Is It Time for Nuclear Power?

When someone says ‘nuclear power’, the first thing that may come to mind is Homer Simpson, or the Chernobyl disaster…or maybe even the latest nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan. Well at least that’s what came to my mind. But with rising energy prices rapidly becoming a key threat to the Aussie industrial sector — and household finances — this oft-ignored energy source could be set to become a major part of Australia’s energy mix.

Nuclear power has been hotly debated for many years for its efficiency, cost and safety record. There’s a bit of a hang-up in regards to the energy source, due to the momentous impact it can have on human bodies and the environment if an accident occurs. If we look at some of the horrible disasters from the past, such as Chernobyl — the most well-known (and worst) nuclear power catastrophe in history — it’s not hard to see why.

The ongoing devastating effects of Chernobyl on Ukraine’s people and environment cannot be forgotten. As well as the deaths of 30 people in the short-term, it forced the evacuation and relocation of hundreds of thousands of people, and forever infected the land with dangerous levels of radiation.

But that doesn’t mean that it will happen again in every place that nuclear power is introduced.

You must remember this is the worst accident in the history of nuclear power, and it happened in 1986, under a corrupt regime which likely cut or ignored safety standards. Improved safety standards and technological advancements in the industry have made accidents like Chernobyl more and more unlikely.

The countless benefits of nuclear power are often overlooked due to a very small number of, albeit tragic, accidents.

To be clear, there’s been just seven accidents, in the entire history of nuclear power, which have caused immediate fatalities. And most of them are only two or three people. Now, while any death caused by an avoidable accident is a tragedy, it’s actually impressive how few mishaps have occurred, compared to other energy sources. And especially given the mass-fear nuclear power plants induce.

If we take away what happened in Japan in 2011 — given that it was caused by a massive natural disaster — that’s six fatal accidents in the history of nuclear power. For an energy source which has been in constant use globally since the first commercial plant was opened in 1954, you’d argue that so few accidents over that amount of time is actually miraculous.

Why nuclear power could be the way to go for Australia

Now, if we push aside the unlikely fear that we will have a Chernobyl-scale disaster on home soil, there are many reasons why nuclear power is a superior power source.

Some of the benefits that the Renewable Resources Coalition points to are:

  • Lower greenhouse gas emissions
  • Higher power output
  • Inexpensive electricity (a big one for Australia as we tackle record-high electricity bills)
  • Doesn’t rely on fossil fuels
  • Economic impact

Now to the most important point: Australia is home to 33% of the world’s uranium deposits, the active ingredient used to create nuclear energy.

Nuclear power is created when uranium atoms are split using a method called fission. This is where the atom’s nucleus is split, releasing very large amounts of energy.

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With such an abundance of the key resource in producing nuclear power, it seems silly that we haven’t jumped on board this clean energy source. Especially after years of debating the sustainability of coal-powered energy, and of course discovering the harmful environmental impacts it has. It seems we’re behind the rest of the developed world when it comes to nuclear power. As reported by Nine News:

Australia is the only G20 nation in the world where it’s illegal to build nuclear power stations.’

But things may be set to change.

On Sunday, 60 Minutes televised a special on nuclear power called ‘Going Nuclear: Part one’.

On Monday, Nine News released three different articles, all imploring readers and our nation’s leaders to consider nuclear power as an alternative energy source.

Is it time for a nuclear power station in Australia?

Is nuclear power the only answer to lowering electricity prices?

Is nuclear power the solution to our energy crisis?

And on Tuesday this article came from The Australian:

It is madness to deny the benefits of nuclear power

As you can probably tell from the headlines above, the possibility of nuclear power being used in Australia is rapidly gathering momentum in the mainstream media. Does this mean we’re finally ready to tackle our fears and accept that it could be beneficial to our economic and environmental future?

After all, we have a very large, and largely unoccupied desert area in the middle of our country. Somewhere you can rest assured that no tsunamis will be causing accidents or spreading harmful toxic waste to communities.

If we’re ready to take the leap of faith, it could mean interesting things for the companies Greg Canavan looks at in his investment advisory service, Crisis & Opportunity. Greg has been highlighting the benefits of nuclear power for quite some time in Crisis & Opportunity. He cites the benefits listed above, and the fact that we are the third largest natural provider of uranium, possessing 33% of world’s total amount. He recommends several ASX-listed uranium stocks, including one Aussie exporter.

This could be the key ingredient in creating a sustainable and affordable energy future. It seems like madness that we’re letting the fear of a very unlikely accident trump all of the other benefits it could provide for our economy and environment.

This week in Markets & Money

It all started during a US senate hearing, when American economist, Nouriel Roubini, referred to cryptocurrencies as ‘the mother of all scams’. His comments obviously caused quite a stir in the crypto community, yet money keeps flowing into the space. In Monday’s Markets & Money, Selva alerts readers that crypto infrastructure is still en route in a variety of industries and companies. To find out which ones, click here.

Property prices and clearance rates are plummeting in Sydney and Melbourne. Accessing finance is becoming harder while many buyers may be waiting for prices to fall even more, contributing to the market’s downtrend. In Tuesday’s Markets & Money, Selva discusses the effects of the falling property market following a long boom. To learn more about how she thinks this could affect your financial future, click here.

Houses in Sydney and Melbourne could be grossly overvalued. In Wednesday’s Markets & Money, Selva discusses the ongoing property price decline in Australia and how Spain’s end of financial year (EOFY) sale could include the home you’ve been looking for…for a bargain price. To get more of Selva’s insight on the topic, click here.

A year ago, cryptocurrencies were in a frenzy. This year, people have lost interest. In Thursday’s Markets & Money, Selva looks at the issues cryptos face, which may be preventing them from going mainstream. While some countries are banning cryptos, others are welcoming them. To find out more, click here.

We haven’t truly recovered from the 2008 GFC…and we have accumulated a lot more debt. In Friday’s Markets & Money, Selva reminds readers that she and other analysts have been warning for a while now that we could be heading for a major crash, one that could be much worse than what we saw in 2008. Now these warnings are not coming from the fringes anymore, but from world economists and global organisations too. To learn more about what Selva has to say, click here.

Best wishes,

Julija Zivanovic,
Editor, Markets & Money

Markets & Money is unlike any other finance newsletter. Our mission is to look at the world of investments and finance in a sceptical and contrarian way. Our editorial team looks beyond the headlines and obvious explanations to bring you what we think is really moving the market. More importantly, we’re trying to show you where the next big opportunities and where the big risks are that you might not be aware of. In Markets & Money you’ll read about the state of the Australian housing market, the future of the commodity boom, China’s rise to an economic superpower, the fate of the US dollar, and of course a whole lot more.

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