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Energy Options in a Carbon Constrained World.


Energy Options in a Carbon Constrained World. Martin Sevior, School of Physics, University of Melbourne Energy underpins our Civilization Energy use without ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Energy Options in a Carbon Constrained World.

Energy Options in a Carbon Constrained World.
Martin Sevior, School of Physics, University of
Energy underpins our Civilization
Imagine one week without Electricity
Imagine one week without Motorized transportation
We rely heavily on Fossil Fuels to provide the
energy our civilization needs.
However our finite Earth constrains our future
use of these.
Energy use without constraints
Non-OECD Countries are growing very quickly and
are consuming an ever-increasing amount of energy.
How long can we keep using Oil?
  • The rate of Oil usage is substantially greater
    than the rate of new Oil discoveries
  • Developing Nations have become competitors for Oil

Simple extrapolation shows Oil exhausted by 2036
Is Oil coming up against a wall?
  • Australias Oil production peaked in 2000
  • Will/When will World Oil production peak?

Energy Data from 2005
Burning Fossil Fuels produces CO2
CO2 increase in the Atmosphere
Total World CO2 emissions
  • Total world demand for energy is expected to at
    least double by 2050
  • Much is this growth is in the third world which
    needs energy to escape poverty

If we have to free our people from drudgery and
ill-health, we need to address the issue of
access to energy, particularly the need for rural
Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India on plans
to expand electricity generation capacity from
110 GW to 980 GW by 2030. (Australia has 40 GW of
electricity generation.)
Greenhouse Emission targets
  • Kyoto protocol
  • Reduce Greenhouse emissions by 5.2 from 1990
    levels by 2008-2012
  • This is extremely hard. eg Canada has increased
    its emissions by 20 since 1990
  • Future
  • Reduce greenhouse emissions by 60 from 1990
    levels by 2050 to stabilize temperature rise to 2

