Your regular nuclear advocacy programming will resume shortly. As a (disputed!) environmentalist I like to keep thinking and learning outside my direct area, and in other spaces that engage my passion. Hence I have been sitting on a copy of Feral since the day of release which I finally managed to read recently while flying to-and-from Spain (yes, when you live in Australia that’s more than enough time to read a book!). This is not a book review. You will find plenty of those for Feral if you want one. Suffice to say, I think the book has serious merit. I hope you will read on.

Australia remains a wild place. This is a country where the crocodiles eat the people, and the pythons eat the crocodiles. This sparsely inhabited continent is home to the oldest continuing human cultures on earth and an extraordinary collection of world-famous wildlife. We have a bird that can disable a large dog, the most poisonous snakes on the planet, and kangaroos that get pretty aggressive if you walk through their lie on the golf course. So the concept of “rewilding”, as raised by George Monbiot in his most recent book Feral, might, at first consideration, seem inapplicable. If George is as determined to experience death-by-nature as some of his exploits suggest, he could do worse than to emigrate and settle down-under.

George? Your cassowary is ready
George? Your cassowary is ready

Feral is a decidedly UK-centric book. The state of affairs outlined by Monbiot in the Cambrian Desert, and the almost surreally prescriptive approach to managing so called “wilderness” areas in the UK, seems an extreme case of a society seeking to tame nature. This is a point Monbiot drives home repeatedly with reference to evolving conservation practices in continental Europe. So I suspect he knew what he was doing; writing this book for his homelands. It seems those homelands could use a heavy dose of what Monbiot yearns for: self-willed landscapes, reforestation and the deliberate reintroduction of several keystone species to the British Isles.

Nonetheless there is much in Feral that is squarely applicable to South Australia and Australia more broadly. While Australia remains very wild, that’s in part because, as a whole, the place is a bit too big, and the environment and critters a bit too tough, for it to be any other way. But we have nothing like a functional, mutually supportive relationship with our wilderness, particularly in the parts of Australia where most of us actually live. As Corey Bradshaw says, “the simple truth is that South Australia’s biodiversity and ecosystems are in shambles”, with only one percent of our state budget allocated to the environment, including the EPA. We may never be able to control this continent as they attempt to do in Britain. That doesn’t stop us from degrading it to hell.

I am fortunate to have access to a substantial patch of land that is as close to pre-colonial vegetation as South Australia has left. Acquired by a family generations ago, this land (which I will refer to as “the property”) has never been cleared, disturbed or “developed” for economic purposes. It is one of the remaining islands of biodiversity on the mega-farm that otherwise is the Fleurieu Peninsula. Much of the surrounds is sufficiently denuded to fool a visitor into thinking that’s all the vegetation the peninsula can support. Particularly in years like 2014, where the summer was long and the rain came late, it is easy to be fooled by the parched and dusty land. It looks tough. How could biodiversity thrive here?

The property gives lie to this perspective. Dense stringy bark and red gum forest stands over a thick understory. Wild flowers abound. Kangaroo, echidna, shingleback lizards, geckos, skinks, snakes and birds will keep you company whether you like it or not. On my last two visits I have noticed new arrivals in the form of some very large deer . I have seen one fox… curiously, on the farm side of the fence line. That may be related to the seeming absence of rabbits in the property. Healthy coastal Australian forest doesn’t really suit rabbits. I have jogged through the field where I saw that fox and was lucky not to twist a knee on the minefield of divets from the dairy cattle. Ferals and farm animals seem to work quite well together.

As Monbiot describes with such wonderment in Feral, forests grow and I don’t mean up. They expand to reclaim territory given a sniff of a chance. Evidence of this tendency abounds along the property’s more remote fencelines. That forests will do this is decidedly good news. At now over 400 parts per million carbon dioxide, we will need to draw down atmospheric CO2 as part of our climate change action. Nothing we have devised for this task, technologically speaking, can compare to the potential of regrowing our forests. Or, as Monbiot would doubtless clarify, permitting them to regrow as they certainly will with perhaps a bit of an assist to speed things along. Places like the property, preserved by the grace of nearly a century of rolling foresight, provide a bio-bank that could reforest great tracts of the Fleurieu. If that’s what we wanted.

