Peter Dutton calls for Australia to consider nuclear power
Opposition leader Peter Dutton has urged Anthony Albanese’s government to have an “honest discussion” on nuclear power as electricity bills continue to rise.
It comes as the government’s climate change proposal, which sets a target of a 43 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and net emissions of zero by 2050, was announced Thursday by the House of Commons has passed.
Labor also wants to increase the share of renewable energy in Australia’s national electricity market to 82 percent, from about a third today.
But Mr. Albanian wants to achieve these goals by expanding solar, wind and hydro power without nuclear power.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton (pictured) has made an urgent call for an ‘honest discussion’ on nuclear energy implementation
Despite being zero-emission, nuclear power has been banned in Australia under Commonwealth laws since 1998.
Mr Dutton urged the government to look to other countries that have implemented nuclear power plants as part of the energy mix to help reduce emissions, rather than relying solely on solar, wind and hydropower technology.
‘The last [nuclear] technology ensures zero emissions, it is a cheap technology. The nonsense Chris Bowen goes on about that nuclear is expensive compared to wind and solar – it’s a nonsense argument.
How do nuclear power plants work?
1. Producing electricity from nuclear energy requires splitting atoms to release the energy.
2. Nuclear reactors fueled by uranium pellets produce nuclear fission.
3. As they split, atoms release particles that cause other atoms to split, causing a chain reaction.
4. The chain reaction creates heat that heats a coolant such as water or liquid metal.
5. Steam is produced that drives turbines that supply energy to generators that produce electricity.
“We have to stick to the facts rather than the emotion on this issue, and we’re going to lose industry, there will be smelters, others will be closed under this administration, the jobs will go offshore and emissions will go up in the air.
“If we want a situation where we have blackouts and brownouts and rationing, as we see in Germany, then keep going down the road that the government is taking us.”
His comments come after energy prices rose due to rising demand for coal and gas due to the early onset of winter and Russia’s war against Ukraine.
“It is expected that 60 percent of the capacity of our coal-fired generators will be off the market by 2030,” he said in a statement.
This leaves Australian households and businesses vulnerable to a repeat of the chaos we are now seeing under Labour.
“If we want to take emissions seriously while maintaining a strong economy and protecting our traditional industries, all technologies need to be on the table.
Mr Dutton said an ‘honest discussion’ on nuclear energy was urgently needed but the government would not listen.
“The coalition will show Australians that we are prepared to have this honest and informed debate, which has alluded to our country for too long.”
“The fact that in the 21st century we cannot discuss nuclear energy in our country if France invests more in nuclear energy, if the UK is, if Germany is, if Italy is, China, Asia – that is nonsense. ‘
He added that nuclear power would generate zero emissions and is a “cheap technology” that would take the country out of the energy crisis.
Mr Dutton said the government has even avoided the idea of using nuclear power, which he claimed would generate zero emissions and is a ‘cheap technology’ (pictured, a power station in the La Trobe valley)
Anthony Albanese criticized the coalition for being “obsessed” with nuclear reactors while ignoring the largest nuclear reactor of all – the sun.
Mr Dutton said the Prime Minister was “ideologically opposed” to nuclear energy.
‘Bob Hawke was a big supporter of it, I spoke to John Howard who is a big supporter of it.
“If you look around the world, Justin Trudeau – one of this prime minister’s great left-wing heroes – they can’t meet their emissions targets without nuclear power,” he added.
While the coalition is now discussing support for nuclear power, Labor remains opposed, stressing that solar, wind and hydro are cheaper and faster forms of low-emission energy.
Mr Albanian denounced the coalition for being “obsessed” with nuclear reactors while ignoring the largest nuclear reactor of all – the sun.
Nuclear power has a PR problem after incidents at reactors such as Three-Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011).
But in 31 countries around the world, more than 450 nuclear power plants are connected to the grid.
France relies on nuclear energy for 75 percent of its electricity and earns three billion euros a year as a net exporter to other European countries because of the low generation costs.
The French took the decision to embrace nuclear technology as early as the 1970s, after the OPEC oil crisis.
The US, Russia, China, UK and Canada all have nuclear power in their energy mix, some of their reactors powered by uranium from Australia.
Australia is home to a third of the world’s uranium and produces about 10 percent of the world’s exports worth more than $730 million a year.
Options more suited to Australia’s smaller population could lie in next-generation Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), or by following the example of the larger one-gigawatt plant with four reactors built by Korean company KEPCO in Barakah. in the United Arab Emirates.
SMRs generating up to 300 megawatts of power are cheaper and faster to build, allowing nuclear power to compete with more frugal renewables such as solar and wind.
They can also be built underground and are cooled with air instead of water, increasing safety during operation.
SMR’s ‘load follow’, which means that the reactor adjusts the output based on demand.
But the technology continues to evolve, with the use of new materials, innovative safety features and advanced construction techniques yet to be approved by most international regulators.
Peter Dutton’s full statement on nuclear energy
Today, I initiated a formal internal process to explore the potential of advanced and next-generation nuclear technologies to contribute to Australia’s energy security and reduce power prices.
This review will be led by Mr Ted O’Brien MP, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, who will report to the Coalition Policy Committee, chaired by Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and the Coalition Party Chamber.
It is high time Australia had an honest and informed debate about the benefits and costs of nuclear energy.
The current energy crisis has shown how important it is to get more switchable power on the grid. The average wholesale electricity price in the second quarter of this year was three times higher than the same time a year ago – a situation described as ‘unprecedented’ by the Australian energy market operator.
While renewables will play an important growing role in Australia’s energy mix, they must be balanced by adequate investment in shippable generation. That’s why the coalition, when in office, supported projects like the Hunter Power Project.
Sixty percent of the capacity of our coal-fired generators is expected to exit the market by 2030. This will leave Australian households and businesses vulnerable to a repeat of the chaos we are now seeing under Labour.
If we want to take emissions seriously while maintaining a strong economy and protecting our traditional industries, all technologies must be on the table.
Nuclear power is a mature, proven technology. It can provide the reliable, zero-emission, base-load electricity Australia needs. Estimates show that it would cost the world $1.6 trillion more to meet the Paris targets without nuclear power.
Australia is already a nuclear nation. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization has operated a nuclear research reactor at Lucas Heights for more than 60 years. A national discussion about the potential of nuclear energy is a logical next step.
Many of Australia’s international partners, including France, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden and the United States of America, have adopted nuclear energy technologies.
For example, the UK government has outlined plans to triple the size of its nuclear generation by 2050, covering 25 percent of projected energy demand.
The coalition will show Australians that we are prepared to have this honest and informed debate, which our country has alluded to for too long.