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Tony Irwin is a nuclear engineer and technical director of Australian company, SMR Nuclear Technology.For three decades he worked commissioning and operating nuclear reactors in the UK for British Energy (formerly the Central Electricity Generating Board). He emigrated to Australia in 1999 and took a position with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), where he remained for ten years. Irwin chairs the Nuclear Engineering Panel of Engineers Australia and lectures at the Australian National University and University of Sydney on nuclear science. Irwin has a degree in electrical power engineering.
Irwin is an advocate for nuclear power in Australia and has recommended the deployment of small modular reactors, provided that legislation can be changed to allow for it.In 2014 he told the media:
"Small modular reactors with their natural safety based on passive safety systems using gravity, natural circulation and pressurised tanks, represent a game-changer that is particularly suitable for Australian conditions."
He has argued in Mining Australia that climate change should lead Australia to reconsider nuclear power as an alternative to burning fossil fuels to generate electricity.
He has featured in media reports on nuclear technology and provided commentary to the Australian Science Media Centre in response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.He has given public presentations and lectures on SMRs and nuclear power, including some at which opposing viewpoints were presented by anti-nuclear advocates such as Ian Lowe.
In 2011 Irwin contributed a chapter on small modular reactors to Australia's nuclear options, a policy perspective document for the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.
Irwin is a member of the Institution of Engineers Australia and of the UK Institution of Engineering and Technology, a fellow of the Australian Institute of Energy, and chairman of the Nuclear Engineering Panel of the Sydney division of Engineers Australia.He is a member of ARPANSA's Nuclear Safety Committee.
Nuclear engineering is the branch of engineering concerned with the application of breaking down atomic nuclei (fission) or of combining atomic nuclei (fusion), or with the application of other sub-atomic processes based on the principles of nuclear physics. In the sub-field of nuclear fission, it particularly includes the design, interaction, and maintenance of systems and components like nuclear reactors, nuclear power plants, or nuclear weapons. The field also includes the study of medical and other applications of radiation, particularly Ionizing radiation, nuclear safety, heat/thermodynamics transport, nuclear fuel, or other related technology and the problems of nuclear proliferation. This field also includes chemical engineering and electrical engineering as well.
A nuclear power phase-out is the discontinuation of usage of nuclear power for energy production. Often initiated because of concerns about nuclear power, phase-outs usually include shutting down nuclear power plants and looking towards fossil fuels and renewable energy. Three nuclear accidents have influenced the discontinuation of nuclear power: the 1979 Three Mile Island partial nuclear meltdown in the United States, the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the USSR, and the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
Nuclear energy policy is a national and international policy concerning some or all aspects of nuclear energy and the nuclear fuel cycle, such as uranium mining, ore concentration, conversion, enrichment for nuclear fuel, generating electricity by nuclear power, storing and reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, and disposal of radioactive waste.
The anti-nuclear movement is a social movement that opposes various nuclear technologies. Some direct action groups, environmental movements, and professional organisations have identified themselves with the movement at the local, national, or international level. Major anti-nuclear groups include Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, 350.org, Green New Deal Movement Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Climate Reality Project, Greenpeace, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Peace Action and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service. The initial objective of the movement was nuclear disarmament, though since the late 1960s opposition has included the use of nuclear power. Many anti-nuclear groups oppose both nuclear power and nuclear weapons. The formation of green parties in the 1970s and 1980s was often a direct result of anti-nuclear politics.
Russia is one of the world's largest producers of nuclear energy. In 2018 total electricity generated in nuclear power plants in Russia was 204.3 TWh, 18.7% of all power generation. The installed gross capacity of Russian nuclear reactors is 31.3 GW in December 2018.
Nuclear power in the United Kingdom generates around 19% of the country's electricity as of 2020, projected to rise to a third by 2035. The UK has 15 operational nuclear reactors at eight plants, as well as nuclear reprocessing plants at Sellafield and the Tails Management Facility (TMF) operated by Urenco in Capenhurst.
Nuclear safety is defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as "The achievement of proper operating conditions, prevention of accidents or mitigation of accident consequences, resulting in protection of workers, the public and the environment from undue radiation hazards". The IAEA defines nuclear security as "The prevention and detection of and response to, theft, sabotage, unauthorized access, illegal transfer or other malicious acts involving nuclear material, other radioactive substances or their associated facilities".