Introducing our kids to this beautiful property
Introducing our kids to this beautiful property

It seems, for now, that we don’t want that at all. I have seen this forest encroachment smashed back to the fenceline with absolute prejudice. I can see the economic thinking in action against the emerging scrub: “Don’t even think about establishing something of value that might stop me making money from my land”. It’s not that I necessarily blame the landowner. We have alienable property rights for very good reasons. But the management of Australian agricultural land seems hopelessly substandard, and the management of South Australia’s environment overall is clearly woefully inadequate. From my drives around the peninsula, particularly in late, dry summers, it would take a lot to convince me that maintaining this extraordinary level of cleared land is doing anyone any favours, either environmentally or economically. As Monbiot so brilliantly coined, the land is sheep-wrecked. We can do so much better.

But agriculture in Australia gets a free ride from our expectations of good practice. At the bottom of the property lies a permanent spring. Here, again, forest once began to escape. You may imagine my dismay when I returned to find the farm side of the spring had been cleared and bulldozed to create a watering place for cattle. Day in, day out they will befoul a watersource that departs the property clean, carrying this pollution downstream and ultimately into the ocean to no doubt damage coastal environments. Private property rights are trampling sensible environmental protections.

That’s the sort of vandalism for which our forestry industries would be pilloried if they were to so much as do it accidentally. It would be a blatant breach of the Code of Practice under which they operate. This was a document I had a significant hand in revising via an extensive stakeholder consultation process in 2005/06[1]. More than one forestry stakeholder remarked, in that tone that is used by those who are one step short of total resignation, that every 30-60 years they disturb an area while maintaining strict buffers of 20-40 metres from pools and streams (see section 2.2.1 and 3.2.1), which are then promptly shat in by cows when the stream leaves the forest, and then overrun with topsoil runoff from the poorly managed potato farm. Cutting down trees is a hard thing for any environmentalist to love. But why in God’s name do we not codify our agricultural practices, relevant to about 60 per cent of our land mass, to the extent that we do for our private and public forestry practices? The potential gain in environmental health and biodiversity preservation is huge.

That may be just the problem. It’s a matter of gains, and chasing gains requires vision, hope and proactivity, when environmentalism instead seems hard-wired to respond to threats of loss. In Feral, Mobiot suggests that we are terribly bad at actually dreaming of something better, and may have stopped asking ourselves: just what we are managing our land for, and why? The cessation of enquiry of that type is the pathway to normalisation of practices like springs being bulldozed for cow-toilets, and acceptance of that being just the way things are done.

That’s not the way things are done. That’s the way we are doing things. We can do things differently.

It is willingness to do things differently that saw wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the USA, with a remarkable resultant trophic cascade that increased the biodiversity of the park and reined in the exploding deer population. It is trophic cascades that Monbiot would love to see in Britain with the return of wolf, lynx, beaver, boar and other species, and the landed class seems determined to stand in the way.

We can hardly brag. Our own bit of anti-trophic insanity is the dog-proof fence, an expensive exercise in keeping dingos out of vast parts of Australia. This is done, ostensibly, in the name of protecting sheep. In reality, by excluding the mesopredator, we are also protecting foxes, feral cats, and, to the point of becoming a problem to vegetation cover, kangaroos. That all means the dingo fence is a disaster for our smaller mammals, marsupials and our birds. I’m hardly the expert, but I do wonder if a few more dingos might also mean a few less invasive deer…

The dingo fence
The dingo fence

 

Feral was a welcome journey into the possible. I have been doing what I do for long enough now to understand that we have a changing world on our hands and change is the only certainty. Fighting for stasis in our environment is, and always has been, foolish and misguided. It is only much more recently that I have become excited again about just how good the change to come could be… if we want it to be.

