Atomic Show #234 – Update from South Australia

Ben Heard of Think Climate Consulting and DecarboniseSA.com joined me for a discussion about the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia. In early February, the South Australian government announced the formation of a royal commission to investigate the state’s future role in the nuclear fuel cycle.

As Ben explained, royal commissions are fairly rare and only formed for the most important questions. They are held in high regard and staffed with credible, unbiased members. They often spend a year or more reviewing evidence covering all aspects of the issue or question they have been formed to review. They have the power to gather evidence and take testimony. They are generally trusted to provide a factual basis for in depth discussions.

Ben also described his efforts as a PhD candidate to build functional models that quantify the potential penetration of weather dependent power sources whose output cannot be fully controlled by human beings or automated control systems. We talked at length about his view of the potential benefits of fully developing sources like industrial wind and rooftop PV and the clear need to be more specific about what is included within the “renewable” energy brand.

We spoke about the unrealistic notion that it is possible to devise a power grid that approaches 100% renewable energy; part of his thesis work will be developing models that realistically show what the limitations really are. Neither one of us believe that the number is 50% or greater, but we are not sure how much above 20% it might be. That answer will vary with geography and local weather conditions.

We discussed the habitat and land use impacts of large scale development of power sources like hydroelectric dams, wind turbines and solar panels. We mentioned the recent paper by Barry Brook and Cory Bradshaw that investigated the effects of energy system development on ecology and biodiversity conservation.

Ben will be visiting the US soon; he is scheduled to visit New Mexico and Idaho. He is looking forward to meeting up with some of the people who often read Atomic Insights.

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What We’re Told About Climate Change Versus What We’re Told About Genetic Effects of Radiation

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has started an initiative branded as “What We Know” about climate change. The initiative is sponsored by the following individuals and organizations: Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment Lawrence H. Linden Robert Litterman The MacArthur Foundation Rockefeller Family Fund Henry M. Paulson Here is […]

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Protecting our shared environment is a conservative value and a liberal responsibility

It is past time to move towards a broader view of our shared responsibility to protect our environment, seek improved prosperity, and leave a better world than the one to which we were born. The political boundary lines that seem to have been hardened in recent years are preventing us from cooperating, even in areas […]

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Potentially huge news – Branson’s Carbon War Room merging with Lovins’s Rocky Mountain Institute

Update: (Video embed added Dec 18, 02:13 am) An organization that wants to harness the power of science, technology and free enterprise to solve climate change — which their CEO describes as “the single biggest priority for mankind” — cannot possibly remain adamantly opposed to the use of nuclear energy as a powerful tool. The […]

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Australia’s blinkered vision in China’s commitment to reduce global warming

By Robert Parker President, Australian Nuclear Association Two of the most powerful nations on earth have concluded an agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Included in that agreement is reference to nuclear power being used to limit those emissions. Yet in Australia even discussion of nuclear power is taboo. We continue to frame the control […]

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Atomic Show #228 – Energiewende status

On November 18, 2014, I participated in a round table discussion hosted by the Global American Business Institute (GABI) and the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER). The guest speaker for the round table was Georg Maue, First Secretary for Climate and Energy, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Washington, DC. The topic […]

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Atomic Show #226 – Nuclear tour de France reunion

On Wednesday, November 12, I got together with two friends. The three of us were 60% of a group of five writers and bloggers given the opportunity to visit a sampling of nuclear facilities in France owned and operated by Areva. That experience helped form a strong bond. We missed our other two companions from […]

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Paterson’s plan for CO2 emission reductions

Windmills at the windmill farm Middelgrunden

Owen Paterson, who served as the UK’s environment secretary until a cabinet realignment during the summer of 2014, is planning to begin advocating a dramatic course change for his country’s energy policy. Instead of the wind-heavy plan that was developed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) in order to attempt to implement […]

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. disavows need for individuals to change behavior

During the march held in New York City on September 21, PJTV reporter Michelle Fields spoke with Robert F. Kennedy about his plans to change his personal consumption habits. The good news is that RFK Jr. has absolved all of us of having to make any changes in our personal choices; the bad news is […]

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Atomic Show #222 – How Proposed EPA CO2 Rule Rewards States for Replacing Nuclear With Gas

On August 20, 2014, Remy DeVoe, a graduate student in nuclear engineering at the University of Tennessee, published an earthshaking piece on ANS Nuclear Cafe titled Unintended Anti-Nuclear Consequences Lurking in the EPA Clean Power Plan. Unfortunately, there has been a bit of a delayed reaction; so far, only the most carefully tuned instruments have […]

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Aspen Institute’s Panel Discussion on American Energy Leadership

The above panel discussion — moderated by Coral Davenport, who is an Energy and Environment Policy Reporter for The New York Times — features three energy and policy experts. Meghan O’Sullivan is a professor of International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School. From 2004-2007 she was the deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan. Michael […]

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More non-nuclear prescriptions from Shell

Shell, one of the world’s largest natural gas and oil companies, is spending large sums of money creating and distributing beautifully produced propaganda aimed at convincing us all that natural gas can provide increasing supplies of clean electricity, clean heat, and clean transportation fuel. While I have nothing against natural gas as a fuel source […]

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