Home' InDaily : October 16th 2009 Contents October 16 - 22, 2009
About 60 countries are preparing
for the Copenhagen climate
conference in December
equipped with a unique measure of
economic assurance and environ-
These are the developed and
developing nations that have
nuclear power as a significant part
of their present and future energy
policies. By so doing, they will have
ensured low-cost and reliable energy
security for their industries and
As well, they will be operating
cost-effective emissions trading
schemes and laughing all the way
to a potential international "carbon
bank". The world is bemused that
Australia is not in this group.
More than 50 years ago, Australia
was set to become the first nation
south of the equator to build and
operate a nuclear power plant to
Sadly, this project and many other
planned ventures connected with
the technology and commercialisa-
tion of the global nuclear industry
have not gone ahead. This incredible
neglect has been largely due to
poor education, the pressures of
Australia s hydrocarbon lobby, the
pseudo-science of the "renewables"
special interest groups and the
politics of fear and risk beloved by
Australia s "radical greens".
On April 18, 1958, prime
minister Robert Menzies opened
the Australian Atomic Energy
Commission s (AAEC) Research
Laboratories at Lucas Heights
near Sydney. He challenged the
nation to "enter the nuclear age".
His vision was shared by Sir Philip
Baxter, the first vice-chancellor of
the University of NSW and the first
chairman of the AAEC. In 1964,
Australia s first and only school of
nuclear engineering was established
at the University of NSW.
For three decades the staff of
the school at Kensington and the
nuclear engineering division of the
AAEC at Lucas Heights were in the
forefront of global nuclear research.
The university group taught
hundreds of Australian and
overseas students and published
peer-reviewed and internationally
acclaimed technical papers, books
and theses. In 1982 these included
the role of nuclear power in averting
global warming and its great
importance to Australia to produce
electrical energy, potable water and
In 1988, the mandate for civilian
nuclear power development was
withdrawn from the AAEC and the
school of nuclear engineering was
closed. This happened even though
its staff had played a key role in
developing Australia s superb
uranium mining industry from the
Ranger Uranium Inquiry (1976,)
through to development of Olympic
Dam and the Northern Territory
and Queensland uranium resources.
A secure, clean and cheap energy
future for Australia in which
nuclear power plays a pivotal
role is a categorical imperative.
Uranium should be recognised in
the Rudd Government s carbon
pollution reduction scheme bill as
the most valuable and cost-effective
form of "carbon offset". And a
national energy policy embracing
the nuclear fuel cycle deserves
However, locking into a national
emissions trading scheme before the
international cap-and-trade insights
that might be gained at Copenhagen
is foolish. It could become a non-
productive exercise irrespective of
the econometric models used.
Professor Ross Garnaut s
final report -- released last year --
concedes that nuclear power could
supply more than one-quarter of
Australia s electricity needs by
2020 if a proposed policy based on
"clean coal" and "renewables" fails.
But he questions the technology on
economic grounds and restates his
earlier convictions that Australia is
"not the logical first home of a new
nuclear capacity". This is one of
the many areas in which he and the
Rudd Government are at odds with
expert world opinion.
Recent data from the US
Department of Energy underlines
the huge advantages of uranium.
The carbon production from coal-
fired plants in the US was cited as
0.86 tonnes for one megawatt-hour
of electricity production.
The figure for gas-fired plants was
0.36 tonnes while that for nuclear
plants was 0.005 tonnes. And the
outstanding performance of the 104
nuclear power stations in the US
during 2008 included a 98 per cent
capacity factor and an unmatchable
generating cost of 1.68 cents per
kilowatt hour. No wonder regula-
tory processes are well in place for
another 25 nuclear plants.
In April, Sydney hosted the World
Nuclear Fuel Cycle Conference. The
Chinese delegation was led by the
president of China Nuclear Energy
Industry, Dr Chen Xinyang.
China has an amazing energy
and carbon reduction policy based
largely on nuclear power, and plans
to have possibly 100 plants by 2030.
China is developing an energy
policy based on gradual replace-
ment of its immensely polluting
coal-fired plants with nuclear. At the
same time it is ensuring its energy
security with Australian uranium.
The Australian Government
should heed the advice given at
the December, 2007, Bali climate
conference. Yvo de Boer, executive
secretary of the UN framework
convention on climate change,
said: I have never seen a credible
scenario for reducing emissions that
did not include nuclear energy."
Australia s 15 uranium trading
partners -- including the world s
"greatest polluters" China and the
US -- have already embraced nuclear
energy and should be an example to
follow for all Copenhagen delegates.
Prof Kemeny is Australian founda-
tion member of the International
Nuclear Energy Academy.
is key to future Iluka project
Iluka Resources Ltd has announced
first production of heavy concentrate
from a project in Victoria while at the
same time grappling with a significant
revenue drop and reduced demand for
The Murray Basin Stage 2 project at
Kulwin, in Victoria s northwest, will
open up the entire Iluka Murray Basin
resource, the company told the stock
exchange this week.
The Murray Basin operations are
expected to contribute about 185,000
tonnes of rutile and about 120,000
tonnes of zircon each year during the
period from 2011 to 2013.
The project is estimated to have
reserves to last 15 years.
Iluka managing director David Robb
said: "With the commissioning of the
Jacinth-Ambrosia project in South
Australia expected to commence in
November, Iluka will have delivered
two globally significant mineral sands
He said the projects will comprise the
majority of the Iluka s rutile and zircon
production base into the future.
Meanwhile, Iluka has blamed the
global financial crisis for a fall in its
production in the September quarter.
Iluka s total mineral sands produc-
tion in the three months to September 30
fell 40.4 per cent to 331,900 tonnes, from
557,300 tonnes during the corresponding
period a year earlier.
Post-hedging revenue fell 32.1 per cent
in the quarter, to $151.1 million, down
from $222.5 million a year earlier, the
company revealed in its latest produc-
Revenue for the year to date was lower
than for the prior corresponding period
because the global economic crisis
had significantly reduced demand for
mineral sands, the company said.
"Based on Iluka s supply response to
GEC (global economic crisis) condi-
tions, as announced in April of this
year, physical production levels across
all products have reduced to better
match lower short term demand," Iluka
Comment Leslie Kemeny
A magazine dedicated
to information about
SA's defence sector
Simply fill in your details below and post/fax it back to
Solstice Media Ltd
Reply Paid 114
ADELAIDE SA 5001
Telephone 08 82241600 Facsimile 08 82241650
Subscription fee includes online edition, if email address is provided.
editions* for $50.00 OR 12 editions* for $100.00
Please find enclosed cheque/Money Order OR charge my Visa Mastercard
Please send me a receipt
Add to my existing newsagent account
Expiry date /
Links Archive October 15th 2009 October 19th 2009 Navigation Previous Page Next Page