A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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Love those 30 year old coal and nuclear plants — nothing gives cheaper electricity

The gold-plated stars of our national grid are the old coal plants we’ve built and paid off.

A US report (thanks Lance) shows how fantastically cheap and bountiful old coal and nuclear plants are. The LCOE or the Levelized Cost of Electricity includes the costs of the concrete, turbines, car parks and coal, plus the maintenance and salaries. It reveals that thirty year old, and even fifty year old coal plants, are the gift from past generations — enormous infrastructure, built and paid for, and ready to churn out bargain electrons. Or in crazy-land, ready to be blown up.

Look how long it takes to pay off the capital cost of building them (the red sector in the graph), and look how wonderfully cheap that electricity is from a 30 year old plant. Watch the pea. All those “investigative news stories” that compare the cost of building new coal to the cost of solar or wind are hiding the most brilliant and essential assets on our grid. Reopen Hazelwood now. (!)

Both sides of politics are choosing to destroy the family jewels in the hope of controlling global weather.


From the report by Stacy and Taylor, of the […]

Laser Boron Fusion — What if it works? (Forget “climate change”)

Here’s another “breakthrough” fusion claim. Thing is, one day, one of these will work.

Something like this: Boron Hydrogen, Fusion, click to read about aneutronic fusion.

In the meantime, knowing that the future is nuclear, and the only question is when, we should burn all the coal we have while it is still worth something.

UPDATE: Everyone knows that fusion is the perennial baby of Hype-n-Hope. It’s easy to criticize, but why miss the chance to crush a few mantras instead? The renewables industry talks about how inevitable renewables are, so lets talk about the inevitable Fusion-Future that makes the “renewables” surge a temporary blip that will be superseded. The Fusion-Future adds urgency to coal use now — a real use-by date (albeit with blurry print).

PS: Yes, The Greens are going to hate it. A private energy generator, outside government control, not needing hand-outs, and one that solves “climate change” but without subsidies and strings. These companies might say what they think! They’re a power threat to global parasites. Remember: a dependent company is an obedient company — one that cheers for big-government.

Australia spends $5 billion a year installing inefficient, non-competitive renewables. […]

Psychoanalysis shows Nuclear Power stops countries meeting climate targets

Only higher education could produce something this silly.

The University of Sussex gets the credit for a paper that argues that countries that are committed to nuclear energy are progressing slower towards the holy grail of meeting “climate targets”. This discovery coincidentally comes exactly as the UK Hinkley Point “hangs in the balance”. What were the odds?

The Newspeak starts in the headline — what’s a “climate target”. My personal climate target is to move into the tropics each winter, but the EU climate target is not about reducing temperatures over Spain, but about “more windmills”. The climate target of the EU has apparently got nothing much to do with the climate:

…the EU’s 2020 Strategy — to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, increase the share of renewable energy to at least 20% of consumption, and achieve energy savings of 20% or more by 2020…

They cluster countries in to 3 groups and discover that the countries that plan to maintain or expand nuclear energy (eg Bulgaria, Hungary and the UK) are not cutting emissions as fast as countries that have no nukes (Denmark, Ireland, and Norway).

Could it be, I wonder, because […]

UK Government hides its own graphic comparing Nuclear to Wind and solar

Is this a 2013 Streisand-Effect finalist?

The UK has decided to build its first new nuclear power plant in 20 years. The UK Department of Energy & Climate Change posted this graphic below in a News Story probably to help justify why it really did make sense to go nuclear rather than renewable. The Renewable Energy Association called it “unhelpful”, and lo, it disappeared from

Credit goes to Emily Gosden’s Tweet, and Will Heaven‘s Blog. Hat tip to Colin.


(Click to enlarge to see the fine print)

The fine print (edited out in the small copy here) says that Hickley Point C “is estimated to be equal to around 7% of UK electricity consumption in 2025 and enough to power nearly 6 million homes.” About onshore wind, the fine print reads: “The footprint will depend on the location and turbine technology deployed. DECC estimates the footprint could be between 160,000 and 490,000 acres“. That’s quite some error margin.

How many National Parks does one nuclear plant save then?

It’s a good representation of just how much of the Earths surface we have to give up if we want to live off renewables at the moment. So who […]

Australia can meet it’s 2020 targets with just 35 nuclear power plants or 8000 solar ones!

Roger Pielke, Jr. has looked closely at Australia’s ETS targets and helpfully put some numbers into the hypotheticals.

With all their subsidies, goodwill and fervent wishes, solar, wind, and geothermal produce just 3% of our energy needs. Fossil fuels produce a whopper 94%. And “energy” on these grand continental scales is measured in quadrillion BTUs which is known as “one quad”. Australians use about 5 quads / year, and to make that we pump out about 400 Mt of carbon dioxide per year. (These kind of big-picture numbers are often hard to find, so I wanted to capture that to keep things in perspective.)

Population growth is a big factor in Australia 7.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings […]