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Nuclear energy – no way

This report was posted on Facebook today, being an article about Nationals Senator Sam McMahon and her disdain for renewable energy. It included the following:

“I call upon my colleagues in this government to join me in examining a variety of means of collection of massive quantities of water delivered by our monsoonal rains across the north,” she [McMahon] said.

The post suggested that we should email or otherwise communicate with the Senator to disabuse her of her convictions.

I have thus emailed the following:

‘Dear Senator

I believe that whoever wrote the speech you delivered in the Senate was only seeing a small part of the picture.

All fossil fuels are contributing to the cumulative emissions of ‘greenhouse gases’ which, in turn, are exacerbating global warming.

This is established scientific fact. This is – as admitted by the Minister for Energy – man-made climate warming!

The cost of energy has more to do with the capitalist aim of businesses making profits than to the superiority of fossil fuels when compared to renewable energy.

Once upon a time delivery of services such as power, water and sewerage were seen as just that – services – to be provided to the community, subsidised by tax contributions.

Wind power can be delivered 24 hours a day. Solar is clearly restricted to daytime, and both require either the wind to blow or the sun to shine and both are open to having surplus power stored in batteries, able to deliver power in downtime periods.

There are other options – like solar thermal which can provide continuous power supply.

The real issue is not keeping energy prices down.

It is keeping world temperatures down, to a sufficient extent that our grandchildren and their descendants will have a viable existence.

I installed solar panels on my roof (I have a 2-bedroom unit in a retirement village) in January 2016. I am in credit with my power supplier and am in sight of recouping the initial cost.

More importantly. I have saved nearly 7 tonnes of carbon emissions – equivalent to planting 23 trees – and have fed a significant amount of power into the grid.

The profit motive is clearly the driving force behind most businesses, but it is an immediate need – which completely ignores the future.

Nuclear power is in fact very expensive, given the lengthy time-frame for construction and the expensive precautions required to avoid radioactive material leaking – while still ignoring the long term problem of safe storage for used rods etc.

The ocean off Fukushima is still contaminated – following the earthquake which damaged the reactor – and that contamination has spread widely and affected marine life – sources of food for the human population!

Having lived in the Northern Territory for nearly 49 years, I am aware that our groundwater levels are low. Last Wet was a poor one and the forecasters are predicting a late start to our next Wet.

Current BoM records show “For the year to date, rainfall across the Northern Territory is 44% below the long-term average; the lowest since 1970 and the sixth-lowest on record.”

We would need a really super wet season just to bring up water levels – and they are at further risk because fracking in the Beetaloo Basin has just been approved.

We need a government which cares about the lives of the population, rather than supporting major corporations to increase profits for shareholders at the expense of the quality of life for the less-wealthy members of the community.’

Fukushima disaster zone (image from / photos: KYODO/REUTERS)

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  1. Keitha Granville

    It beggars belief that ANYONE would think nuclear is a good idea, after Chernobyl, 2 Mile Island, Fukushima. How much more of the planet to we need to contaminate before we work out what the problem is with this.

    How about we make a real effort to focus on the energy that doesn’t pollute or destroy our planet, provided free by the planet. Solar, wind, wave, thermal. How hard is it ?

  2. David Bruce

    Repression of Physicists in the 21st Century

    The electronic preprint archive (, founded in 1991 at Los Alamos National Laboratories and funded by the National Science Foundation, was formed as a way for scientists to rapidly disseminate new discoveries and theoretical developments to the worldwide scientific community. Its original intent was to be an open forum for papers authored by credentialed physicists, i.e., those who consistently had papers approved for publication in peer refereed journals. Over time the criteria for approval of submitted papers to the archive became more complicated and restrictive.
    Presently hosted at Cornell University under the direction of physicist Paul Ginsparg, it blocks certain physicists from posting their papers to this archive. The arXiv administrators maintain a list of physicists whom they have blacklisted or ostracized so that any paper those individuals attempt to submit is systematically rejected regardless of its scientific content. Usually these blocked papers have already been accepted for publication in reputable peer refereed science journals or in other cases are undergoing review for journal publication which indicates that these papers are serious and well thought out. The list of suppressed scientists even includes Nobel Laureates! One characteristic that these ostracized physicists share in common is that they have written or published papers in the past which propose new ideas that challenge traditional physics dogma. In other cases their published works just happen to run counter to the particular theory preferences of the small political clique administering the archive.
    Our world is experiencing serious problems such as exponential population growth, environmental pollution, impending energy shortages, nuclear proliferation, and climatic change. We cannot afford to suppress the works of those seminal minds whose new ideas could revolutionize the way we interact with the world. What if a paper described the discovery of a new source of energy that could help to alleviate the coming energy crisis? Or, what if a paper brought to light a serious environmental hazard which, if unheeded, would result in a substantial loss of life. And, what if moderators censored one such important paper because of a possible personal dislike of its author or because it conflicted with a theory they personally favored? Society cannot afford this kind of behavior.
    In today’s fast changing world it is not enough just to publish one’s ideas in scientific journals, a process that can drag on from months to years until approved for publication. Rapid communication of all plausible new ideas to the academic community through an easily accessible internet archive is essential to the progress of science.