Scale of the challenge
What is wanted
Conventional Oil and Natural Gas cannot keep pace
with demand nor should they.
Default for Electricity is Coal
Additional CO2 emissions due to new Coal Fired
Power Stations to 2020
Australias Challenges
Conventional Oil production is declining, we rely
on imports
Our CO2 emissions are the largest per Capita in
the OECD
Australian CO2 emissions
Around 50 of Australias CO2 emissions are from
electricity production.
Options for Transport
Convert Coal to Oil (Monash Energy Project, being
Convert Gas to Oil (under active Consideration)
Use LPG (well underway) or Natural Gas (not
Rework our Cities, Public transport improvements
BioFuels Ethanol, BioDiesel (May meet 10 of
current demand)
More Efficient Vehicles
Transport can be far more efficient
Gasoline Engines are on-average 10 efficient
Modern Diesel Engines are 20 efficient
Fuel cells vehicles can reach 50 efficiencies
Batteries/Electric engines are 80 efficient
The electric route means same transport with
1/8th the energy.
Next generation batteries
0 100 km/hr in 4 seconds, 400 km range,
available 2007
Cost US 100K
For the rest of us, Plugin Hybrids, (60 km range
on electric) are likely to enable us to continue
to use personal transportation post 2010
If sourced from electricity with low carbon
emission technologies can substantially reduce
world CO2 emissions
Electricity Generation
Our current coal-fired power stations provides us
with cheap and reliable electricity.
Electricity costs vary depending on the coal
quality and distance from mines. Queensland Black
Coal generates electricity at less than 3 cents
per KW-Hr. Victoria generates electricity at 4
cents KW-Hr
But if were to meet our target of 60 CO2
emissions, we must close many of them or at least
not use them as much.
What can we do for Electricity?
Energy Efficiency
Over the past 5 years, Australias electricity
consumption has grown by 3.7 per year.
To some extent this reflects our very cheap
This are a variety of energy efficiency gains
available throughout the economy. All require
investment of time and money.
Achieving additional efficiency gains in addition
to those made via natural processes, almost
certainly requires higher prices.
Natural Gas
Natural Gas produces half the CO2 for the same
amount of electricity.
Output can be altered quickly so it can be
usefully paired with renewable energy sources
such as wind and solar.
However, Natural Gas is also a finite resource
and its world-wide production rate is likely to
peak within the the next 20 years.
Gas produced electricity, at current
international prices of 6 per GigaJoule, costs
around 7 cents/KW-Hr
Wind Power
Wind is the leading renewable energy source.
Cost is 7 9 cents/KW-Hr but is unlikely to
Intermittency and variability of output mean
diminishing returns after 10 20 of total
The problem with variability
In order to make a difference in CO2 outputs, you
have to actually turn off (or down) coal-fired
Victorias goal of 10 Renewable by 2015 if met
by wind requires about 2 GW of peak output
Output from wind can vary by 90 over 1 hour
Baseload generators require 6 hours to ramp
through 80 of their output.
At higher percentages the problem gets worse, 30
wind in Victoria requires 6 GW of peak output.
Solar Energy
Fundamentally factor of 20 higher flux than wind.
Commercial PV systems currently provide
electricity at 25-50 cents per KiloWatt-Hour
Solar works at small scale, so can compete at the
retail level of 10 14 cents/KW-Hr
Huge potential for improvements (factor 4 10
decrease in price).
eg Sliver Cells (developed at ANU), Nanosolar
(California) rolls of thin film CIGS (400 MW
factory), SolarSystems (Vic.) concentrators
The Nanosolar factory is costed at 100 million
and expects to produce product worth 2 billion /
Variability and intermittency issues remain after
costs are reduced needs storage.
Carbon Capture and Storage
Coal is gasified into CO and H2 streams.
If combusted in pure O2, a pure CO2 stream
This can be reinjected into underground
reservoirs. Intensely challenging cubic
kilometers of CO2 per year!
The coal gasification process depends on the
properties of the coal (moisture content, sulphur
and other impurities).
The CO2 storage procedure depends on the
properties of the local site. All need detailed
Appears feasible in Victorias Latrobe Valley but
more study is needed. Late 2010s 2020.
Electricity cost is expected to increase by 1 4
Nuclear Power
A drop in replacement for coal-fired base-load
When used at world-best practice, emits about 1
of the greenhouse gases of fossil-fuel plants.
Fuel is abundant and will last for centuries.
New plants expected to produce electricity in the
range 4-7 cents KW-Hr
Need considerable operating and regulatory
expertise which does not yet exist in Australia
Needs additional infrastructure for Waste Disposal
Fierce Opposition from some in the community.
Hydro almost fully exploited already in
GeoThermal Immature and of limited availability
BioMass Useful for small scale local
developments to utilize waste. (eg Saw Dust and
Bagasse) Large scale usage faces significant
environmental challenges and transport issues.
Leading technologies
Technology Cost Potential
Carbon Capture and storage Unproven technology 6-10 cents/KW-Hr Substantial scientific questions for each site.
Natural Gas. Good for Peaking demand. Still emits large amounts of CO2 5-7 cents/KW-Hr Likely to increase in Price.
Nuclear Power Drop in replacement for Coal 4-7 cents /KW-Hr Large potential for improvements
Wind Power Currently best renewable option 7 9 cents/Kw-Hr Limited future potential
Solar Power Can compete at retail level. (10 14 cents/KW-Hr) 25 50 cents/KW-Hr Huge potential. Works well at small scale and retail.
Concluding remarks
Without storage, intermittency and variability of
wind and solar likely to limit penetration to
30. Solar energy is worth direct Government
Achieving 60 reduction in CO2 emissions while
growing electricity consumption requires
replacing our existing Coal fired power stations
with Nuclear or Carbon Capture.
Nuclear Power has proven track record of
delivering large amounts of reliable electricity.
All options are more expensive than current coal.
Backup Slides
Myths about Nuclear Power
1. Well soon run out of Uranium
Weve mined less than one ten millionth of the
Uranium in the Earths crust.
If we need to use lower grade ores there is
hundreds to thousands of times more we can
2. It takes seven years to recover the energy
consumed constructing the plant.
Nuclear Power plants use approximately one
quarter the concrete and steel of a an equivalent
amount of wind turbines.
Modern studies show Nuclear Power repays its
energy cost in a few months
3. Mining Uranium uses a huge amount of energy
and produces larges amounts of Greenhouse gases
The lowest grade large mine currently operating,
Rossing in Namibia, requires just 1 PJ of energy
to produce Uranium that generates over 400 PJ of
4. Nuclear Power Plants are dangerous and will
blow up like Chernobyl
The Western Nuclear Power Industry has an
extremely good safety record an order of
magnitude better than the Fossil Fuel industry
Chernobyl had a number of obvious design flaws
and was operated in a environment of no safety
5. Terrorists will blow up Nuclear Power Plants
The concrete and steel containment shell that
surrounds a nuclear power plants is extremely
Simulations predict a it will survive the impact
of a fully laden passenger jet.
Spent fuel assemblies can be stored underground
Nuclear Power is a Hard target.
6. Takes too long
In the time it takes Victoria to build up to 10
renewable energy, twice the amount of Nuclear
Power could be built for the same capital cost.
Unlike Wind or Solar, Nuclear could scale to
replace all our coal plants.
(No Transcript)
  • Alaster Meehan
  • Gareth Jones
  • Damien George
  • Adrian Flitney
  • Greg Filewood
  • Technical Support
  • Ivona Okuniewicz
  • Lyle Winton
  • Reviewed by
  • Dr. Andrew Martin
  • Web Design
  • University of Melbourne Writing Center

