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Nuclear Power – Part of the Mix

image credit: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/benefits-of-nuclear-power-are-becoming-obvious/news-story/7788bc5015903205770b3c78cdf3c550
Paul Raftery's picture
Executive Director Projects RH

Paul worked for Shell Group in Australia (Assistant Treasurer) and with Shell Coal and Power International (Group Treasurer). He was the team member on the financing of Callide C (840 MW) an...

  • Member since 2021
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  • Mar 15, 2021
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Thank Paul for the Post!
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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 15, 2021

The key with nuclear power is that it has a high capital cost and a low operating cost. In determining where to locate nuclear power stations there are important issues of geology.

So with these lessons in mind, what does the ideal nuclear site look like? Away from the coast, away from fault lines, what else? 

Laura Scheele's picture
Laura Scheele on Mar 15, 2021

Hello Paul Raftery, thank you for the interesting post! 

Hi Matt, I'm not the original poster, but I wanted to mention that there are extensive criteria for siting nuclear power plants.

The issue at Fukushima is that the tsunami following the earthquake flooded out the generators that were to supply power following the loss of off-site power. The problem was not that the Fukushima power plant was on the coast -- several nuclear facilities around the world are on the coast -- but that the plant was at an elevation that flooded during extreme events like the earthquake/tsunami. A 2012 report by the American Nuclear Society observed:

Hazards from Extreme Natural Phenomena The tsunami design bases for the Fukushima NPPs were inadequate. A risk-informed regulatory approach would have identified the existing design bases as deficient. Although addressing low-probability events is very difficult, a risk-informed treatment for natural-phenomenon hazards is necessary.

Here is a link to International Atomic Energy Agency siting resources. To repeat your question -- "what does the ideal nuclear site look like?" -- that depends on what your nuclear facility looks like and applying a risk-informed design basis and siting analysis based on those characteristics. 

 

 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 15, 2021

Thanks for those resources, Laura-- very helpful!

Paul Raftery's picture
Paul Raftery on Mar 22, 2021

I come from Australia which has incredible stable geology and is a major exporter of uranium. The idea of replacing our aging fleet of coal fired power generators which are to be found along the east cost where 90% of the population live is consider locally to be a poor environmental choice. No reason is offered and the example of Canada is ignored. I am not particularly pro-nuclear but we need to have an informed debate. Australia does have two small nuclear plants but they are for medical and research purposes. Ironically they are located very close to Sydney. I am an advocate of informed debate and deeply concerned that Australia is becoming over committed to solar and wind power. Australia's geology means there are relatively few opportunities for hydro. We do have the potential of a huge green hydrogen industry but this will not solve the critical East Coast issues as the best potential for solar / green hydrogen is in North Western Australia - over 7,000 km by sea from the population centres of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

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