Opposition leader Peter Dutton has framed the upcoming election as a showdown between nuclear power and renewable energy as key to reducing greenhouse gases in Australia.
Dutton told reporters in Adelaide that the renewable energy favored by the Albanese government will struggle to bring Australia to the bipartisan goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Laying the groundwork for the Coalition in next year’s May federal election to champion nuclear energy, he said countries similar to Australia were making the switch.
“We need to have a mature conversation about nuclear energy,” Mr Dutton said.
‘It is the latest technology that has zero emissions and can consolidate renewable energy in the system.
Liberal leader Peter Dutton (pictured with wife Krilly Dutton at last year’s Midwinter Ball) has backed nuclear power to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Anthony Albanese won the 2022 election by promising to more than double green electricity flowing into the grid to 82 percent by 2030.
“There are 20 countries similar to ours… that have a nuclear industry or are committed to having one,” Dutton said.
Nuclear energy has been banned in Australia since 1998.
However, in anticipation of overturning the federal ban, the Coalition has begun exploring six potential atomic energy sites and believes converting decommissioned coal-fired power plants into nuclear plants would be a good option.
Dutton has previously argued that nuclear power was a “cheap technology”.
“The nonsense (Energy Minister) Chris Bowen is talking about nuclear being expensive compared to wind and solar is a nonsense argument,” Mr Dutton said.
“We have to stick to facts rather than emotions on this issue, and we are going to lose industry, there will be foundries and others closing under this government, jobs will go overseas and emissions will still air.
“If we want a situation where we are going to have blackouts, brownouts and rationing like we are seeing in Germany, then let’s continue down the path the government is taking us.”
The opposition leader has stated that Australians have received a negative view of nuclear energy due to outdated historical incidents or pop culture depictions.
“Most people were influenced by the incidence of Chernobyl and other places, some people in the investigation were influenced by The Simpsons,” Mr Dutton said in August.
“If you’ve seen The Simpsons, some of the research showed that people didn’t want a Springfield built in their backyard.”
Former chief scientist Alan Finkel, who was also the federal government’s special adviser on low emissions technology, warned nuclear power is not a quick fix to decarbonise Australia’s energy supply.
“Nuclear energy is an excellent source of electrical energy,” he told Nine News.
“However, it would be expensive and we are unlikely to be able to do it before 2040.”
Dutton argues that many other countries similar to Australia are going nuclear (pictured, an atomic power plant in Belgium).
Albanese Energy Minister Chris Bowen has rejected opposition calls to consider nuclear power.
Mr Bowen has dismissed opposition calls for nuclear power as “fantasy wrapped in wishful thinking, accompanied by a chimera”.
The Albanian government is betting on renewable energy to reach 43 percent of C02 emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
As part of its ambitious plan, Labor aims to increase the share of renewables in Australia’s national electricity market to 82 per cent, up from about a third currently.
Albanese entered 2022 promising to reduce the average household’s energy bills by $275 by 2025 and $378 by 2030, based on models that predict that adding more renewables to the mix would make electricity cheaper.
However, since the May 2020 election, electricity bills have skyrocketed with little sign of respite.