Energy and Entropy
  • 2nd Law of Thermodynamics
  • Entropy tends to increase
  • Sharing of energy amongst all possible states
  • Life is in a very low state of entropy
  • To exist it must create large amounts of entropy
    elsewhere. (S Q/T)
  • Life requires large amounts of Energy.

Life and energy
  • Life takes energy from the sun

Life represents a 0.02 decrease in entropy
from the sun heating earth
Energy and civilization
  • Our Civilization is based on cheap energy and
  • Previous civilizations utilized humans and
    animals. (Still the case for large parts of the
  • Given sufficient quantities of energy our
    civilization can generate all the products it
    needs. (Food, Health, Metals, Plastics, Water)

Energy in Australia
  • Australias Electricity needs are currently
    supplied by 40 GigaWatts of power stations.
  • Our electricity demand is forecast to grow by
    over 2 per year to 2020
  • On average 1.0 GigaWatts increase each year
  • Equivalent to Loy-Yang B Power Station

Energy in the World
  • China (pop 1.4 Billion) growing at 10 per year.
  • India (pop 1 Billion) growing at 6 per year.
  • Both aspire to Western standards of living
  • China likely to achieve current Australian
    standard in 2040s
  • Effect will be to triple world energy
  • Only a large scale trade embargo will prevent
    them from effectively competing with the west.

World Energy Growth.
  • Energy Growth by source

Energy Growth by region
Projections are business as usual
Source U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Growth in a finite system
Q P/T P Amount Produced T Total available
Growth in a finite system
C(t) T Q P(t) TdQ\dt
Global Climate Change
  • The Earths atmosphere acts as a Greenhouse.
    Traps heat that would otherwise be radiated to
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is the 2nd largest
    contributor (and biggest driver)
  • Carbon Dioxide is also the fundamental byproduct
    of Fossil Fuel consumption
  • Large scale use of Fossil Fuels has substantially
    increased CO2 concentration

Global Climate Change
Predicted world temperature changes
Past world temperature changes
The different curves are different predictions
based on different physical assumptions and
future CO2 emissions
The current CO2 concentration is unprecedented
over half a million years
Global Temperature Measurements
Myths about Climate Change
  • Myth- Water vapour is the main source of
    Greenhouse heating so CO2 makes no difference.
  • Residency time of water is 10 days, CO2 is 100
    years. CO2 is the driver, water vapour provides
  • Myth - CO2 absorption lines are saturated.
  • Only true at ground level. The upper atmosphere
    is sensitive to CO2 concentration
  • Net effect of doubling CO2 is an additional 4
    watts/m2 extra heat.
  • No climate model shows a decrease in temperature
    with an increase in CO2

Predictions for CO2 outputs
The developing world will likely produce more CO2
emissions than the West before 2020
Only a large scale trade embargo on China and
India and the rest of the developing world will
prevent competition and growth
The transition.
  • Having access to large amounts of cheap energy is
    vital for our civilization.
  • Over the next human generation we will need to
    manage a transition from our Fossil-Fuel based
    energy sources
  • The combination of resource depletion and Climate
    Change mitigation forces this.
  • Getting this right is vital for the world we
    leave our children.
  • I believe that this is one of the great issues
    facing this generation.

