I knew Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes during his activist days in Sydney -- he knew nothing about uranium mining or nuclear power then, and it seems nothing has changed. His speech to the Sydney Institute last night comprised a string of howlers and detracts from informed debate.

Howes falsely claimed that nuclear power is undergoing a "renaissance". In fact, nuclear power has been stagnant for the past 15 years. It accounted for 16% of global electricity generation in 2005, 15% in 2006 and 14% in 2007. The global fleet of reactors is middle-aged and the industry will be kept busy just maintaining current output over the coming 20-30 years let alone expanding output.