NATHAN Vass (‘The national grid has never needed Hunter power more’, Newcastle Herald, 27/9) certainly grabbed my full attention as the Liddell Power Station approaches its expiry.
His reference to South Australia was interesting, as the entire capacity of South Australia’s otherwise commendable battery storage of renewable energy would run the Tomago smelter for less than 10 minutes.
Where he lost me was the advocacy of high efficiency low emission (HELE) coal-fired generation. This is an oxymoron, as any coal combustion results in carbon dioxide emissions – it is only the severity that varies.
In the Hunter we have a combined generating capacity of around 4500 megawatts. Every year we burn in excess of 10 million tonnes of coal, produce 25 million tonnes (12 billion cubic metres) of carbon dioxide, 100,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide, much of which returns as acid rain, and 50,000 tonnes of nitrous oxide gases. Then there is the uncontrolled solid particle waste of 12 tonnes of trace amounts of uranium, 20 tonnes of lead and 50 tonnes of thorium.
The port of Newcastle exports around 150 million tonnes of coal per year, and in doing so gives the world a legacy of around 200 tonnes of uncontrolled uranium.
Nuclear power of equivalent capacity would eliminate all of these undesirable environmental contaminants and would occupy a fraction of the current land area of our two coal-fired power stations. So what is stopping us from even mentioning nuclear energy – the carbon-free elephant in the room – when there are 450 nuclear power stations operating in 30 countries around the world? What do we know that the rest of the world doesn’t?
I’m not particularly pro-nuclear – I’m just pro-arithmetic and pro-environment.
Charles Pope, Morpeth
TIME TO TAMPER WITH RULES
WITH Steven Smith and David Warner potentially soon to be part of the Australian cricket team after serving their time for ball tampering, how many cricket players can place hand on heart, saying they have never tampered with a ball in any way?
We have close-up vision of players passing balls, polishing one side all the time.
If this isn't a form of tampering, but part of the game, then who is to say how much a ball can be polished before considered to be tampered?
Maybe balls should be replaced as soon as any change in appearance or construction is noticed, especially if one side is becoming smoother, or shinier, than the opposite side.
What gets my goat is Australia’s judicial system regarding cricket.
It's the joke of the cricketing world, punishing players for incidents regarded by other nations as just playing cricket. It's enough to make one get a good sun tan and declare a new allegiance to India.
Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
RACING BLAME NO SURE BET
TO ALL those who have lost the plot over the Opera House sails being used to advertise a horse race, here’s a few facts.
Racing NSW didn’t want to use the Opera House initially, that was the government’s idea (‘Facts lost in race to criticise promotion’, Herald, 9/10).
Luke Foley, Anthony Albanese and others also agreed it was a good idea.
The Opera House has been used as a commercial billboard in the past for the Rugby World Cup, cricket, and Samsung phones.
These are all commercial endeavours.
Let alone the coal protesters who wanted to use it as a billboard.
For those who think it’s an issue this time because of the gambling, you can just as easily bet on rugby or the cricket as you can on a horse race.
Don’t forget that the Opera House was built from the proceeds of gambling through the $5 Opera House lottery.
Finally, Melbourne has been using iconic buildings to promote racing and other events for years but then maybe that is why Victoria is the sporting capital of Australia and NSW is seen as the whingeing capital.
Andrew Hirst, Morpeth
COOK UP A PUBLIC HONOUR
WITH the upcoming 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook's discovery of the east coast of Australia, perhaps now is an opportune time for the Australian government to honour this great explorer and navigator by instituting a public holiday to honour his great achievement. It could perhaps replace the Queen's Birthday public holiday in the June long weekend.
Captain Cook's discovery helped lead to the British settlement of Australia, which has undoubtedly benefited everyone in this country with the creation of one of the world's richest and most successful nations in only 230 years. I believe all Australians should embrace this legacy.
Peter C Jones, Rathmines
LEARNING IS A LESSON
WITH regard to the debate engendered by the strained leaks from the Ruddock report, and the concern of many over the effect of religious schooling, my opinion is thus.
I was raised Catholic and learned to read, write, and count in Catholic primary schools. This allowed me to educate myself to a realisation of the ridiculousness, admittedly ancient, which they injected into an otherwise common moral instruction.
Nowadays I find the austere theology of atheism sufficient for any religious tendencies. That said, it is of interest to note that people go to a great deal of bother creating a being which is, supposedly, all powerful, all knowing, omnipresent, infinite in scope, and eternal in duration.
And then they immediately invest it with all the limitations of their peculiarities and prejudices. When it comes to discussions of the funding of education in Australia, one can only hope that the effort of taxpayers is not wasted on promoting bigotry, especially in the minds of the young.
Peter Ronne, Woodberry
PLENTY OF US HAVE FAITH
KEVIN McDonald (Letters, 10/10) has a problem with religion in schools: the relentless grip of the church, children indoctrinated daily, kids in the clutches of the church.
On his own admission, a large proportion of us don't share his phobia, and it is simplistic to suggest that the appeal of religious schools is a matter of funding and resources.
On the contrary, many parents make great financial sacrifices for a religious alternative. For Mr McDonald, education should be religion-free to allow freedom of thought. Many of us disagree and feel we have more to fear from indoctrination by those pushing harmful secular ideologies.
Peter Dolan, Lambton
LETTER OF THE WEEK
THE pen goes to Les Field, of Wickham, for the letter about the Sydney Opera House, alcohol and gambling advertising.