Australia is a wonderful place to live. If we have the sense and the courage we can make it so much more wonderful yet. We can have healthier and more productive land that is more resilient to climate change, and rebounding biodiversity that is part of an integrated and more harmonious approach to our occupation of this land. We can have these things. The first step, surely, is learning that it is possible.

 

 

 

[1] That this Code it is only now in the process of being revised is something I am just a little bit proud of. In terms of Government policy, that represents reasonable longevity!

38 comments

  1. Interesting, and I will read Feral.
    I have lived abutting the Daintree World Heritage Park for over a decade. The synergy of the various animal populations is not immediately apparent but over time the understanding increases. It can start at insect levels (for me the balance of green ant/paper wasp populations) and thence the feral pig/cassowary/dingo as a “bigger” example.
    The common element seems to be the unbalancing of the established relationships. Invariably this seems to be caused by Man. In our area we gave extensive land over to cattle, shooting, trapping or baiting the dingo. This allowed feral pigs to thrive: they are largely responsible for the decline in cassowary numbers (pigs eat the eggs) and do extraordinary damage to the landscape. It is thought that the dingo capped the pig population but the almost total elimination of our wild dog allowed the pig population to increase exponentially. The damage to the cassowary population was a “knock-on” effect of the declining dingo population.

    I feel qualified to endorse this article – I am seeing the changes around me, this is not coming from a book.
    To end on a high note, as I type I hear dingo’s calling to each other less than a kilometer away. If I am really lucky I may see one but they are very shy.

  2. George should try stepping on a highly venomous snake for the novelty to quickly wear off. If most of us are wiped out in one of them pocky lipses I think farming will return to the old practice of fallowing or resting soil. We’ll just set fire to a patch of overgrown land, possibly a former suburb, plant a crop then move on somewhere else the next year.

    I believe the arid recovery centre north of Olympic Dam is partly supported by money from, ulp, uranium mining
    http://www.aridrecovery.org.au/conservation
    That makes me wonder if cash density not rewilding is the hope for the future.

    1. John yes there are hazards associated with living. I faced up to snakes here too. Luckily they were in most cases pythons, but still scary. We had them re-located by our local Parks guy. Amazingly, we had a marked increase in rodent activity. ‘Seems the snakes balanced out the rats. Who knew? We actually re-populated the snakes when we worked out what we had done, and noted the rat population decline.

      1. Where I live (SW Tas) I wonder if the snake assemblage is a sign of climate change. It used to be mainly water loving lowland copperheads but they are being replaced by arid loving tiger snakes. Much as I like cats I didn’t replace my deceased moggies now I notice an increase in bandicoot numbers. I haven’t seen a live devil for at least two years.

  3. Where I live (NSW, north of Sydney) we trapped or shot the feral cats and rabbits 25 years back and never see one these days. The foxes have also disappeared, which leads me to think that their primary foods were rabbits and cats.

    Unfortunately, though, as the trees which we encouraged grow taller, the undergrowth has been shaded out and/or eaten by our cattle. The resulting increase in Magpies, Butcher-brids, Crows, Currawongs (in season) and White-winged Chuffs, all of which meat-eaters, has been matched by a decline in small birds, the noisy little robins and thrushes and so forth that formerly dominated our gardens.

    So, a percentage of the spotted gums and ironbarks will soon be replaced by lower, denser, scrubbier plants. The cattle are now temporarily fenced off from some trial areas. I expect the trials to become permanent.

    It is all a balance between benign neglect as described in the lead article and my own puny efforts to help nature a bit.

    Nature, of course, is winning. Where I have allowed the old growth to expand, things are becoming more complex and interesting. I’ve reduced the herd by 30%. Where all this will lead in the coming decade is anybody’s guess.

