The Australia Institute has, once again, taken aim at the plan prepared by the Office of Senator Sean Edwards with a 26-page “report”.

 P222 Nuclear waste impossible dream FINAL (1).

There is no coincidence in the timing, just five days before the release of preliminary findings of the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. It’s pleasing to note that The Australia Institute regards that plan as the most prominent contribution to that process. It is evidently so compelling as to have warranted the effort of this attack.

Submission coverIt is astonishing to note that their attack, funded by none other than the Conservation Council of South Australia, seeks to undermine a plan based on recycling, waste reduction, large-scale clean energy production and minimisation of mining for energy. Our extensively researched, fully referenced, peer-reviewed document offers a solution to a spent fuel problem that environmental groups continuously complain about. It offers a pathway to the elimination of coal generation. It goes to core of environmental values of reduce, reuse and recycle, and lightening our footprint on the planet. It seems the Conservation Council of South Australia would rather undergo a self-inflicted amputation of core values than take a level-headed look at an innovative proposal using nuclear technology.  

The plan has garnered praise and recognition both nationally and internationally as an innovative concept that has understood and capitalised on the complexity of the international nuclear industry: economically, technologically and politically.

The response from The Australia Institute is, by contrast, simplistic, shallow and misguided. In many respects it seeks to deliberately mislead, misrepresent and misdirect. It demonstrates a paucity of knowledge of the industry it seeks to critique. For example, I don’t understand why the lead image is a man standing on barrels of what can only be low-level radioactive waste; gloves, aprons, booties, syringes and the like. Are they proposing to chop that stuff up and incinerate it for energy or something? Surely an image of above ground stored nuclear fuel would have been more relevant? Perhaps the problem there is that it doesn’t actually look very scary.

NotRelevantvsRelevant
Not relevant…relevant

I await with interest the initial findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. In the meantime I offer these brief responses to The Australia Institute.

  1. This plan is a comprehensive starting point

As stated in our plan (pg 31), we recommend a comprehensive review of this concept with the full access and resources afforded by Government. There are indeed gaps that must be addressed; fully costed transportation based on specific local conditions is one of them. That will require further assessment with adequate resourcing. What we have demonstrated with this plan is that such consideration is absolutely worth it. It is the most comprehensive stand-alone consideration of these issues available, globally, today.

  1. Benefits of this scale do not come without uncertainty.

This plan is not easy to do and it is potentially hugely rewarding. Of course there are challenges, as we acknowledged (page vi)

Benefits of the scale outlined in this submission are not available via well-trodden paths. The business model is novel. Commercialisation is required. Partnerships are needed.

South Australians deserve the opportunity to make bold, calculated decisions based on the findings of the Royal Commission.

  1. This industry is complex and demands specialised attention. The Australia Institute lacks insight into the industry about which it speaks

In developing this plan we took the time to consult, understand and test ideas with experts and potential customers of this service. We shared the development of the plan among a suitably qualified and experienced team of researchers, authors and reviewers. The concept is robust. We look forward to the response of the Royal Commission.

The Australia Institute by contrast makes a simplistic, generalised argument throughout that can be summarised thus: “If this is possible, why won’t others do it?”.

The fact that they have only a question and not an answer demonstrates a lack of insight and understanding about this industry. Presuming, as The Australia Institute has, that this is wholly or even mostly an economic issue is misguided.

They say:

“Imagine a third country which has a comparable industrial base to Australia and some stable geology suitable for deep borehole interment. This nation sees Australia’s plan… and investigates how it can get some windfall profit for itself. It reads the Edwards plan, and realises that Australia owns none of the technology used and has no unique competitive advantage. It builds its own PRISMs, its own reprocessing facilities and its own boreholes. It offers to take waste at a mere 200 %. ”. (page 14)

We can scarcely imagine a more ill-informed, simplistic vision and scenario of how the tightly-regulated global nuclear industry operates.

Furthermore The Australia Institute previously spends five pages (8-12) expounding the apparent challenges of this proposal, concluding with this statement:

“This is part of the tremendous difficulty in developing a long-term plan for waste storage. It is one reason countries with spent nuclear fuel might be willing to pay Australia to take it in the first place”. (page 12).

This stands in opposition to the ambitions of the unnamed “third country”. It is clear The Australia Institute wants the argument in whichever direction assists in undermining the concept, whether it makes sense or not.

