Dutton’s nuclear plan lacks logic and detail

It seems that Peter Dutton, in promoting an ill-thought-out nuclear energy plan, has succeeded in his true objective, namely undermining the drive towards renewable energy (“Dutton energy plan spooks global money”, June 21). With the lack of any analysis of the life-cycle impact of decommissioning an end-of-life nuclear plant, how to safely store high-level nuclear waste for tens of thousands of years or how to prevent diversion to nuclear weaponry, it is clear that the Dutton plan has a half-life until the next election. Paul Pearce, Bronte

dutton’s nuclear plan lacks logic and detail

Relax, the kids will pay for it

In the debate about future energy supply, it is not just a matter of fairness to consider the pros and cons of nuclear power but the need to explore every option in a climate crisis and considerations such as Australia’s projected rapid increase of an energy-hungry population. The cost at well over $10b each and construction time over 10 years for the first two or three reactors is likely to be a huge impediment but subsequent reactors of the same design will likely be constructed considerably more cheaply and efficiently. The baseload power production is a considerable advantage and would supply an anticipated huge demand for EV battery-charging at night and hydrogen production for local industry and peak power generation. The essence of the debate is whether Australia can afford the time and expense for this enhanced reliability, or devote government and investor capital exclusively to renewable energy production and storage. Geoff Harding, Chatswood

The need for action to combat climate change is now. In fact, in my more pessimistic moments I think it’s possibly too late. Only yesterday we hear of pilgrims to Mecca dying from the heat. The Coalition’s record in delivering any kind of solutions is poor to non-existent. Just look at Snowy 2.0 – even if it does get finished, the weather gurus are forecasting the lack of snow in our alpine regions. Renewables must be rolled out NOW. It’s not a case of either/or. Elizabeth Elenius, Pyrmont

Peter Dutton’s nuclear proposal is a complete sham and the Coalition knows it. The promise of the first nuclear reactor operating in 10 years’ time is nonsense. It would take this long and probably longer to overcome the massive obstacles … agreement of the states; the approval of the Senate with its current composition; and the acquisition of sites from resistant owners … by which time most of the current LNP politicians will have long left parliament and be no longer answerable for the failure of its implementation. It appears that spruiking this nuclear fantasy has three aims: to make Dutton appear a visionary who is showing “real leadership”; to keep the current coal-fired system going for at least another decade; and to create an uncertain environment for investment in renewables. Toni Lorentzen, Fennell Bay

Seven nuclear plants at $15 billion each is $105 billion. For that, taxpayers could pay for 7 million home solar panel or battery installations at $15,000 per installation. Many of us have solar panels but would love a battery. Installation and power production can start now, not 15 to 20 years from now. No need to argue over nuclear waste disposal, and a good chance to develop solar panel and battery recycling systems that the world needs. No need to take cooling water from rivers, no risk of contaminating that water. Steven Lee, Faulconbridge

I stand and applaud the brilliance and cleverness of Peter Dutton’s recent seven-sites nuclear reactor proposal. He will go down in history as the opposition leader who not only came up with a solution to clearing the encampments of Gaza protesters currently camped out on university lawns, but who also offered a way to help cool down Sydney’s current rental crisis, with the seven widely separated sites across Australia that perpetual protesters will soon be compelled to go and protest at next.The more big-city protesters that leave for the “Nuclear Front”, the more rental vacancies that will open up, and even some younger people will be joining the communities at these frequently rural and remote sites. Well done Peter. Garry Dalrymple, Earlwood

Dutton and the nuclear lobby stand on a false assumption that nuclear energy is zero carbon. It is not. A typical nuclear power plant will use about 50,000 tonnes of steel and 225,000 tonnes of concrete in its construction, releasing about 320,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, approximately equal to the annual emissions of 16,000 households. While they can produce an awful lot of power over a 50-year lifespan, they start with a very large carbon debt to pay off – it’s not zero. Dick Clarke, Elanora Heights