Nuclear Energy
  • About 6 Billion years ago a supernova exploded in
    this region of space.
  • About 1 solar mass of hydrogen was converted to
    Helium in about 1 second
  • All the elements heavier than Lithium were
    created making life possible in the solar system
  • A tiny fraction of the energy was used to create
    heavy elements like Uranium and Thorium.

Nuclear Energy
  • Chemical reactions release a few electron-volts
    of energy per reaction.

Nuclear Fission releases 200 Million electron
volts per reaction
A neutron is captured by 233U,235U or 239Pu. The
nucleus breaks apart and releases 2-3 more
neutrons. These in turn can induce further
Nuclear energy
  • The energy release from a single fission reaction
    is about one-tenth that of an anti-matter
  • There is as much energy in one gram of Uranium as
    3 tonnes of coal.
  • The reaction produces no CO2
  • So how much Uranium is present on Earth?

Uranium Abundance.
  • The Earths crust is estimated to contain 40
    trillion tonnes of Uranium and 3 times as much
  • We have mined less than a ten millionth of this.
  • (We have extracted about half of all conventional
  • If burnt in a 4th Generation reactor provides 6
    Billion years of energy.
  • If burned in a current reactor enough for 24
    Million years.
  • But most is inaccessible. How much is really
  • Look at Energy cost of mining compared to energy
    Generated in Reactors

Uranium Abundance
Proven reserves as of June 2006 amount to 4.7
Million tonnes, sufficient for 85 years at
present consumption rates
Rossing mine in Namibia has a Uranium abundance
of 350 ppm and provides an energy gain of 500
Extrapolating to 10 ppm provides an energy gain
of 14
4th Generation reactor (50 times more efficient
Uranium usage) provides an energy gain of 100 at
2 ppm
At least 8,000 times more Uranium can be usefully
mined using current reactors. 32,000 times more
with 4th Generation. (96 million years worth.)
Uranium in Sea Water
  • Very low concentration 3 mg/m3, but a huge
    resource 4.5x109 tonnes
  • Japanese experiment recovered gt 1 Kg in 240 day

Nuclear Power
  • Nuclear Power has been demonstrated to work at
    large scale.
  • France (80 Nuke, 20 Hydro) and Sweden (50
    Nuke, 50 Hydro) have the lowest per capita
    greenhouse emissions of large countries in the
  • Australia, with its reliance on Coal-powered
    electricity, has the highest

Nuclear Greenhouse Gas emissions
  • The Nuclear Fuel cycle is complex. How much
    Greenhouse Gases are produced?

  • The Swedish Energy utility operates Nuclear,
    Hydro, Wind, BioMass, Solar and Fossil Fuel
  • Vattenfall have performed LifeCycle Analyses for
  • These are described in Environment Product
    Descriptions EPD.
  • Useful Worlds Best Practice reference

CO2 emissions from Nuclear
  • Vattenfall EPD calculations, Gas 400 gm/kw-hr,
    Coal 700 1000 gm/kw-hr

Vattenfall CO2 emissions from other sources
CO2 Emissions from Wind Power
  • Need 6,000 2 MW Wind Turbines to match 1 Nuclear
    Plant (60 year lifetime)
  • Requires 8-14 times as much steel and concrete

Storm and Smith Theory
  • They conclude that Uranium cannot be mined at Ore
    concentrations below 0.01 U by mass
  • This implies energy cost at 0.01 of mining
    energy gain of reactor
  • Rossing Mine in Nambia. Ore 0.035. 3000 tonnes
    mined per year. Enough for 15 GW-Years.
  • Storm and Smith predict energy cost 60 PJ
  • Measured energy cost of Rossing 1 PJ
  • Namibia uses 55 PJ per year (2003)
  • Cost of 60 PJ 1.7 Billion (diesel)
  • Value of Uranium at 100/kg 300 Million
  • Similar for Olympic Dam, Ranger and all operating
    low Grade mines
  • Storm and Smith are WRONG.

Nuclear Reactors
  • Nuclear reactors work by purposely allowing a
    controlled chain reaction.
  • This is controlled by adjusting the neutron
    multiplication factor.
  • Current nuclear technology mostly employs Light
    Water Reactors which burn Uranium enriched in
    235U from its natural 0.7 to around 3
  • The reactor is shutdown and fuel is changed after
    the 235U abundance has fallen to around 1.2
  • This typically occurs every 2 years.
  • So every 2 years 60 tonnes of fuel is replaced
  • Compare to Coal fired plants which burn 3000
    tonnes of fuel every day.