    The purpose of this site is to alert the public about the blocking activities being conducted by the Cornell sponsored administrators and to relate the case histories of those scientists who have been censored and/or blacklisted. Archive Freedom advocates that this practice be immediately stopped and that all scientists be given open uncensored access to this archive to post their technical papers. We respectfully urge the administrators at Cornell University, as guardian of the world’s knowledge of physics, to honor the contributions of all serious scientists.

    Some food for thought for the climate warriors? Sub-quantum kinetics anyone? Data going back 67,000 years!

  3. totaram

    David Bruce: If that site is blocking publication, why can’t this site publish those papers? Simple solution instead of setting up an objection site? Please tell me.
    It seems like the purpose of this site is only to discredit the other site. Fun and games but not very helpful to science.
    Climate warriors! Oh, dear! Are we into that? Sub-quantum kinetics – is that anything like subspace radiation and time anomalies? 67000 years? Who was keeping this data? Area 51?

  4. Miriam English

    Nuclear power can’t be suggested seriously by anybody who is concerned about profit. It is, by far, the most expensive form of power. Any politician who pushes for nuclear is either being paid to shill for the nuclear industry or is dangerously stupid.

    Nowhere around the world is private money paying for nuclear power; it is only ever paid for by government money. No company will risk their money on nuclear. And where private money is involved, it is only when government pays for insurance and decommissioning — in other words, after government shoulders the risks and costs and lets the company skim off the cream. However the market has changed so much in recent years that even that isn’t attractive. Renewable energy is now so cheap that nuclear power can’t compete even with that awfully unfair advantage. Nuclear is dead… unless you want to use it sneakily for weapons material.

    David Bruce, was created in reaction to science being hidden behind expensive subscriptions. I’m sure they do block some papers being published, though I expect they would be papers with no scientific merit. I haven’t checked out the site you mentioned complaining of, but I expect there is no genuine science being blocked. Incidentally, just because someone is a Nobel Prize winner doesn’t mean they can speak sensibly on topics outside their field of expertise. For example, Kary Mullis received the Nobel Prize for the brilliant invention of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) which revolutionised genetics, however he is also a complete loon — he believes in UFO abductions and doesn’t believe AIDS is a real disease.

    Be careful of wanting to believe in way-out conspiracy theories. There are enough genuine, but boring conspiracies to worry about (such as the way a few crooked corporations were holding science back by charging so much for journals that even the wealthiest universities could barely afford them — which what prompted

  5. Miriam English

    Huh… just been reading a bit about Kary Mullis. Apparently he died last month (pneumonia). He was also a climate change denier and didn’t believe in the ozone hole, and thought he’d learned more from taking hallucinogens than his university courses. Total loon.

  6. Miriam English

    Just a little more regarding censorship at I am a member of an astrophysics forum. I don’t post, other than the rare brief comment, as I’m acutely aware of my ignorance, I like to read the articles. But there are people who make pests of themselves, insisting that they have found ways to travel faster than light, or produce anti-gravity, or any of a number of things. Some of them even I, in my ignorance, can see are nonsense. Other people with more understanding of maths are able to dismiss. The authors of these haywire pieces generally exhibit the kind of certainty, and inability to understand their errors, or explain their ideas, that accompanies delusion. This, no doubt, is what the administrators of have to contend with. Might some brilliant, but unconventional papers be rejected? Yes, they might. But if anyone can come up with a better system I’m sure they would be delighted to implement it.

    We live in an amazing age. Anybody can publish anything effectively for free on the web. (I’ve published 6 novels, 30 short stories, several plays, a bunch of articles, and some of my artwork on my website. It doesn’t matter how crap my ideas are — I’m not censored.) I was marvelling the other day just how far we have come in the very short time since religion lost its grip upon us. Science may not be perfect, but it has the best known system of checks and balances for finding truth. The proof of that is all around us.

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