Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Your View: Nuclear not the answer

RE: Power problems solved (YPCT 11-4-17), Kym Bray has made a few incorrect assumptions about power generation.

Kym’s idea of converting current power stations (Northern power station, Pelican Point and Torrens Island) to nuclear is just not possible. Nuclear power stations have to meet the International Atomic Energy Agency standards of safety, which 30 and 40-year-old assets would not meet.

Torrens Island is adjacent to Port Adelaide and not away from human habitation.

Battery storage for renewable power storage can be recyclable; in fact, saltwater flow batteries would need maintenance about every 10 years and not replacement.

Similarly, zinc-bromide flow batteries are totally recyclable.

Both these batteries are non-combustible; the only danger could come from hydrogen produced when passing electricity through water if they are in a confined environment, about the same as a car battery.

Wind and photovoltaic power generated are passed through controllers so the statement of not being regulated is totally inaccurate.

According to Synapse Energy Economics Inc (USA), nuclear power plant construction costs in 2008 were about US$3100 per kilowatt and US$4500 per kW to build but with finance costs that becomes US$5500 per kW and US$8000 per kW. Florida Power and Light announced two nuclear power stations to produce 1100MW each at a cost of between US$12.1billion and US$17.8b.

South Australia’s highest electrical power use summer 2016 reached 2895MW (Australian Energy Market Operator).

On that basis, SA would need to spend between AU$21.71b and AU$31.9b.

At the end of a nuclear power station’s life the decommissioning cost needs to be considered.

Apart from the economics, one should not forget there have been some large-scale incidents such as Windscale, UK; Three Mile Island, USA; Chernobyl, Ukraine; and Fukushima, Japan.

Our own experience in solar power is limited to being entirely off the power grid for the past 10 years. The batteries are still going well.

As far as a change of government, just remember it was a state Liberal government which started this whole fiasco by selling our power management to a USA company.

John Powell, Moonta Mines

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