 

  1. The market is real. The Australian Institute lacks insight into the market

Our mid-case scenarios suggests storage of 60,000 tonnes of material. We have verified that this market exists right now and for several potential customers there is a measure of urgency in finding a solution. Accessing the market by providing the storage capability is what we do first. It will not be “at our own… great expense” as claimed (pg. 16). These are the contracted revenues that underpin the subsequent investments. This is abundantly clear from our plan.

That known market is from an existing global inventory of about 270,000 tonnes. That is increasing by about 12,000 tonnes per year; the rate of increase is accelerating as nuclear power grows. By 2040 there will be around 700,000 tons of material globally. We modelled the inventories of four nations in Asia and found around 200,000 tons of material by 2050 (Appendix 1 of the plan).

The Australia Institute suggests that we will do ourselves out of a market. They say:

“If it works, our customer base and commodity price dries up, killed by the very technologies we would have piloted at our own risk and at great expense…it only works if no one else does it. It is a Catch-22. If the plan is a technological success it will open up competition, which would make it an economic failure”

This statement if profoundly lacking in insight.

We hope other nations will subsequently come to deploy the solutions we commercialise here in South Australia to manage the remaining 640,000 tonnes of material, globally, in coming decades. This will be good for the world and great for our economy. We will be able to leverage our acquired reactor manufacturing capabilities, our acquired fuel recycling and manufacturing capabilities, and our acquired expertise in borehole technology.

  1. We will plan for our future. Only The Australia Institute foresees a situation where all money is spent and we end up broke

Our plan presents the results of a bounded, net-present value assessment which, in accordance with standard practice, is run over 30-years (in some scenarios we extended to 50 years). We recommended state-wide economic analysis (pg. 31 of the plan) to capture the full range of economic costs and benefits to the state. It should be perfectly evident that plans, policies and economies will continue to evolve and develop both through and beyond the periods considered in our plan.

The Australia Institute infers that our plan involves a) making a great deal of money b) spending it c) leaving ourselves broke with nothing for the long-term. It seems to think South Australia will behave like an ill-disciplined lottery winner. This is simplistic on the basis of both probable policy decisions and the actual nature of economic activity. It ignores the temporal nature of the flow of costs and benefits, where our plan front-loads benefits and spread costs into the future, allowing for investment in further growth and escrow-type funding for future needs. It ignores that the advent of low-cost electricity will itself spur economic growth. It ignores the directly associated industrial development that can spur export. It presumes there will be no plan for the future. This is overlay and inference from The Australia Institute.

  1. We can pursue this as an opportunity. The Australia Institute sees only a problem

     

What the plan demonstrated is that South Australia may be able to acquire an inventory of fuel material that can:

  • Be stored at low-cost
  • Progressively recycled
  • Deployed in future for the creation of zero-carbon electricity for South Australia and Australia
  • Converted into fuel for export

Essentially we will have funded the industrial foundation for low-cost, clean energy for the very long term, without even needing to mine for fuel. What we can see with confidence is that with net-present value of $18 billion-$28 billion plus the economic growth from clean, low cost reliable electricity for around 20 years, South Australia will be more than adequately capitalised to put long-term financial strategies in place.

The plan proposed a pathway for 4,000 tons of material. This is what will be managed in the economic assessment period of 30-50 years assuming no expansion of recycling. Regarding the balance of material The Australia Institute says:

“There is no long-term solution costed or even mentioned in Edward’s plan. It is never discussed again”. (pg. 5)

This is a reasonable question. We were pleased to make responses to the Royal Commission in follow-up enquiries on these matters.

Once the storage facility is established the costs of storage are so low that the impact of including these costs in a net-present value assessment would have been negligible. Even the first round of cask storage is reasonably expected to have a life-time of over a century before requiring replacement.

At end of life of the PRISM plants, further plants will be required. This is an entirely normal process of renewal in generating assets in an industrial economy. Future plants may be built on the basis of costs at the time and revenues from electricity sales. This is normal. Inclusion of these costs and revenues, so far in future, would have been subject to both considerable uncertainty and sufficient discounting as to make their inclusion in a net-present value assessment of negligible impact. All this means the final decision will need to be based on more than our net-present value assessment alone. We would expect nothing less.