We frequently see headlines telling us 40 per cent of Australia’s power was generated by renewables but the real-world data puts paid to any fantasy that solar and wind can supply all our needs. At 5.30pm on Thursday, the live generation data on the Australian Energy Market Operator website showed that solar, wind and batteries combined were delivering just 4 per cent of our evening peak electricity, compared with 57 per cent from coal and 23 per cent from gas. In South Australia, the renewables poster child, diesel generators were delivering 11 per cent of the state’s power – more than double the share from solar and batteries. If we are determined to replace coal, nuclear power is the only remotely viable contender. It’s either that or a return to candles and fireplaces once the sun goes down. Scott Hillard, New Lambton

Thank goodness for a well-thought-out response to the future of nuclear energy in Australia by Ziggy Switkowski (“‘Most valuable option’: Switkowski backs nuclear as states amp up attacks on Dutton plan”, June 21). There has been much scoffing and hysteria so far, but this energy source, as proven throughout the world, will deliver value for decades to come, ensuring a future of low carbon prosperity long after the naysayers are gone. Ann Parker, Berrima

Trump’s fantasy over economy

It’s one thing that the people who don’t understand global economics might vote him back into power (“Trump 2.0: Why a second presidential term could lead to a new financial crisis”, June 21), and it’s sad that that may represent upwards of half the US population. But it’s another thing that those who do understand economics still support him. Business heads are quite happy to extend the tax cuts and possibly have some more. They don’t care about the impact on the deficit, the size of public debt and the consequences for other people. And they won’t correct the blatant nonsense about tariffs and how it might actually hurt American consumers. If it helps to get Trump elected so that they get their tax cuts, that’s OK. As for the secondary effects for them of a damaged economy, that will hurt someone else, not them. David Rush, Lawson

dutton’s nuclear plan lacks logic and detail

Experts fear a financial crisis if Donald Trump wins a second presidential term.

So Donald Trump plans to rebuild the greatest economy in history. This pledge from a man who has achieved what must be rated as the most impossible of all financial failures: sending casinos broke. And, for good measure, his steaks, wines, water, vodka, his university and multiple other financial ventures all went the same way as the casinos. A financial genius he isn’t. A pan handler and flim-flam man, more to the point. Trevor Somerville, Illawong

Donald Trump allies in Louisiana passed unprecedented new laws requiring the 10 commandments to be displayed in every public classroom (“Trump’s Louisiana allies pass law requiring Ten Commandments on school walls”, June 21). Forget the pub test, this doesn’t even pass the Lemon test. Jeremy Brender, West Richmond SA

There is another ingredient to be added to the increasingly concerned speculation about the worldwide impact of a second Trump presidency. Given he is constitutionally prevented from standing a third time, the unpredictable loose cannon Trump is may lead to the presidency being a gung-ho last hurrah in which he has nothing to lose by unleashing a barrage of extreme financial and social policies with no regard for the consequences. Phil Rodwell, Redfern

And there was I thinking the job of painting very old, immovable and unfathomable objects orange belonged to Donald Trump’s make-up artist (“Climate protesters paint Stonehenge orange”, June 21). Peter Fyfe, Enmore

Make Justice Lee the ABC media judge

So, the ABC is looking for a witty, impartial and incisive personality to take the reins of Media Watch (“Does the ABC need to shake up the Media Watch hot seat?”, June 21)? Given his impending appearance at a women’s media conference, his pithy bons mots and wide public appeal, surely Justice Michael Lee is the natural choice? Grant Heaton, Port Macquarie

The media are always quick to invite speculation about replacements whenever a prominent TV hosting role becomes vacant, but they confuse presentation with content. Television is a team effort. The subject matter and editorial approach of a factual program is predominantly set by its unseen producers and research staff. They make the bullets; the host fires them. David Salter, Hunter’s Hill

The new ABC chair has a lot of work to do to make the ABC relevant again (“New ABC chair puts staff on notice”, June 21). I stopped watching the ABC long ago due to its blatant far-left political bias. I want facts from the ABC, not militant views and opinions presented as facts. It would seem the ABC is now in terminal decline resulting from the alienation of its viewer base. Best thing is to defund the ABC altogether and get rid of it as it is no longer fit for purpose. Denis O’Brien, Orange