    1. The aggregated ‘puny attemps’ add up. The most common birds 15 years ago at my place in wollongong were indian minors. Now I go days without seeing them. King parrots, rainbow lorikeets and rosellas of various varieties are a daily sight. Galahs and cookatoos are a mainstay. This is in suburbia, so its not really representative of *relatively* unmanaged farmland, but individual efforts add up , resluting in more native biodiversity. I hope you dont become disgruntled in your efforts; ill continue to remove the nests of indian minors and protect the nests of native finches.

  4. Good article Ben.

    Re the Code, I wouldn’t trust this government to do the right thing. Part of the reason I left the public service.

    We’ve just bought a 91 acre farm, which is basically denuded, some erosion, so we’ve got a massive challenge ahead of us to improve the habitat values, while at the same time improving productivity, on a limited budget. In our highly fertile landscape, it’s relatively easy to get regeneration underway – I’d love to get into carbon farming on part of it, but there’s way too much regulatory risk the next few years.

    There really aren’t many alternatives to running portable methanogen digesters/disasters (aka cows) on the property for the time being, so it’s slightly odd to be getting itno the greenhouse gas production industry. However, there’s not really any future where this land wouldn’t have had cows on it. And we’ll be looking at alternatives as we go.

    Anyway, next time you’re in Vic, come and visit.

    1. Based on the terms for the review, it looks pre-determined to be moving to less prescriptive, more outcome and principle focused. I think that’s a mistake along the lines of what you are inferring. I think the 2006 effort got this balance roughly right (much have been someone cluey working on it :)) and was very well laid out and clear, and nearly ten years of use is a good indication. But I would say that I suppose….

      Can’t wait to see your land. There was/remains such genuine potential in carbon farming. It was one of the best formed parts of the whole emissions trading package from what I could see. Such a great shame that we can’t get certainty and move on.

      Glad you liked the piece!

  5. Readers might note some of the anecdotal responses here and maybe some find them trivial. That’s fine, but just a few years ago, such comments were very rare. I take it as a sign of progress that people are seeing natural connectivity and writing about it.

  6. Yes, my response was trivial. Also a sign of my enjoyment of my surroundings and recognition of connectedness.

    Reading trivia sure beats reading trolls.

  7. It is claimed that SA electricity prices will ‘probably’ be less than otherwise when the wind share of electrical generation goes to 40%.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-10/renewable-energy-the-way-to-cheaper-household-bills-industry-co/5587318
    That’s up from last year’s 27% when the gas fired share was 52% according to AEMO. When car making and support services exit SA by 2017 that may create an oversupply of dispatchable generation, perhaps lowering prices. However Santos plan to export Cooper Basin gas from their Qld LNG plant next year. If the Japanese restart their nukes the LNG price may ease somewhat. The net price effect of these push pull factors (more wind, less local power demand and more expensive gas) is hard to predict.

    However one thing that can be predicted is that the present inner circle of SA movers and shakers will not be thinking about nuclear for another year or two unless the gas price is a shocker. They’ll be basking in the post-event afterglow of being the state with the most wind farms. Meanwhile last year SA produced around 5,000 tonnes I believe of U308 for foreign customers. At 5% enrichment that should be enough to run 10 GW of Gen 3 plants each year. Funny they won’t celebrate that but the champagne corks will be popping for the new wind farm with a tiny fraction of that reliable output.

  8. Big calls dept. An ‘expert’ says SA could be 100% renewable in 10 years.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-25/a-green-dream/5625530
    The catch seems to be that obstructionists must be dealt with and money is no object. I find this both vacuous and dictatorial. Remember it was just a few years ago that dry rock geothermal was going to provide 25% of Australia’s baseload power. Now in SA there are two multimillion dollar projects, Geodynamics and Petratherm. One site is complete but inoperative the other about to be abandoned. Do the 100% renewables ‘experts’ ever feel a twinge of doubt based on real world outcomes? Yet these ‘experts’ have the media in thrall.