Science of Nuclear Power
  • Cross sections for fission

Thermal Nuclear Reactors
  • Neutron cycle in 235U and 238U mixture

Self-sustaining chain reaction.
Requires neutron multiplication factor k 1.00000
Control of Thermal Reactors
  • Controlled via absorption in 238U

At least 20 times more 238U than 235U
  • At higher temps
  • Doppler broaden
  • Harder spectrum
  • Increases 238U absorption

Control of light water reactors
  • Delayed neutron emission
  • 0.7 neutrons emitted after beta decay (8
  • Negative temperature coefficient
  • (k reduces with T)
  • Negative void coefficient.
  • Loss of coolant through bubble formation or other
    means, means no further moderation and a decrease
    in reactivity.
  • Massive loss of coolant
  • Decay heat problem
  • Second generation reactors have multiple active
    backup and containment.

  • Nuclear Energy produces vast amounts of
    radioactivity which is extremely dangerous.
  • Effects of Radiation
  • Cell Death or Apoptosis
  • Cancer Induction (0.06/Sv)
  • Genetic Damage to Future Generations (0.02/Sv)
  • However we are all exposed to radiation every day
    of lives. It cannot be avoided.

Radiation Exposure
Typical background exposure is 3000
micro-seiverts per year
Nuclear Safety
  • Typical large Nuclear Power Plant contains 10
    billion Giga-Becquerel's of activity.
  • 1 Giga-Becquerel typically leads to an unwanted
  • Nuclear Power Plants contain vast amounts of
    dangerous material.
  • Safely handling this is a significant challenge.

Safety Reactivity Control
  • Nuclear reactors work by keeping the neutron
    multiplication factor to be 1
  • Multiplication factor is adjusted by changing the
    configuration of neutron absorbers.
  • This possible because 0.6 of neutron emission is
    delayed by a few seconds
  • Light water reactors naturally slow down when the
    temperature increases negative temperature
  • Light water reactors naturally slow down if there
    is a loss of coolant negative void coefficient

Safety Reactivity Control
  • Accidents
  • Numerous things can (and do) go wrong during
  • These are normally handled through routine
    adjustments of the reactor parameters
  • Worst case is massive loss of primary coolant.
  • Current reactor handle this with multiple
    redundant systems to pump water through the core.
    Active Safety systems
  • Next generation reactors employ Passive features
    which rely on Laws of Physics to ensure safe

  • The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
    requires reactors to be design so that Core
    damage accidents occur less than 1 in 10,000
    years of reactor operation.
  • In this case the radiation is contained within a
    safety shell. (50 cm reinforced steel surrounded
    by 1.3 meters of concrete.)
  • Current Reactors are estimated to have core
    failure rates of 1 in 100,000 years of operation.
  • New reactors under investigation for deployment
    are estimated to have failure rates of 1 in 2
    million years of operation.

  • The western nuclear power industry has the best
    safety record of any large scale industrial
  • Within the US, communities living close Nuclear
    Power plants are overwhelmingly in favour of
    continued operation.
  • There is strong competition between communities
    to be the location of New Reactors.
  • As of February 2006, the NRC had received
    expressions of interest for 17 new Nuclear
    Power Plants in the USA. All have local support.
  • Now up to 27 expressions of interest.

Safety - Chernobyl
  • The Chernobyl reactor had a number terrible
    deficiencies compared to Western reactors.
  • No containment structure
  • Positive void coefficient at low power.
  • Control rods were graphite tipped!
  • As part of an experiment, operators switched off
    the safety interlocks
  • Reduced the Power of reactor to low level.
  • Strenuously tried to increase the power in an
    unconventional operating environment.
  • Fundamental Failure of Safety Culture.