  1. Citing anti-nuclear sentiment is self-serving and cynical

The Australia Institute issues this caution:

“Australia has historically had a great deal of hostility toward the nuclear industry”. (pg. 17)

This is self-serving and cynical in the extreme. Few think tanks have such an established record of bias against nuclear technology as The Australia Institute. Their own work in this case is funded by the body that has taken the most prominent role in opposing expansion in the nuclear fuel cycle in the course of the Royal Commission, the Conservation Council of South Australia. Both organisations expend time and resources fomenting and maintaining opposition to nuclear technologies, only to then leverage this opposition as an independent argument in itself. South Australians deserve so much better than this. We believe most stand ready to break this self-defeating cycle.

 

38 comments

  1. Look on the bright side, the only organization Conservation Council could hire to write another hit piece is one who has a dubious history of fudging research to fit the narrative they want.

    Maybe The Australia Institute should change their motto to “narratives that matter” rather than the current “research that matters”.

    Did anyone pick up that it seems that the author used a misquote from a newspaper article as the main source for the economic argument they constructed? I’m sure that tax concessions and free power were only suggestions as options that could be pursued.

    That looks like a strawman argument to me. Create the “narrative that matters” and go for it!

    1. I note that the “strawman” wasn’t enough for Ben to mention. Read his point 5. He doesn’t deny his plan makes these proposals, only that the State Government would actually do it. Saying that the state wouldn’t actually implement your plan isn’t much of a defense of the plan.

      Also, see the link below, regarding who might be getting “misrepresented”. It’s not good enough to put some vague caveats in the plan when you fully know the headline elements are the free electricity and tax breaks. It’s not good enough to vaguely say that more modelling is needed, when you’ve been in the press promising people the world.

      If folk in SA hadn’t heard of the plan for free electricity, I wouldn’t have written the paper. If you agree that free electricity and tax breaks wouldn’t work, then we’re on the same side, here.

      And if Ben would like to show anything he’s posted or any other attempt he’s made to refute the article below, I’d love to see it.

      http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/liberal-senator-sean-edwards-unveils-radical-plan-for-a-booming-nuclear-industry-in-south-australia/news-story/6717544ca509ceb461c13935255c8636?=

      Accessing the tens of billions of dollars in the nuclear industry to store rods would let the state get rid of $4.4 billion in taxes including payroll tax, motor vehicle taxes and the Emergency Services Levy, while generating nuclear power could supply the entire state, he says.

      This can take us from having one of the highest power costs in the world to one of the most competitive — indeed no cost apart from the poles and wires,” Senator Edwards said…

      Nuclear expert Ben Heard, director of ThinkClimate Consulting and doctoral candidate at the University of Adelaide, said everything in Senator Edward’s proposal was “entirely credible”.

      1. What happens if the journalist misread what was proposed (even a typo), or instead of taking their word read the wording in the proposal rather than relying on 2nd hand sources.

        From the report:

        “Notably, South Australia could reduce burdensome levels of taxation”

        Note the use of the word ‘could’ vs The Advertisers ‘would’.

        “The overall profitability provides scopes for other economically stimulating actions, for example removal of payroll tax”

        Note ‘provides scopes’.

        Honestly it doesn’t even look like the report was read in detail, just what was given in the documentation CCSA provided.

        How about this that was completely missed in your calculations:

        “Further investment could be funded by this project such as sustained research and development in high efficiency solar photovoltaics”

        No mention that the profits could stimulate a PV industry. But that’s not what matters is it? Rather the narrative that the CCSA wanted. Which funnily enough was just used by the Greens SA leader Mark Parnell on radio this morning.

        I’m not one to judge, I’ll let others draw the conclusions, but it is rather cosy that the head of the CCSA was Mark Parnell’s former chief of staff, and that the Australia Institute isn’t immune form this either with your bosses coming from the Greens Party federally.

        Excuse me if I am super skeptical of the work that comes form The Australia Institute.

        1. From the abstract: “This provides scope for far-reaching economic benefits, including the provision of free wholesale power to the state, the reduction or elimination of some state-based taxation…”

          It’s not enough to provide quibbles. They are not selecting random examples of what they “might” spend the money on. They’re not proposing to buy everyone a free car, or to gold-plate the streets of Adelaide. They are mentioning those options as realistic (and we both seem to agree that they are not). They know full well that the impression they leave people with is that there will be vast rewards to be had.

          The plan doesn’t “provide scope” for free electricity and lower taxes, though, does it? Both together cannot be supported. We both agree on that, don’t we?