China is one of the world's largest producers of nuclear power. The country ranks third in the world both in total nuclear power capacity installed and electricity generated, accounting for around one tenth of global nuclear power generated. Nuclear power contributed 4.9% of the total Chinese electricity production in 2019, with 348.1 TWh. This is an increase of 18.1% from 2018; two new reactors came online in 2019.
The prospect of nuclear power in Australia has been a topic of public debate since the 1950s. Australia has never had a nuclear power station. Australia hosts 33% of the world's uranium deposits and is the world's third largest producer of uranium after Kazakhstan and Canada.
The nuclear power debate is a long-running controversy about the risks and benefits of using nuclear reactors to generate electricity for civilian purposes. The debate about nuclear power peaked during the 1970s and 1980s, as more and more reactors were built and came online, and "reached an intensity unprecedented in the history of technology controversies" in some countries. Thereafter, the nuclear industry created jobs, focused on safety, and public concerns mostly waned. In the last decade, however, with growing public awareness about climate change and the critical role that carbon dioxide and methane emissions plays in causing the heating of the earth's atmosphere, there has been a resurgence in the intensity of the nuclear power debate. Nuclear power advocates and those most concerned about climate change point to nuclear power's reliable, emission-free, high-density energy, alongside a generation of young physicists and engineers working to bring a new generation of nuclear technology into existence to replace fossil fuels. On the other hand, skeptics point to nuclear accidents such as the death of Louis Slotin, the Windscale fire, the Three Mile Island accident, the Chernobyl disaster, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, combined with escalating acts of global terrorism, to argue against continuing use of the technology.
Since about 2001 the term nuclear renaissance has been used to refer to a possible nuclear power industry revival, driven by rising fossil fuel prices and new concerns about meeting greenhouse gas emission limits.
Barry William Brook is an Australian scientist. He is an ARC Australian Laureate Professor and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania in the Faculty of Science, Engineering & Technology. He was formerly an ARC Future Fellow in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide, Australia, where he held the Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change from 2007 to 2014. He was also Director of Climate Science at the Environment Institute.
NuScale Power is an American private company that designs and markets small modular reactors (SMRs). It is headquartered in Tigard, Oregon, United States. In 2014, the Department of Energy projected its technology would be commercially available around the year 2025. NuScale is currently planning the first power plant in Idaho.
Small modular reactors (SMRs) are a type of nuclear fission reactor which are smaller than conventional reactors, and manufactured at a plant and brought to a site to be assembled. Modular reactors allow for less on-site construction, increased containment efficiency, and heightened nuclear materials security. SMRs have been proposed as a way to bypass financial barriers that have plagued conventional nuclear reactors.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was a nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Ōkuma, Fukushima Prefecture. The disaster was the most severe nuclear accident since the 26 April 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the only other disaster to be given the Level 7 event classification of the International Nuclear Event Scale.
Holtec International is a supplier of equipment and systems for the energy industry founded in Mount Laurel, New Jersey and based in Jupiter, Florida, United States. It specializes in the design and manufacture of parts for nuclear reactors. The company sells equipment to manage spent nuclear fuel from nuclear reactors.
Stephen Lincoln is a chemistry and physics professor at the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute. His work in molecular science has resulted in over 300 publications in scientific journals and he is the author of Challenged Earth: An Overview of Humanity’s Stewardship of Earth (2006), a book in which he discusses population, water, food, biotechnology, health, energy, climate change and the ozone layer. He has a long-term interest in nuclear power and is a board member and spokesperson for South Australian Nuclear Energy Systems, a private Australian company established in 2014 to explore the feasibility of nuclear industrial development projects in South Australia. Lincoln has been a media spokesperson on nuclear issues in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and in the lead up to South Australia's Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission in 2015. His work has been awarded by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and UNESCO.
Benjamin "Ben" Heard is a South Australian environmental consultant and an advocate for nuclear power in Australia, through his directorship of environmental NGO, Bright New World.
Dr Ian Duncan is a businessman active in the Australian resources sector. He is a past president of operations at the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia under Western Mining Corporation. He was Chairman of the London-based Uranium Institute in 1995-1996. From the 1990s to the present, Duncan has advocated for nuclear industrial development in Australia, specifically the development of facilities to store and dispose of nuclear waste and the legalization and development of nuclear power plants for the generation of electricity. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology, Science and Engineering (ATSE), the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM), and Engineers Australia.