Nuclear Power Costs
  • Total cost Cost of Capital Operating Costs
  • Operating costs of current plants are the lowest
    of all forms except Hydro (typically 1.5
  • New Nuclear plants are projected to cost less
    than 1.5 US Billion dollars and operate for 60
  • BUT best new plants have First of their Kind
  • Projected Electricity costs are 2.2-3.8 US
    cents/KW-Hr (but up to 6 US cents/KW-Hr)
  • Current Australian Eastern Australian coal
    electricity costs around 2.2 - 4 US cents/KW-Hr
  • Clean Coal expected to add 2 cents/Kw-Hr

Previous generation Nuclear Power
  • In the USA Nuclear Power plants turned out to be
    FAR more expensive.
  • Plant cost was 3 5 Billion for 1 GW
  • Operational availability was around 60
  • Design deficiencies NRC mandated changes
  • Two stage licensing
  • Fragmented industry for construction
  • Fragmented industry during operation

Current US experience
  • Availability has increased to more than 90
  • Specialist companies now operate the US fleet.
  • Costs average 1.6 cents/KW-Hr
  • Nuclear Industry expects new plants cost 1.0
    2.0 Billion per GW
  • 2.3- 5 US cents/KW -Hr

Nuclear Waste
  • Nuclear Power plants produce 30 tonnes of high
    level waste/year.
  • 95 of the energy in the fuel remains
  • Waste consists of short-lived light fission
    products and long-lived trans-Uranics.
  • Current waste handling procedure is to leave
    spent fuel in cooling ponds for 20 years.
    Followed by either dry storage, reprocessing or
    long term geologic disposal

Geologic Disposal
  • 3 mature proposals, Sweden, Finland and USA.
  • Unprocessed waste requires isolation for 100,000
  • The Nordic proposal consists of a multiple
    barrier burial deep in wet Granite Rocks
  • The US proposal consists of dry burial
    underground with easy retrieval.

Finish proposal
Spent Fuel is placed in Cast Iron Insert. Then in
copper canister Canister is embedded in Bentonite
clay Then buried in Granite rock 500 meters
Multiple Barriers
  • The fuel itself retains the fission products.
  • Cast iron insert
  • Studied of Copper in anaerobic environment show
    stability over 100,000 years
  • Bentonite Clays swell on wetting removing oxygen.
    Also retain fission products.
  • Granite and infill isolate waste from the
    environment. Granites show affinity for
  • Oklo natural reactor show fission products have
    not moved over 1.8 Billion years.
  • Strong scientific case that nuclear can be

Nuclear Waste
  • There is a strong Scientific case that Nuclear
    waste can be safely sequestered.
  • However it is expensive and takes a long time to
  • The USAs Yucca mountain repository is
    insufficient for even the current generation.
  • Factor of 5 10 expansion of the nuclear
    industry would be helped with an improved waste
    management system.
  • UREX reprocessing and fast-neutron Burner
    Reactors 2006 GNEP initiative

Nuclear Proliferation
  • A single large Nuclear Power plant produces large
    amounts of 239Pu. More than enough for 100s of
    nuclear weapons.
  • However over time they also produce a significant
    amount of 240Pu.
  • Too much 240Pu makes it very difficult to
    construct a Nuclear Weapon.
  • Weapons Grade Plutonium is defined to have less
    than 7 240Pu.

Nuclear Proliferation
After 4 months operation in a Light Water reactor
the 240Pu concentration exceeds 7
Operating a Commercial Light water reactor under
the IAEA Additional Protocol is a low
proliferation risk activity
East Australian Electricity demand
Alternatives - Renewables
  • The Earth receives vast amounts of solar energy.
    In principle more than enough for an advanced
    civilizations energy requirements.
  • Energy from the sun can be harnessed through
  • Hydro-Electricity
  • Biomass (Burning organic products.)
  • Wind
  • Solar Thermal including passive heating
  • Solar PhotoVoltaics
  • All these can and are making a significant
    contribution to our energy needs
  • Plus GeoThermal (uses Earths Radioactive

  • However its not clear that these can meet all
    our energy needs.
  • Hydro is basically exhausted in Australia and
    faces environmental concern elsewhere
  • Biomass cannot supply both food and fuel in many
    parts of the world. (Current energy use is 10 of
    total global photosynthesis)
  • Wind is not suitable for large scale base-load
    generation. (Plus is more expensive.)
  • Solar-electric is also not suitable for Base-Load
    generation. (Plus is also more expensive.)
  • Limited availability for GeoThermal

Wind Variability
CSIRO study assuming 3 GW of generating capacity
spread over SA, Vic and NSW.
Best sites give 30 utilization
Wind energy density
  • Average output is at best 1.3 MW/ km2

