pro-nuclear stance is that they think it would seriously damage their reputation within the ‘sustainability sector’ and thus nullify what little influence they have on developing sensible sustainability strategies and policies in the face of the onslaught of twaddle and nonsense that is threatening the bona fide development of this sector as it is. In other words: while they agree nuclear is clearly a perfectly fine way of tackling climate change, they believe is not worth taking the reputation risks involved by actively coming out in actively supporting it.

      What this indicates to me is that there is a significant pent-up potential of widespread support for nuclear power within the ‘sustainability sector’, which will erupt as soon as sustainability consultants start believing that being openly pro-nuclear is no longer a threat to their career. I especially thank people like Heard and Russel for helping to bring this turning point closer by providing spot-on and practically usable material such as what can be found on this website. I am sure we will succeed. I just hope it will be sooner rather than later for all our sakes. Keep up the good work.

      1. Sorry Mr. Russell, for misspelling your name.

        I also want to add that the way I extracted the confessions of secretly being pro-nuclear from these consultants is by a strong method such as telling them (in private) that I believe they are directly undermining human health, prosperity and progress, as well as the health of the environment, by being anti-nuclear, and explaining why I believe that. I don’t do this tactic in public of course, since you should avoid cornering people publicly like that, although there are things you can say in public meetings that will also prompt closet-pro-nukes to more or less ‘spill the beans’ about their true opinion too. Even getting a respected consultant to admit that he is ‘not against nuclear power in principle’ can have big effects on other consultants present who still believe that nuclear is ‘obviously out of the question’.

        1. Thanks for the kind words Joris. Yes, I too have met people who are anti nuclear in public but open minded (or pro) in private. But I’m never really sure what they think, some people just meld into whatever they see as the dominant position.

  8. Ben
    I’m not a Twitter user but I want to respond to a point made in the side bar. The coal generators are to get 41m free permits which X $24.15 is a lazy billion. What needs to to be pointed is that they’ve already had $1bn in cash
    http://www.rtcc.org/2013/02/21/australias-coal-industry-making-billions-from-carbon-tax/
    They didn’t cut their power prices after this earlier taxpayer generosity. Hazelwood for example got $266m. That all came to light in February and I guess nobody thought about an election in early September. This latest giveaway is the second rung of the coal assistance package and shows why coal remains king.

  9. Sorry, seems the ‘smaller than sign’ meshes the post. So I took those off.
    Below the corrected one:

    1- Nuclear Power (Plants) is the most heavy subsidized form of electricity generation. Take those subsidies off and then it will show to be the most expensive (more than wind, solar).
    The two major subsidies in almost all nuclear countries:

    a- Limited liability towards ridiculous low amounts (in EU smaller than €1billion).
    A nuclear accident may generate a damage of €1000billion. And those happened once in ~6000 reactor years. So insurance premium should be ~€ 166million/reactor year.
    Only this raises the cost price of nuclear generated electricity with €15/MWh.

    b- Limited liability regarding waste. Almost all countries restrict that to ~100years.
    UK tax payers face a bill of >€100billion for the waste at Sellafield already.
    More realistic reservations for storage (with present technology ~million years needed) are at least 10000years. That implies extra costs of ~€10/MWh for reservations. Those are now shifted to our grand- grand-children.

    The fast breeder idea that would solve only part of the issue is already >50years around. But due to the danger (Kalkar, Germany) and technological problems (Monju, Japan) it is never realized..

    2- Generation 2/3 power plants have shown to be very unsafe. So France developed the EPR which has improved safety (gen. 3+ not even gen.4). It can withstand an unloaded F16 plane attack (not a 747 jumbo attack) thanks to its double hull, etc.

    Despite the subsidies that I state above and additional loan guarantees (worth ~€5billion?) from UK government, the utility EDF requires huge guarantees from UK government regarding the electricity the EPR at Hinckley Point can/will produce (after a building period of ~10year).
    I cite from Wikipedia (abbreviated):

    “…2013 UK wholesale electricity price is ~£48/MWh. EDF is negotiating a guaranteed fixed price for electricity from Hinkley Point C, and is thought to be asking for £95-£100/MWh, which would be fixed for 35 years (linked to inflation!). It is estimated that this would provide around a 10% return on their investment…”

    The nuclear plant would be ready at ~2023 and produce electricity for a subsidized price of ~€100/MWh (~€120/MWh if you calc the above subsidies into the price) during during 35 years (price rising with inflation!).

    Assume inflation zero and compare the situation at 2040 (halfway guaranteed price period).
    At that time solar (PV panels / thin sheets) will produce for €30/MWh *).
    Wind somewhat more expensive (price decrease going more slowly).

    So the market price for electricity at that time will be less than €45/MWh.
    So >60% of the turnover of the new nuclear plant will be subsidy!

    3- The no wind no sun problem can be handled by:
    – pumped storage
    – heat storage (molten salt, etc)
    – batteries (at local level); they are improving, especially now with electric cars.
    – electricity to (car) fuel conversion. Scotland is building a pilot plant in order to use the future over-capacity of its wind turbines
    – electricity to a variant of natural gas that can be injected in the gas system. Germany is building a pilot at Hamburg.

  10. The Greens/ALP alliance will control the Senate until at least July next year so there will be no carbon tax repeal before then. I was surprised to learn that SA independent Senator Nick Xenophon is a fan of geothermal and no fan of windpower
    http://www.coolibahconsulting.com.au/TiP/2013/09/07/the-x-factor-in-play/
    In the next few months the Coal-ition may consider watering down the RET which may slow or stop the wind build. Their ranks will be joined by Clive Palmer who wants to dig up chunks of Queensland so it’s all systems go for coal.

    Dry granite geothermal (heat source radioactive decay) is about to run a 1 MWe plant in the remote SA outback. That’s after a decade of effort with public funding if I recall of $294m. Other SA geothermal sites in the south east propose to use wet though not volcanic rock. I fear more funding will throw good money after bad. I think Xenophon should consider the nuclear option for SA as a more reliable investment payoff.

  11. Yes it’s unfortunate but as time goes on I’ve had to conclude that the Greens’ objection to nuclear power is not rational but ideological, and I know I’m not the only one dragged reluctantly to this conclusion. The reluctance is because I broadly agree with their social policies yet now I am forced to vote against them.

    The Greens ideology is connected with the Natural Fallacy and, regrettably, other unscientific ideas. This is why they are also opposed to GMO technology amongst other things.

    Living in Japan I have watched the whole Fukushima debacle from the beginning, and even in March 2011 I was struck by George Monbiot’s idea: if this amounts to a major disaster for a nuclear power plant, but has killed or injured nobody, then we should immediately be building nuclear plants in every city around the world.

    1. Hey Ben,
      You could have asked Senator Milne Why 32 countries are continuing to use nuclear power and another 17 countries are proposing to do so. That’s the question I asked Ian Lowe at the ATSE symposium. Remember? Several attendees congratulated me for the question and were very critical of Lowe’s answer. Ian Hore Lacy was really miffed by his response.Keep up your good work Ben. You’ll definitely see nuclear in Australia. At 75, I’m not sure that I will but I live in hope. Watch out for my fourth Ockhams Razor talk later this year. Cheers.

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