  9. Is the reason for the media’s love affair with renewables due to their being shiny and new, whereas nuclear is passe?

    If so, the question for the nuclear power industry is how they can step away from the recurrent images of death and destruction which have their roots in experimental military reactors and the two bombs of 1945.

    Thus, an essential prerequisite for improving the image of modern and emerging nuclear ower options is cleaning up the remaining American and British reactor sites which date from the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. While these remain it will be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain the ill-defined but oh-so-important “social licence” to construct in countries such as Australia, where our only shared experience of the nuclear world is negative –
    Former testing ranges in SA and WA
    Leaking dams at Ranger Uranium
    Indigenous land rights
    Muckatty Station and failing, half-hearted efforts to build a waste storage facility
    Environmental activism with an anti-nuclear message.

    Unfortunately, Australia seems destined to be a “late mover”, An environment movement with a strongly pro-nuclear message doesn’t exist. The bulk of the Western world and much of the East will make the switch and look on in wonderment that this country has chosen not to use its great natural advantages.

    1. The Maralinga cleanup was a comedy of errors. A high amp device mounted on a sealed cabin bulldozer was supposed to vitrify dry soil from one of the ground zero sites. It apparently detonated a buried stick of dynamite and buggered the machine. See
      http://www.foe.org.au/anti-nuclear/issues/oz/britbombs/clean-up
      about half way down. Perhaps a $5 sign that says ‘don’t camp here’ would have sufficed.

      What I think is spooky about Maralinga is that a decade later Olympic Dam was found in that Woomera restricted area. That didn’t stop Naomi Oreskes writing an anti-nuclear diatribe from her time there. Equally serendipitous is that the A bomb crater on the Montebello Islands off WA is now a refuge for the endangered hawksbill turtle. Perhaps because fierce huntsmen aren’t keen to go there.

    2. The uphill battle involved in what you say is rather frustrating at times, and could be reasonably made less steep by fairer treatment by the media. Take the Ranger spill you mentioned.

      “A uranium expert at the University of Adelaide says the slurry that spilled from the tank is likely to have a low level of radioactivity.

      Professor Steven Lincoln says uranium ore is broken down when it is mixed with either sulphuric or nitric acid, as part of the uranium refining process.

      He says it is the acid, rather than the uranium, that is the concern.

      “So at this level the radioactivity is not a worry,” he said.

      “The chemicals they used are more worrisome than the radioactivity.

      “And sulphuric acid is a very strong acid, so it’s something you keep very carefully under control.””
      http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=12508

      I happen to know this expert knows his uranium and his chemistry, and has no industry conflicts of interest. But check any article on the event from back then, and his advice will be truncated, misrepresented or ignored altogether. Such as this gem.

      ” An Australian uranium expert says the acid mixed with the slurry that spilled from the tank is likely to be an even bigger concern than any radioactivity.”
      http://m.ntnews.com.au/news/northern-territory/urgent-inquiry-call-after-spill-at-ranger-uranium-mine/story-fnk0b1zt-1226778468796

      It will take herculean media savviness on the part of committed advocates to overcome the inevitable, willful misrepresentations obstructing support for Australia’s nuclear future.

  10. I propose that SA starts building a nuke before 2020 in order to preserve jobs and the skill base. That’s even if you believe retail power prices won’t be too bad about which there is mixed opinion. The current plan is to import Vic brown coal power during wind lulls via beefed up transmission. See the rationale for the enhanced Heywood connector. I suggest SA could save on both gas and coal power imports in summer and at other times send power to the eastern seabord or to the power deprived SA west coast.

