I enjoyed meeting ABC Radio journalist Babs McHugh on my last visit to Perth.

Babs McHugh
Babs McHugh

We spent about a half hour in a pretty far reaching chat. This edited version of our discussion went to air today.

Babs tells me a longer feature is in production. I will be sure to let you know when this goes to air.


  1. Australia’s own Dr. Helen Caldicott takes credit for shutting down the Australian Uranium mining industry, and no doubt the lack of nuclear power. Australia has plenty of uranium, plenty of thorium and plenty of heavy rare earths all of which are extremely valuable, and all 3 industries depend on a public making policy choices driven by true information, rather than nonsensical fear mongering. If one takes a close look at pretty much any argument made by the Caldicott crowd, it falls apart under scrutiny. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs4Ejv82uAo

  2. It’s hard to reconcile ‘urgent’ with the IFR being a preferred reactor. Assuming whatever comes to Australia has to be approved by the US NRC from what I can gather the S-PRISM is more than a decade away. The US prototype has to be be built and probably the Brits need to buy a couple before we’d consider it. Having said that the earliest light water SMR probably now won’t arrive until 2025 despite being a lucrative export opportunity for the US.

    I’d say Australia is in for a decade of dithering. The gas price will double or triple, petrol will exceed $2 a litre, political support for renewables will be weak, carbon constraints will be weak and we’ll shovel more coal into the boilers to keep the desals and aircons going even as the factories close down. Therefore I expect we’ll keep burning roughly the same amount of coal for at least another decade. The problem may be urgent but we’re not acting as though it is.

  3. “It’s hard to reconcile ‘urgent’ with the IFR being a preferred reactor.”

    I entirely agree.

    The piece is edited from over 30 minutes of broader discussion.

    I hope the larger take home point of not waiting for X or Y before acting decisively serves to balance this a little.

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