Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Dr Ziggy Switkowski's report on nuclear power is taking criticism from educated guessers:
The taskforce concluded that 25 nuclear reactors could produce a third of Australia's electricity by 2050. Dr Switkowski even suggested the first plant could be up and running in 10 years.

The review panel, however, thinks that's not realistic.

[Dr]JIM PEACOCK: We calculated that, and did it as carefully as we were able to, I mean it's all educated guesswork, if you like, we felt that the 10 years was probably an underestimate, and we felt 15 years was more likely to be the case, even if, you know, we started on some of the things that needed to be done in the near future.
ABC interviewer Sabra Lane was determined to get something more damning than that out of Peacock:
SABRA LANE: Your review panel also found that the taskforce underestimated the challenges confronting Australia, should it choose to expand the industry. What has it underestimated?

JIM PEACOCK: Well, I think we were, we probably used that wordage, if that's what we did, in relation to those various issues I just mentioned. But in particular, we were mindful of the lack of trained people in Australia at the moment and the numbers needed for people to run, to develop, build and run such power stations.

And we really don't have the right sort of training courses in our universities or other institutions now, and even if we choose the option, which we probably should, while we're developing such courses, of sending people away to other places in the world where that training could be taken right away, we still think it's quite a challenge and it will involve much larger numbers than was mentioned in the draft report.

SABRA LANE: Is the task, is the report misleading?

JIM PEACOCK: No, I don't think it's misleading. I mean, it … what … the timing and the number of trained people, they're very important points, and they're things that both the taskforce and ourselves, I guess, would indicate Australia needs to address and begin to act on right away.

Now, it's still educated guesswork as to exactly how long the various phases would take.
Peacock tried hard to come across as neutral but did eventually let loose a Freudian slip:
If we are to introduce nuclear power into the portfolio of power generation options that we will have in future Australia, there's the possible legacy of any accidents that might occur. But we indicated that that has to be considered very carefully and as far as possible non-emotionally, and those two punitive or potential legacies weighed up one against the other.
Introduce nuclear power and wait for the punishment that's sure to come.


Anonymous James Aach said...

If you'd like an insider's look at how a nuclear plant in the U.S. operates day to day, see RadDecision.blogspot.com . Just what are the 600+ people at a typical plant doing?

3:23 AM  

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