    Many thousands of skilled workers in Adelaide will lose their jobs. Some say it will be the death knell for skilled manufacturing in Australia. The car industry is set to close in 2017 and it looks as though naval shipbuilding will be outsourced to other countries. Those workers have homes in Adelaide and kids going to school. There is over 200 hectares of unused land within commuting distance at the site of the former Mobil refinery at Pt Stanvac. Cool sea currents sweep past. It would be nice to have something like a pair of CANDU reactors there such as Qinshan 1&2. Start work on the heavy water separation plant which could employ workers who are not nuclear specialists. Those who say wind and solar will save the day should come up with a better plan.

  11. John I’m OK with nuclear power in Oz but I think it is unlawful atm to produce nuclear power in Australia. I read once that Lucas Heights dumps heat rather than turn it to productive gain. That means federal legislation and in that department we don’t seem very creative.

    Shipbuilding? The industry in SA seems to cop a lot of comment, mostly adverse. I don’t know the truth of it. But rather than just emasculate the company, why not invite BAE to take them over. Government does not seem particularly adverse to foreign investment. Done this way we could save jobs and skills.

    Port Stanvac? Contaminated land still awaiting treatment as far as I know. The (former?) owners have as far as I know yet to carry out their clean-up operations. If I am right the site will likely remain as it is.

    I’ll defer to others about the specifics of nuclear plants. But if it is of very low risk, produces very little waste and is even half affordable it meets some of the big things for me.

    1. I’d be more worried about NIMBYs on the Adelaide south coast than oil cleanup. They don’t seem to be complaining too much about Port S as a toxic site. Also coal plants proposed for nuclear conversion C2N will have residual tar and ash.

      I like CANDUs for several reasons. They are perceived to be safe, load follow somewhat, don’t need enriched uranium after startup while the first SMR won’t be ready until 2025. The SubCorp ASC has pressure vessel expertise whoever takes them over. While CANDUs have high capex the subs and destroyers are also expensive but may never fire a shot in anger. The likely gas replacement Vic brown coal fired electricity will be out of sight but not out of mind.

      1. Port Stanvac is not apparent as an environmental risk, but data is available. Bore logs should still exist that should illustrate the temporal change in the condition of the underlying ground. I know this because I knew the surveyor who was setting the bore hole coordinates. The ground level may appear as OK, it is the sub-ground that may be nasty.

  12. Lucas Heights was never constructed to produce thermal power. Its purposes were research and production of isotopes.

    1. I did not mean to imply that Lucas Heights (LH) was intended as a thermal site, merely to illustrate that in Australia we are not permitted to use nuclear power for productive purposes save research and medicine. That LH dumps heat rather than use it is wasteful at best.

  13. Coal to nuclear is not practical, except in a minimalist sense of the term.

    The turbines are worn out and designed to use steam at a far higher temperature and pressure than is reached in nuclear power stations. What’s the point in plonking a new reactor next to clapped out turbines?

    Maybe “brown fields” development is a better proposition – keep only the switchyard and cooling water supplies and replace everything else.

    This is a possible but improbable future for such as Liddell or Bayswater in NSW. That avoids many of the problems and costs with land, workforce, water supplies and other station plant. All unit plant would be one package, from start to finish, thus not needing lengthy design review and approval from a zillion regulators.

    The residual tar should be minimal.

    Unsold power station ash will have been stored in dams remote from the power stations, as is typical for coal-fired power stations everywhere. Some may have been used to reclaim coal mines, even further away. Neither is likely to be a significant problem.

  14. @ GM Hendo:
    Please understand that the heat which is “dumped” has not been collected in any usable form. It is also quite small. I can’t remember exactly, but if it is 40 MW, then that us equal to 290 NSW highway patrol cars at full throttle. Or a couple of hundred trucks thundering down the Hume Highway.

    It is trivial.

    As I said before, thermal power production has nothing to do with a toy research reactor.

    1. Perhaps I did not make myself clear – sorry, my bad. I was trying to illustrate what I believe to be the federal law in Australia that prevents the sensible use of nuclear energy. Lucas Heights is the only example available in Australia. I am grateful that you are able to quantify the amount of waste although the output may actually be somewhat lower – see http://australianmap.net/lucas-heights/ Whatever the quantum, all that energy is wasted needlessly.

