The case for nuclear

Geoff Russell writes: Re. “Nuclear: the power source for innumerates and socialists” (December 1). Bernard Keane should know better than to compare kilowatts of nuclear with kilowatts of solar. A kilowatt of nuclear typically delivers five times more electricity than a kilowatt of solar and delivers it on demand. Is there any industry on the planet that runs solely on a narcoleptic workforce who not only nod off from time to time but come and go as they please? No. But that’s the wind+solar renewable energy model.

Employing many times more staff may well work on paper with all kinds of dodgy assumptions, but why bother? It’s simply stupid.  So it’s no wonder that AEMO’s 2013 report postulated a biofuel baseload subsystem, and it’s no wonder that Germany is burning half of its forestry output for electricity. Renewables  failed during the oil crisis and are still failing. Germany’s decarbonisation rate has slowed to a trickle since it passed the Renewable Energy Act in 2000 and started retiring nuclear.

It doesn’t matter how cheap or cuddly an energy system is if it doesn’t deliver rapid deep decarbonisation. Betting the planet on failed technologies isn’t an option.

Another explanation for MH370

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Malaysian conspiracy to cover up the truth of MH370” (yesterday). Ben Sandilands’ article about the missing Malaysian airline MH370 ignores a credible possibility: that the mystery is a case of insurance fraud.

Word of the Year?

James Burke writes: Re. “Politics on hold while Sydney siege continues” (yesterday). I’d like to propose a late entry for Word of the Year: “in-shahada” (n): (1) the intellectual incapacity of any Australian journalist to understand that an ordinary religious text may be distorted by fundamentalists; (2) any term or concept for which the only referent is a Wikipedia page.

Peter Fray

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