No trees allowed over a wind farm
Extra costs involved in handling varying supply
Clean Coal
  • Idea is to capture CO2 emissions and store them
    deep underground.
  • World capacity is sufficient for 80 years of
    current CO2 production.
  • Challenge Each year a 1 GW Coal plant produces
    around 6 million tonnes of CO2 gas.
  • The Bass Straight structures have the potential
    for 2 6 Billion tonnes of CO2 storage.
  • Sufficient for 55 150 years output at current
  • Incremental cost increase expected 2- 4

New nuclear technology
  • Variety of new reactor designs that are at least
    50 times more efficient and can destroy the
    Trans-Uranic waste. (4th Generation)
  • Waste is reduced to 1 tonne per year. Isolation
    time of 500 years.
  • Hydrogen gas can be cheaply generated via
    thermo-chemical reactions using the High
    Temperature reactors.
  • This can be used in place of Petroleum for many
    transport needs.
  • Projected cost equivalent to 40 cents/litre

Advanced (Fast) Reactors
  • Use unmoderated (or lightly) neutrons.
  • Avoids neutron losses plus can directly fission
    238U and other even actinides

Can burn long lived radioactive waste
Fourth Generation reactors
  • The Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (GFR)
  • Very-High-Temperature Reactor (VHTR)
  • Supercritical-Water-Cooled Reactor (SCWR)
  • Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor (SFR)
  • Lead-Cooled Fast Reactor (LFR)
  • Molten Salt Reactor (MSR)

Goals of the 4th Generation
  • They efficiently utilize Uranium
  • Destroy a large fraction of nuclear waste from
    current reactors via transmutation.
  • Generate Hydrogen for transportation and other
    non-electric energy needs.
  • Be inherently safe and easy to operate.
  • Provide inherent resistance to Nuclear Weapons
  • Provide a clear cost advantage over other forms
    of energy generation.
  • Carry a financial risk no greater than other
    forms of energy generation.
  • Not before 2020 at the earliest

If successful will provide energy indefinitely
Accelerator Driven Systems
  • Use a very high powered accelerator to provide
    neutrons to a subcritical assembly
  • No possibility of a melt-down.
  • Provides an energy gain and
  • Destroys long lived isotopes through
  • Requires around 50 MW of proton beam (current
    best around 2 MW)

Australian Context
  • Australia has the largest CO2 emissions per
    capita in the OECD (27 tonnes Per Person)
  • Finland has CO2 output of 8.6 tonnes/person
  • Australian Per Capita energy consumption is
    approximately the same. Electricity consumption
    in Finland is 60 more.
  • Finland (and Sweden and France) is where
    Australia should be by 2050.
  • Finland continues to invest in Nuclear Power

Planning Issues
  • Australia is a democratic and open society with
    many opportunities for citizens to influence
    local developments.
  • Top down and imposed decisions can face fierce
    opposition (cf some Wind Power.)
  • Any development of large scale facilities must
    provide net benefits to locals
  • Time scales of the order of many years are

Regulatory Issues for nuclear
  • Overseas (particularly US) experience shows the
    importance of correct regulatory framework.
  • Australia does not have this.
  • Need to achieve economies of scale for light
    water reactors
  • Operating a reactor requires significant
    expertise. Need to establish and monitor World
    Best Practice

My opinion.
  • Credible case for Nuclear Power
  • Nuclear Power can displace the huge Fossil Fuel
    base-load electricity requirements.
  • But Nuclear Industry needs to demonstrate
    Advanced Passive reactors work and are the prices
  • Carbon Dioxide sequestration also has potential
    but is less mature
  • For Australia, going the Nuclear route would
    require a significant consensus that this is the
    best way forward on the part of Society.

  • We should take advantage of economies of scale
    and deploy a significant number of reactors (more
    than say, six 1 GW reactors) so that the costs of
    waste disposal and fuel enrichment can be shared.
  • Local communities should be encouraged to bid for
    nuclear investment. Decisions should not be
  • An Australian Nuclear Industry must be pro-active
    in engaging with the World Community and employ
    World Best Practice levels of Safety and
  • We would need an independent and pro-active
    regulatory framework to oversee the operations of
    a Nuclear Industry.
  • The activities of the Regulators and the Industry
    must be open to the public and all decisions
    should be fully transparent.
  • We must invest in research to find and build a
    suitable site for geologic disposal of waste.
  • We must decide on appropriate means of
    transporting the waste to the site.
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