          I have never seen a word printed to suggest that Ben or Sean Edwards have refuted the newspapers’ conclusions. Not a word. They know that is the impression they are creating. They must (see also Edwards quote at the end).

          I believe their intent is to make the unpalatable seem better by suggesting rewards which cannot actually be paid for. I am not the only one who thinks so (see Manning quote below). Even if I am wrong about their intent – obviously I can’t know exactly what their intent is – can you accept, at least, that it is reasonable that someone might come to that conclusion? That, when the plan most people might have heard of is “free electricity and lower taxes”, it is a reasonable thing to object to that specific plan?

          As Haydon Manning wrote in support of the plan:

          “In April Senator Sean Edwards briefed a cross section of people with some expertise in the issues under investigation and it was in that context that I learned of the remarkable prospect of ‘free electricity’ delivered to South Australian consumers. Crudely put, the so-called ‘hip-pocket-nerve’ moves many voters so that the unthinkable – namely nuclear power in South Australia, and possibly within a decade – is now open for debate.”

          And here’s a quote from Sean Edwards early last year:

          “The modelling I’ve seen shows a range of possibilities; including the generation of enough electricity to meet the needs of the state of South Australia and revenues sufficient to supplant the state’s $4 billion is taxes.”

          That is a direct quote from a speech made by Mr Edwards. Do you see? They absolutely are aware that the big selling point of this plan is wild promises. $4 billion in taxes would spend every dollar they made in 20 years, before you’ve built the first reactor.

  2. Thanks for the discussion piece, which will be the first of many. Emotional arguments, unsupported by evidence will be brought out and waved in public endlessly in response to what (I hope and expect) will be a dispassionate report from the Royal Commission.

    It is entirely not surprising that this is occuring. It was always so.

  3. “Australia has historically had a great deal of hostility toward the nuclear industry”

    That line was used specifically in the context of asking if Australia would be uniquely willing to use these technologies. It was not an emotive statement, but a statement of fact. In context:

    “There is also the question of popular will: perhaps Australia’s edge would be in a unique willingness to implement such a plan? However, Australia has historically had a great deal of hostility toward the nuclear industry. If Australians could be convinced to embrace PRISMs and boreholes, surely some countries with an existing nuclear industry – countries which have, therefore, shown a much greater willingness to accept it – would also be willing to implement those solutions.”

    Is that really an inappropriate argument to make? Are you seriously suggesting that Australia would be the only country willing to implement this plan (if we are)?

    The rest of your objections seem to largely be “yes we know there are holes in the plan, but we said it needed more work in the plan”.

    Moderators edit: This introduction is followed by a bunch of questions from this person, most of which features on the Facebook Page of The Australia Institute and is a re-hash of the arguments presented in the document in question in this post. I have been on this merry-go-round with this individual at this blog before and will take up where I left off: it is not actually my responsibility to coach and guide analysts from other organisations through their own questions about the global nuclear power industry. Dan Gilchrist’s arguments are now visible and on the record and I encourage all readers to review our plan, his responses and this blog and form your own conclusions.

    1. I’d also encourage folk to actually download my report and read it. It’s quite short, in (fairly) conversational English, and it avoids technical details as much as possible. It’s an easy read (I hope). Please. Do read it. Make up your own mind.

      Link is up the top of Ben’s post. I am genuinely interested in what the readers of the blog have to say about it. There is, so far as I can tell, a lack of communication between Ben and I. One of us (at least) is failing to understand the other. If anyone can translate between the two of us, I think that’d be really helpful.

      I continue to believe – and say – that Ben is genuine, and trying to do the right thing. I just thing he is really wrong about this, but is so unwilling to even consider the possibility that he might be wrong that he assumes any contradiction is mean-spirited sabotage. But I have to accept maybe I’m just completely missing the point! Obviously Ben’s objections aren’t getting through to me. Fresh eyes and typing fingers might help both of us.

      Please, readers of the blog. Please do read my report. I’d love feedback.

        1. I didn’t have formal reviewers. I got some friends to read it to make sure it was readable. There was no input about technical or other detail.

          Oh, I did chat to Dave Richardson about net present value calculations. The bulk of his response was laughter.

          …and once again, how is this relevant? Why do you keep discussing trivialities? Who cares who saw the paper? Who cares what the picture is?

