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Sustainable Opportunities And Challenges

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Question:

Discuss about the Sustainable Opportunities and Challenges.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction:

As the demand of energy in the modern world rises with the growing population of the world, it is essential to use the alternative source of energy. The use of the alternative energy also helps to avoid the adverse effects that are associated with the use of the conventional form of energy. The use of nuclear energy is one of the best and sustainable form of energy sources, that used by most of the developed nations of the world.

Australia is only nation of the international G-20 forum, which do not make use of the nuclear source of energy. The government of the country only depends on the coal for the formation of energy. This essay reflects on the importance of the use of nuclear energy in order to meet the growing demand of energy is Australia and also the adverse effects associated with it. The public opinion about the use of nuclear energy is also mentioned.

In today's world, the use of nuclear power for the production of electricity is considered to be one of the most environments friendly form of producing energy as the production of green house gas is much lower compared to that of thermal source of energy. The lower cost of nuclear energy is another major advantage as the production of electricity is much lesser amount of Uranium compared to that of amount of coal needed for the production of electricity. The nuclear power plants also do not have the risk to face crisis due to shortage of supply of raw materials. Nevertheless, the hazardous nature of Uranium requires special care and attention as it is one of the most unstable elements in nature. Moreover, there is a risk of water pollution due to the flow of radiation from the nuclear power plant. In spite of the fact that there are several safety measures taken to avoid the accidents that can occur from the nuclear reactor, there is the risk of leakage (Hunt 2012).               

According to Chu and Majumdar (2012), the high per capita consumption of energy of the people of Australia is depended on the coal. The country is also the largest exporter of coal, and in the year of 2005-06, there is nearly 230 million tons of black coal that were exported to Australia. Nearly 41% of the energy consumption in Australia is produced from the coal, and only 5% of the total energy is based from renewable sources. The rate of energy consumption is growing at the rate of 2-3% per year in Australia since the 1990s, which is much below the rate of growth of GDP of the country (Martin and Rice 2015).

The survey analysis done by Effendi and Courvisanos (2012), mentioned that only 42% of the Australian are ready to accept the implication of nuclear power. The nuclear disaster that took place in the Fukushima of Japan after the earthquake in 2011 has created a sense of fear among the people for the use of nuclear energy. There is a huge political debate going on within the country about the use of nuclear energy for the production of electricity. In spite of the fact that there is vast reserve of naturally occurring Uranium in Australia, the government has failed to make full use of this natural resource. As Australia is one of the major producers of thermal energy in the world, it is unlikely to face energy crisis at present. However, as the demand of the energy is rising rapidly with the advancement of modern technology, the risk of the energy crisis is getting higher. The Australian Bureau of Resource and Agricultural Economics have raised concern about the lower production of rate of electricity from renewable sources. As the policy of the federal government of Australia has made special policies to raise the import of Uranium from the country in order to increase the income level, there is lesser chance of setting up of nuclear power plant in the country. The idea of CCS deployment can be help to reduce the emission of greenhouse gas and thus help to reduce the effect of climate change. It is the duty of the government to implement the use of nuclear power in order to fulfill the political promise that is made to the common people. After the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, all the major nations of the world are unwilling to initiate the use of the nuclear as a source of energy. Nevertheless, there is mixed opinion on the people of Australia about the implication of nuclear power in practice. In spite of the fact that coal is the major source of energy production, in the last five years, the use of the renewable source of energy has increased 3.5% (Mishra and Smyth 2016). The government of Australia is highly keen to implement the use of nuclear power. However, the biggest obstacle the government has faced is from the opposition of common people (Falk and Settle 2011).  

The transportation sector is the highest consumer of energy in Australia with 1479 petajoules of energy with 38.5% of the total energy consumption. This is followed by manufacturing sector with the consumption of 1047 petajoules. The government of Australia has aimed to increase the use of renewable source of energy by 20% by the year 2020, and by the year 2050, the reduction of greenhouse emission is aimed to reduce by 60%. In the past few years, Australia has faced more political struggle for the consequence of climate change more than any other nations of the world. Many political leaders have strongly opposed the initiation of nuclear energy, as they believed that the risk that is associated with the use of nuclear power plant is not worth taking. Nevertheless, they supported the use of another form of renewable source of energy, and reduced use of carbon is given more importance (Effendi and Courvisanos 2012).