Good to read of the admirable vision and aims new ABC chair Kim Williams has outlined. Hopefully this means an end to reruns of tired and ancient programs that seem to fill up the nightly schedule of what was once the best option of all. Dorothy Gliksman, Cedar Brush Creek

Writing home

This guy can write (“I love Sydney, but it cares little for me”, June 21). Halfway through the piece I looked to see who he was – not surprised he is a writer and editor – and now living in Sydney, or at least trying to. He’s young and he’s good. I hope to see more of him. Sydney – I still miss it after 23 years. Dianne Brims, Morpeth

Sydney is a cruel mistress, a city of breathtaking beauty that shines so brightly you’re easily blinded to its faults. As a long-term Melbourne expat who fell in love with this city I occasionally play the cruel game of looking at Melbourne’s property listings, a journey not for the faint-hearted. We could live like the Kardashians, instead of Steptoe and Son, in well-built homes at comparatively bargain prices. However, that thought will remain a fantasy as Sydney has me firmly under her stunning spell. Janet Argall, Dulwich Hill

Shining light

SCEGGS Darlinghurst principal Jenny Allum is a beacon in the education landscape (“I hope my teaching staff are too busy switching off to read this”, June 21). She knows what it is to be a teacher. Her actions in rejecting misguided attacks on the teaching profession by those who think they understand the intricacies of what it is to be a good teacher is to be applauded. She stands for humanity and the rights of every child to a good school education. She resists attempts by bodies more interested in wealth prestige and moral certitude to interfere in a profession revered and respected for millennia. Simon O’Brien, Rushcutters Bay

Hear hear!!! Katerina Athanassiou, Glebe

Legal drugs are no big deal

Canada legalised marijuana some time ago (“I found the business card in my door. Hours later, the drugs were delivered”, June 21). It is both heavily regulated and widely available. If one were to visit one of their pharmacy-like dispensaries you would find that the clientele are surprisingly middle-class and middle-aged. Having just returned from eastern Canada we saw no overt evidence of its use in public or on the roads, yet our discussions with Canadians made it apparent that it was widely and happily consumed. It very much seemed that it was considered an in-house activity, so Friday night was date night with an edible, Netflix and chill. I suspect that the legalisation of such drugs would be a little like the legalisation of gay marriage. The sky didn’t fall in, the world didn’t end and all of us went about our business as though nothing had changed. John Mizon, Collaroy

Pat was a class act

Another sportsman who exuded grace and humility was Pat Rafter (“Compared to the Shark, McIlroy’s a spoiled brat”, June 19). Reaching the Wimbledon final for the second consecutive year in 2001, his opponent was Goran Ivanisevic. Unseeded, in his fourth final and the crown favourite. At the end of a tight five-setter, Rafter walked to the net. With a big smile offered his congratulations and even patting the victor on the head. Now that’s a class act. Drew Porter, Wagga Wagga

A breath of fresh air

Thank you for showing us a federal MP with a big heart, more than half a brain, some ideals but feet firmly planted amongst the grassroots (“Unlikely pair eye up Labor’s weak spot”, June 21). Hallelujah! I hope and suspect that there are more like him out there who actually get it – we’ve had enough of the arrogant, opportunist, self-serving politicians who have turned parliament into a model of bullying behaviour for our young people to emulate. He would have my vote too if I lived in Brisbane. Joanne Strauss, Glenthorne

dutton’s nuclear plan lacks logic and detail

Max Chandler-Mather and Andrew Bragg oppose key elements of Labor’s home ownership and rental policies.