          1. “I didn’t have formal reviewers”

            Then it clearly isn’t a piece of research that should be relied upon, rather it’s just an opinion piece.

            “There was no input about technical or other detail” and “The bulk of his response was laughter”

            So you had no input on any technical aspects and the economic review was laughter. Shows how seriously The Australia Institute takes their research.

            Pretty much a paid opinion piece.

            1. It’s a briefing paper. Says it right there on the first page.

              The conclusions are, I would think, pretty much self evident. All my working is there. I’m not relying on any appeal to authority. It stands or falls on its merit. Who reviewed it is irrelevant. I could have given Satan and advanced copy for comment, and it would make not the slightest difference what the report actually says.

              If, on year 10 (as the plan hopes) we prove PRISMs to be effective and cheap, and we ourselves plan to sell fuel to the new generation of PRISMs to be built around the world, on that day, why would anyone continue paying us to take spent fuel, when they ALSO can anticipate the ability to sell fuel to the new generation of PRISMs? Are we just a mile smarter than other countries?

              If spending $250,000 per tonne on dry cask storage, in the (apparent) absolute certainty that upcoming advances will make dealing with that material easy and perhaps even profitable – IF THAT IS TRUE – why would anyone pay us $1,370,000 per tonne to do that exact same job here in Australia? Why don’t they build their own dry cask storage? (With the sole exception of Taiwan).

              That doesn’t need a reviewer. It’s a simple appeal to logic. If on year ten our plan goes the way we hope, that is the year that the rest of the world starts buying PRISMs, and spent fuel clearly becomes a resource. After 10 years we will have earned around $8 billion. The first two reactors alone cost more than that. It’s a $47 billion project. How does this plan survive to year 11?

              Do you know? Does Ben? I’ve never seen an answer to this.

              1. “I could have given Satan and advanced copy for comment, and it would make not the slightest difference what the report actually says.”

                You could have given the report to a expert and qualified reviewer and it wouldn’t have changed the outcome?

                We all know it was a paid opinion piece from an organization that is totally against anything to do with uranium or nuclear related activities.

                What is the difference between yourselves and a mining company hiring another institution to write a fluff piece for the mining industry? The Australia Institute have complained about this in the past.

                It’s not an appeal to authority, it is making sure that all t’s are cross and i’s dotted. It’s to ensure you haven’t made an error. It is a basic fundamental of research and something drilled into people at University. I would never release research until I have had it assessed by experts in the relevant fields for feedback.

                Onto your other points:

                It’s not just the reactor, it requires a pyroprocessing facility which, due to international treaties, is banned for being built in countries that have tonnes of spent nuclear fuel. That is why they can’t go into the PRISM business. Which is something you’ve missed entirely. You’ve assumed that everyone can do this, but due to international obligations and geopolitics some cannot.

                For example, the US has said no and changing is a clusterf***, the Russians are in everyone’s bad books so no market for them, South Korea is banned due to 123 agreements, Japan isn’t keen on Nuclear now and reprocessing is taboo, Taiwan has China issues, China is doing their own thing, France has La Hague and invested in PUREX, Germany is a no, Finland and Sweden are burying it, then there are the rest who are not thinking about it at all. Essentially the majority of the world’s spent nuclear fuel holders won’t or can’t consider it based on politics, geopolitics and treaties.

                Something you ignored completely. Logic is only as good as the person applying it. If you miss key information the logic is pointless.

      1. I read your report in it’s entirety.

        The problem is you made assumptions as to how the plan works and ran with it. Hence my earlier “narratives that matter” quip.

        It wrongly assumed that the options of free electricity and tax breaks would all occur at the same time. Then it proceeded to use this scenario to then conclude there would be no money left at the end of the modelled period.

        Firstly this is wrong because the report clearly stated that these were options and that the electricity free modelling was just to see if it worked, and it did. However it did not conclude that this should be the ultimate proposal rather this is a viable option if to be pursued. Honestly, whoever builds and owns this plant would most likely send out electricity at a low rate as it is a byproduct of the recycling process, say $10-20/MWh.

        This did not stop there, rather yourself and whoever wrote the report (usually Rod and Richard are named on TAI reports) go on to conclude that all the money would be used and South Australia would be left with 90% of spent fuel (which is effectively inert and immobile) with it’s Johnson in its hand. I don’t know where the report said it’ll burn through all the income in the first period, maybe it was a misunderstanding of how a NPV model works?

