More on Nuclear

John Quiggin has a piece in the Fin Review today about the nuclear inquiry, which you can read for free on his blog. It makes very similar points to those I made in a piece I wrote a while ago.

In short they are:

  • Nuclear isn’t cost competitive with coal or gas
  • If CO2 is recognised as a problem then we should deal with it by a tax, or cap and trade scheme
  • If CO2 is taxed the market will sort out the most efficient way of minimizing it, either by reductions and efficiency or new technology (including alternatives and nuclear).
  • I’m glad John is making these points in the papers because I think there has been too much focus on the government finding a solution when they should be just addressing the cost of the polution and letting the market sort it, especially given that’s what the government professes to believe in.


    17 Responses to More on Nuclear

    1. Sacha says:

      I’m not automatically in favour or, or opposed to, nuclear (uranium fission) power – but it should be properly considered with all available information.

    2. Sacha says:

      What happens if you factor in all the costs (including externalities) of the various sources of energy?

    3. Steve says:

      Sacha, factoring carbon cost, and giving your best estimate of lifecycle nuclear costs, I think nuclear comes out cheaper. There is significant uncertaintly in both those estimates however.

    4. Sacha says:

      No, I don’t just mean the costs of generating power, but the costs associated with the effects of carbon emissions. ie, what are the effects of different ways of generating power on the Eath system?

    5. Sacha says:

      That is the question to ask!

    6. james says:

      Sacha – I agree. C02 emission is not the only cost assoicated with power generation that is not captured by the existing market mechanism.

    7. JC says:

      MIT’s tech mag has a piece talking about the advances being made with solar and the fact that there is a visible horizen where solar is cheap enough to enter the american grid without subsidized financial help. All through nanao tech

      This is great stuff and it’s what a lot of us on the libertarian right have been saying for a while. If we give oursleves a chance and don’t panic tech will see us through this.

      here’s the link.

      As an aside there is also a report that disalination through a nanotech process has been found to work and is cheaper to process salt water by up to 80%. This is a WOW piece, i think.

      Meanwhile some of these dumber than shit state labor governments are pushing the windmills ‘solution”.

    8. Sacha says:

      JC: I’d like the libertarian right to end up being correct – but it’s a hope more than anything else! The problem is that advances in technology/knowledge aren’t predictable or guaranteed.

    9. Sacha says:

      I’d love fusion reactors to start contributing to national grids in the next 10 years…

    10. JC says:

      Nuke will never be allowed to work. After the greens tie it up with red tape regulations by scaring the shit out of the Austalian public it will electricity will end up costing us 3 times over the current vig.

      I think it’s a lost cause. Nominally nuke could actually be cheaper if it didn’t have to go with the red/green tape. I think we kill it before it even gets off the ground. The cynic in me says that whatever Quiggin supports I ought to oppose because somewhere down that tunnel we’ll see the real reason he supports an issue. In other words there’s always a hitch.

    11. JC says:


      Read the piece then get on our knees and thank whoever there are people with IQ’s so high. This solar story iof true, and I think it would have some validity if it is carried in MIT tech is potentiallya home run.

      The other thing is that we really haven’t factored in all the potential advances in nanotech over the next 10-20 years. The potenbtial there is not just huge, it bigger than huge.

    12. Sacha says:

      I hope you’re right JC!

      I’d love to work in “knowing how the Earth works” or “contributing to something to people live on Earth” eg efficient solar cells like in the link. Pure math is interesting, but real-world stuff is so much more interesting and compelling. I’ve got to work out how I do it, though.

    13. Sacha says:

      bigger than huge = googly

    14. Sacha says:

      People are scared of uranium fission – unfortunately, I think that environmental groups and some political parties will play on this fear instead of looking at all the costs and benefits of each energy source.

    15. graemebird says:

      If you look at Quiggins bullshit story the outcome of it is that we don’t get to produce and consume mountains more energy every year.

      That is the PURPOSE of this leftist bullshit and has got nothing to do with the facts of the matter. The alleged facts here are simply chosen tendentiously in such a way as we don’t get more and more cheaper energy expanding all the time…. until we become the greatest producers/consumers of energy per-capita in-the-world. With the greatest and most up-to-date capital equipment.

      Contrast Quiggins bullshit approach to the real story that you’ll get from me:

    16. Steve says:

      Bird what is the point of being the highest consumers of energy? Sure it correlates to having good stuff, but its hardly the goal.

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