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The New Nuclear

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Nuclear energy is a contentious issue.

By Ian Lowe

Will new technology make nuclear energy viable?

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Nuclear energy is a contentious issue. In fact, there is probably no technical issue on which the community is as sharply divided. I know that a majority of Fellows of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering think that Australia should develop nuclear power stations, but the question is certainly not a clear-cut one. So I was startled to hear a reputable business figure say recently that he thinks opposition to the idea is “purely ideological”.

Sydney publisher Pantera Press recently invited me to contribute to a small book, Why vs Why: Nuclear Power. Prof Barry Brook of Adelaide University wrote the case for an Australian nuclear industry and I wrote the case against.

Comparing the two arguments, it is clear that our values influence how we perceive a complex question. We both started from an acceptance of the science showing that climate change is an urgent problem, and agreed that it demands a comprehensive revision of our energy supply system by replacing coal-fired electricity with cleaner alternatives and improving the efficiency of electrical power. From that common starting point, our paths diverged radically.

Brook accepts many of the criticisms of the nuclear power industry as it presently stands, but believes that a new generation of nuclear reactors offers the prospect of better operating performance, waste that...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.