        Then we come to the overall argument of the model of that, if we can do it why not others? This report discusses 60,000 tonnes of spent fuel in it’s mid case scenario, this is presently 25% of the worlds inventory of spent fuel and in the future 10% of inventory. There is plenty to go around.

        But wait, if we ask for $1,000,000 per tonne maybe someone else will ask for $500,000 per tonne. Maybe this is the case. But the issue is that your report failed to look at whether if these scenarios would alter the NPV calculations and confirm your assumption that it’ll fail. While the first mover can pretty much dictate that initial contracts, this will come down in time with competition. The Australia Institute has economists would would be able to run these NPV calculations.

        But because you didn’t even bother to run any variations to your assumptions shows me that your client, the Conservation Council of SA, had a very clear brief which was to attack this report. As Ben has asked, who peer reviewed your report or gave some feedback?

        Clearly The Australia Institute has a massive problem with reviewing internal reports before they are published after the subsidies fiasco (I saw Ben’s tweet). If anyone who is reading this is unclear what I am talking about follow this link: https://twitter.com/BenThinkClimate/status/697662930578313216

        Effectively the Australia Institute took a budget paper and included everything, including office upgrades in the Mining Department, as a subsidy to the industry. Inept or deceitful?

        In summary, you established a strawman (or just completely misinterpreted) and proceeded to make all sorts of assumptions to satisfy your client of a report they can use to attack a proposal given to a Royal Commission. My final question then is, how much dictation did the CCSA have on your final report?

        The Australia Institute – Narratives that Matter

        1. So why has Senator Edwards been quoted multiple times in the press discussing free electricity and reduced taxes?

          Is he misreading his own report?

          1. They are options that could be pursued. He’s presenting some options. Did you read the proposal in it’s entirety?

            It’s refreshing for someone to actually present some solutions and options for a good economic future for South Australia, because they bloody need some.

            1. So it’s ok to propose an option that spends 100% of all revenue by year 50, with nothing left when the bulk of the liabilities which come due around year 100-120?

              You can argue it’s *just* an option. But if that option is taken, there goes all the money,

              If that’s not viable, why did they mention it?

              1. Because it is an option that could be looked at. Not the use of ‘could’ and ‘option’. You’re changing the meaning of what was published to suit the narrative that the Conservation Council wanted, don’t you see that?

                The Royal Commission just released a finding that a waste storage program could generate $5 billion per year for a State Wealth Fund. I don’t think all the money is gone by an arbitrary year.

  4. I don’t disagree with the Edwards plan I think it should be saved for later. SA has to first demonstrate its chops at generating nuclear electricity then doing something with the used fuel. Why can’t other countries do their own fuel recycling? For example I see Japan is to build a MOX plant.

    Another issue is the focus on the as yet unbuilt PRISM. If the UK chooses another method for disposing of its 140 tonne plutonium stockpile that could make it less commercially viable. I think the talk was of a 15 year development time for PRISM but MSR proponents seem to think their technology will be commercialised by then.

    I suggest this sequence
    2017-2020 SA starts building a mid size load following NPP
    2020-2030 Hazelwood or Eraring begin replacement with large light water NPPs
    2025 one or two SMRs installed on the eastern seaboard
    2030 used fuel accumulates in SA, NSW and Vic
    2030 + SA starts to reprocess some fuel and bury unusable material
    if necessary implement 4th generation technology like IFR or MSR
    SA gets public support to process foreign used fuel.

  5. Ben – this is an articulate and considered response where frustration could have clearly boiled up. Love the image of ‘irrelevant v relevant’ – misleading emotional tactics are irresponsible and harmful

  6. Ben,

    I like your response, especially the comment about the amputation of core values.

    I suggest that conservation groups should learn about impartial life cycle costing and Energy Return on Investment (EROI).

    Well done and good Luck,

    1. The problem is that Robert Stone minimizes the truth; e.g. when he talks about the major nuclear waste problem of France.
      That sticky problem (‘permanent’ storage trials delivered negative results) is one of the reasons France installed a new law to reduce the share of nuclear from 75% now towards 50% in 2025.

      A speed of nuclear reduction which is almost twice that of Germany. So it’s plausible that they will have delays despite already implementing their plans to increase the share of wind + solar greatly (to replace nuclear).