  15. Agreed, and thanks.

    There are at least two measures for the output of any generator, whether nuclear power, coal power or research reactor.

    The 40MW figure is my recollection of the output energy of the pile.

    The end result, as measured at the conceptual turbine, is perhaps 30MW. Hypothetical energy sent out would be even less.

    I don’t really give a fig.

    The end result is that you are correct: federal law prevents consideration of nuclear power and that is a logical absurdity.
    JB

  16. Port Stanvac can’t be too toxic in light of some of the suggested uses for the site
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/the-port-stanvac-oil-refinery-is-being-demolished-but-what-does-its-future-hold/story-fndo471r-1226476793674
    Note slight elevation to ward off tsunamis. Exxon Mobil have until 2019 to clean up the site. Adelaide’s desalination plant is on one corner along with some obligatory solar panels. In a drought people may feel a nuke next door validates the high energy cost of desalination.

    It may take mass layoffs and gas price shocks for SA politicians to come up with alternatives. Federal senator Nick Xenophon seems to be way ahead of state premier Weatherill on these issues.

    1. I guess I am a cynic. Stanvac is/was an Exxon enterprise and that company has a history, the most notable I know of was in Alaska some years back.
      This link http://www.exxonmobil.com.au/Australia-English/PA/Files/about_what_AdelaideRefineryenvironment.pdf is a year old now but mentions some spills. It is after all an Exxon/Mobil document and it is pretty smooth. Notice it mentions that the investigations are limited to the property boundaries. But of course underground pollution can easily migrate off the property.

  17. Last night I attended a talk and slide show on the re-union of the Radium Hill Historical Association http://www.radiumhill.org/aboutus.htm
    The mine was near the SA-NSW border and operated as a strategic imperative in the 50s and 60s due to Britain’s need for nuclear fuel. Ore from the mine was railed to Pt Pirie for conversion to yellowcake. A tube of that material registered up to 3 uR/h on a geiger counter.

    Back in 1962 there was a proposal for a reactor to not only supply desalinated water to the mine but to power the whole of South Australia. Now it is Olympic Dam in the centre of SA that needs desalinated water. One site under consideration was Lake Alexandrina where the River Murray enters the sea. However Radium Hill mine closed shortly thereafter and it has taken half a century for the nuclear idea to get serious traction again.

  18. Another reference to the ‘valley of death’ for SA defence contracting between 2015 and 2020. http://www.themercury.com.au/news/national/shipbuilding-companies-lobby-government-for-a-fourth-air-warfare-destroyer/story-fnj3ty2c-1226735010499
    That’s also when the SA car industry will fold perhaps costing 13,000 direct and indirect jobs. That’s also when the price of gas will double or triple noting gas fired generation accounted for 52% of SA electricity in 2013.

    I also note Weatherill has a 10 point plan. Point #1 is to develop ‘energy resources’ and points #2-10 seem to be about thinking positive thoughts. My suggestion ..twin CANDUs for the vacant Pt Stanvac site hiring the skilled workers but different management.

    1. John why twin? Is that a capacity thing?
      And why both at Stanvac?
      How about one over towards Victoria so we could sell power to them – I think they will need it, given the rising tide against brown coal, the cost of new coal generators and their destructive policy on renewals.

      1. See Ben’s ZCO summary
        http://www.zerocarbonoptions.com/major-findings/
        The thing about an Adelaide area site is that workers won’t have to move or take kids out of school. Already some of my young relatives have left Adelaide. I understand twin EC6’s will need a billion dollars worth of heavy water and an extraction plant can be built first thing perhaps next to the existing desal. They can still do the 190 MW upgrade to SA-Vic transmission except the flow will be more towards Vic in lieu of brown coal.

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