 

The government of Australia has introduced the Clean Energy Legislation aiming to reduce the emission of green house gas. According to the protocol of this Act, there should be restriction on the amount of carbon emitted from each source. Bird et al. (2014), believes that use of nuclear energy for a long time can improve the economic condition of Australia, by reducing the cost of energy production. On the other hand, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 were implemented to prohibit the use of nuclear form of energy. This would help to prevent the nuclear discharge that can cause hazardous effect on the ecosystem and environment. The radiation from the nuclear discharge if exposed directly to an individual can elevate the risk of cancer. There is also the Nuclear Activities Prohibitions Act 1983 was passed to protect the health of the individuals. The opposition and protest for the nuclear power were initiated way back in the 1970s. The people who opposed the use strongly claimed that the nuclear power could be used to make weapons and thereby compromise the peace level of the nation. Nevertheless, at present, the percentages of Australians, who are supporting the use of nuclear energy, have increased significantly. During the survey of 1979 only 34% Australians supported the use of nuclear energy and in 2009 the percentage increased to 49% (Hunt 2012).

One of the main issues related to the application of nuclear power is the high expenditure involved in the setup of the nuclear power plant. The extra amount is needed to ensure the safety level of the power plant. It is also challenging to make arrangement for the discharge of nuclear waste. The industrial sectors on the other hand have responded well for accepting the use of nuclear power as it has helped to lower the cost of producing energy. Hence, the industrial sector has been able to increase their productivity (Hecht and Miller 2010). The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission is one of the major agencies of the government of Australia, whose duty is to manage the economic growth of the country and also assessing the opportunity that is associated with the use of nuclear energy. The research team of the commission has explored the opportunities that are associated mining of the raw materials related that is needed for nuclear waste. It is important to properly process the raw materials that before using it in the nuclear power plant. The management of nuclear waste and proper storage is necessary that will help to prevent the hazardous effect associated with the leakage of nuclear radiation (Piper 2015).

The use of nuclear energy is one of the most important sources of alternative energy that is used to meet the rising demand of energy in the modern world. Australia is the only nation of the G-20 international summit that does not use the nuclear power. The nation is the biggest exporter of coal, which the biggest source of energy producer of the nation. The main advantage that is associated with the use of nuclear power is the lesser amount of greenhouse gas that is emitted. Thus the use of nuclear energy can help to prevent the consequence associated with the climate change.

At present, Australia is not facing any major challenge due to energy crisis. However, as the demand for the energy is rising, it is essential for the nation to adopt the use of nuclear power. Moreover, 33% of the world's Uranium is found in Australia, and thus they can get efficient supply of raw materials and lower the cost of electricity. Nevertheless, it is important to take sufficient necessary steps to prevent the adverse effects related to the use of nuclear energy. The support of the Australians for the use of nuclear energy also has increased significantly in the past few years. This will help the government to set up plan for setting up nuclear power plant.

 

Reference

Bird, D.K., Haynes, K., van den Honert, R., McAneney, J. and Poortinga, W., 2014. Nuclear power in Australia: A comparative analysis of public opinion regarding climate change and the Fukushima disaster. Energy Policy, 65, pp.644-653.

Chu, S. and Majumdar, A., 2012. Opportunities and challenges for a sustainable energy future. nature, 488(7411), pp.294-303.

Effendi, P. and Courvisanos, J., 2012. Political aspects of innovation: Examining renewable energy in Australia. Renewable Energy, 38(1), pp.245-252.

Falk, J. and Settle, D., 2011. Australia: approaching an energy crossroads. Energy Policy, 39(11), pp.6804-6813.

Hecht, A.D. and Miller, C.A., 2010. Perspectives on achieving sustainable energy production and use. Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, 2(3), p.031002.

Hunt, C., 2012. For the sake of a credible climate change policy in Australia-revisiting the nuclear energy option. Economic Analysis and Policy, 42(1), pp.5-14.

Martin, N. and Rice, J., 2015. Improving Australia's renewable energy project policy and planning: A multiple stakeholder analysis. Energy Policy, 84, pp.128-141.

Mishra, V. and Smyth, R., 2016. Conditional Convergence in Australia's Energy Consumption at the Sector Level. Energy Econ.

Piper, D., 2015. Full nuclear cycle can only benefit uranium: Panel. Australia's Paydirt, 1(227), p.50.

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