      Economics play also a role as scenario studies from (semi-governmental) Ademe regarding the best electricity situation in 2050 concluded that migration towards 80% renewable is the cheapest solution. Their site shows some interesting graphics: http://mixenr.ademe.fr/en

      1. That’s an interesting “problem” you raise. Notable mostly as it isn’t relevant to what he discusses at the timestamp, which you don’t address at all.

        He does mention that of the chemically stabilised, vitrified and shielded tubes of separated solid waste stored for now at La Hague from 30 years of French majority nuclear, the entirity of Paris has produced 4. The perspective, obvious to most but not all people, is the volume and the actual short and long term negative impacts of the equivalent fossil fuel emissions. I’d call that a sticky problem.

        1. @actinideage,
          La Hague sends the nuclear waste back to the sender after taking the useful material out to produce MOX fuel.

          So while Stone’s statement is legally not a lie, he creates a wrong impression (the extremely small volume of the waste).
          It’s one of the many half truths or half lies he uses.

          1. Other commenters may note that Robert Stone was clearly referring to domestically used nuclear fuel in France. The separated final waste is sealed and stored in La Hague, as per http://www.areva.com/EN/operations-1182/waste-management-at-areva-la-hague.html

            He and Mark Lynas also make it clear they are not referring to any other nations used fuel in Pandora’s Promise – only France’s.

            And once again, Stone’s point at the above timestamp regarding rejectors antipathy to next generation, waste annihilating reactors stands unchallenged.

  7. Maybe, if you don’t want to answer my questions, you might consider just leaving them for your readers to see? I don’t understand why you’d be worried about them seeing what I’m asking.

    If you don’t want to answer, just reply and say that. Deleting my post and then actually editing it to insult and belittle me, is rude. The reply function is right there. Put your words in your own post.

    1. 4: the number of posts you have commented on at this site
      16: the number of wholly unedited comments you have posted
      6000+: The number of words you have posted making your arguments at this site.
      You have had more-than-fair treatment.

      1. Once might argue that I write a lot of words to clearly enunciate the topic. As you said on the radio, you still don’t understand my argument. I am trying to explain it. At length. But you keep worrying about pictures and reviewers. You keep ignoring the argument.

        The part you deleted above was meant to explain the issue – again. And if you ever did understand it, I have never seen you answer it. I would love to get a reference to a previous comment from you. If you want to know the questions – those were the ones you deleted.

  8. Slightly off topic I wonder if Hydro Tasmania wishes they had some SMRs. Due to dry weather Tas dams are now 18% full while damage to the underwater Basslink HVDC cable is being investigated with no quick fix in sight. The inverter-rectifier station at the northern end of the cable is next to Loy Yang brown coal fired power stations.

    To avoid power rationing there is some aggressive demand management going on but TH is also leasing some portable diesel generators up to 200 MW capacity it that’s enough. From another link I infer the cost of that electricity is $400 per Mwh. Maybe SMRs could get down to $150 according to AETA. Reduced hydro could be the new normal from now on.
    http://www.hydro.com.au/about-us/news/2016-01/diesel-generation

  9. After ruling out the NSW site for intermediate level waste it seemed likely the Qld site would be next to go. Now I see there is fervent opposition to the NT site leaving only the three sites in SA.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-13/nuclear-dump-tour-takes-activists-to-proposed-sites/7166218
    However a handful of SA opponents seem unlikely to be swayed despite local councillors being impressed on a visit to Lucas Heights.

    My view is that since Woomera is the most likely site for a geological repository (with holes already dug) and the landlord is the Defence Dept then a single ILW facility should be there as well. Perhaps tomorrow’s interim report from the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission will say something about ILW siting.

  10. “Please, readers of the blog. Please do read my report. I’d love feedback.”

    Tell you what. It’s on my list.

    But I’m in no rush, based on Irregular Commentator’s posted critiques of it, Ben’s tweeted link to SACOME’s pretty fundamental corrections to a previous effort from The Australia Institute, and Mr Gilchrist’s approach which is apparently to assume a commitment framework for what is so far no more than a basic proposal, then play “gotcha” with any and all inconsistencies he can imagine. Never mind that many of these directly result from an unfamiliarity with the technology and industry, rather than flaws in the proposal.

    Which isn’t to declare the proposal flawless – but it does represent carefully analysed possibilities which certainly should be fleshed out and tested – impartially. So far, I’m not hopeful that that’s what I’ll be reading.

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