The Greens are prepared to again employ their spoiling agenda to frustrate the government initiatives on housing. This is something that the Greens are good at. Their refusal to support government attempts to reduce carbon in the atmosphere will be long remembered. And no doubt Max Chandler-Mather, whose annoying presence sometimes occurs on our television screens, will be in the thick of it. Derrick Mason, Boorowa

Modern money means charities lose

It’s one simple consequence of the death of the chequebook (“More need charity but we are giving less”, June 21). The fallback for a charity, now, is an electronic transfer of funds. And in the endlessly proliferating world of scammers, donors think twice about putting their personal and credit card details online. Philip Moore, Glebe

Classroom chaos

I was in 6th class at North Goulburn Primary School and my brother in year 3 when the nearby St Josephs School and Bradfordville Parish Schools closed (Letters, June 21). Our classes doubled overnight from 45 to 90. Bob Menzies got the message. What I most remember was being told by our teacher and headmaster, Mr Burnett, that all the boys had to stand around the three sides of the classroom whilst the girls got the seats – but then they were seated three to a one-seat school desk. Not much learning got done over the next three days. Rod Pomroy, Millers Point

Mixed messages

Like Cherie Gilmour, I do wonder about the plethora of so called “life coaches” these days (“The only life coaches I’d hire are either long dead or too busy”, June 21). I saw one on Instagram recently imploring unsuspecting scrollers to accept that “you control nothing in your life”, and in the next breath urging people, somewhat contradictorily I thought, to go out every day and do everything “to be the greatest version of you”. Ross Duncan, Potts Point

Knit picking

Warm congratulations to Janice Creenaune on still being able to sport her mother-in-law’s handmade cardigans (Letters, June 21). I still have, and regularly wear, a cosy jumper knitted for me by my mum’s friend 55 years ago. Furthermore, I have the sky-blue leather coat I bought at House of Merivale 52 years ago, and it still fits! Peter Craig, Dulwich Hill

Buyer beware

Aldi has cheaper groceries, then you spend $250 on socks, a soldering iron and a dog bed. Greg Scott, Hobart

Bad sports

I am a long-time fan of cricket. As a pensioner, I do not have much money to spend. My favourite activity used to be watching cricket on TV. Unfortunately this does not remain an option for me as the current cricket series seems to be only on pay TV. What happened to the promise by some politicians that some sport would be kept on free-to-air TV? Richard Kirby, Campbelltown

Mistaken identity

I’m glad your correspondent enjoys his local Woolworths, but as for benefiting Australian shareholders, the largest shareholder of Woolworths is Blackrock: a US investment company (Letters, June 21). Mike Keene, Mollymook Beach

Postscript

Here at the Herald, we’ve published numerous articles about the Coalition’s nuclear ambitions and received several hundred missives on the topic, overwhelmingly against. Too expensive, too uncertain, too dangerous is the general consensus.

Ross Hudson from Victoria’s Mount Martha expressed a common view, that the opposition leader is championing nuclear power as an issue to wedge the Labor Party. “Dutton seems interested only in creating conflict, even if it distances himself from the business community who just want policy certainty to help their forward planning after a decade of climate obfuscation”.

Gerringong’s Bea Hodgson said that intelligent voters believe the scientists from the CSIRO, “who state that nuclear is more expensive than renewable energy and would take many years to build for the climate change that is happening now”.

“We should allow for the possibility that Dutton thinks that nuclear power will probably never happen in Australia”, wrote Grenfell’s Peter Thompson. The opposition leader may be thinking only of winning the next election. “As in the lead-up to the Voice vote, the aim will be to dominate the framing of the debate and spread division and strengthen tribal partisanship.”

There was a great response to Deborah Snow’s article in which she pondered the over-representation of 60-something men in emergency departments (“Michael Mosley’s death reminded me of what an ER doctor once told me”, June 15).

Birchgrove’s Louise Dolan wrote that over-60s males using their Bunnings power tools for the first time were hand surgeons’ best customers. Her fitness trainer had t-shirts for his over-55 clientele, she wrote, emblazoned with “Don’t climb ladders”.

Could I ask a favour of our esteemed correspondents? We are currently drowning in letters about nuclear energy - more letters about any other topic being covered in the Herald would earn our undying gratitude.

Have a lovely weekend - and stay upright. No ladders.

Margot Saville, deputy letters editor

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