Home Australia The huge amount it could cost to turn Australia into a nuclear country, as new details of Peter Dutton’s bold plan are revealed

The huge amount it could cost to turn Australia into a nuclear country, as new details of Peter Dutton’s bold plan are revealed

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Labor leader Tanya Plibersek has added her voice to the diatribe of criticism against the Opposition's nuclear energy push, calling the proposal

Labor leader Tanya Plibersek has added her voice to the tirade of criticism against the Opposition’s push for nuclear power, calling the proposal “completely irrational” and “designed to be a distraction”.

Speaking on Sunday, the Environment and Water Minister criticized the Coalition for its refusal to detail the estimated cost of adding nuclear generation to the national electricity market in the biggest energy policy overhaul in decades.

“He’s saying to the Australians: ‘I don’t trust you.’ “I don’t trust him with the costs we’ve incurred, if he has any,” Ms Plibersek told Sky News.

‘In all international analyses, renewable energies are cheaper, nuclear is the most widespread.

‘What are you going to do to pay your energy bills if the government is recouping the expensive cost of building and operating those nuclear reactors?’

According to an analysis published by the Smart Energy Council using data from the latest GenCost report, Labour’s non-nuclear energy plan is estimated to cost $117 billion until 2050, while the Coalition’s pledge would cost more than $600 billion. of dollars.

Opposition energy spokesman Ted O’Brien has flagged an evolution in the Coalition’s nuclear energy policy, revealing that each of the seven sites could host multiple reactors.

Labor leader Tanya Plibersek has added her voice to the tirade of criticism against the Opposition’s nuclear power push, calling the proposal “completely irrational” and “designed to be a distraction”.

But in a major concession, O’Brien said on Sunday that the Coalition would not go to the election to announce the estimated generating capacity of its nuclear power plan, leaving this decision to an independent body until after the election.

“One of the lessons we learned from overseas is that to get prices down, you need multi-unit sites,” Mr O’Brien told ABC’s Insiders programme.

‘Let’s say the small modular reactors… When we talk about a nuclear plant, we are talking about modular compartments. You can add another 300, add another 300.

“These are plants with several units.”

An independent nuclear energy coordinating authority would make recommendations on the number and type of reactors per site, O’Brien said, which would then determine final generating capacity.

“The independent body would examine each plant and make a recommendation on what type of technology should be used,” he said.

‘From there, it would be exactly what capability is based on that technology.

“Only from there can you reach a certain number of gigawatts.”

Last week the Coalition revealed plans to build seven nuclear power plants by 2050, with the first reactor set to be operational in just over a decade, in a move designed to deliver a cheaper, emissions-free and reliable energy supply. .

Small and large-scale modular generators would be owned by the Commonwealth, similar to the agreements governing the Snowy Hydro 2.0 plan, which would require a multi-million pound funding commitment from ratepayers.

The Coalition has proposed siting the reactors in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia on the sites of former coal-fired power stations, adding no more than 10GW to the power grid, meaning Renewables will continue to be the vast majority of energy. mix.

Smart Energy Council chief executive John Grimes said Dutton’s nuclear proposal would provide “at best” 3.7 per cent of the energy needed at the same cost as the government’s current strategy.

Tarong and Callide in Queensland, Liddell and Mount Piper in New South Wales, Port Augusta in South Australia, Loy Yang in Victoria and Muja in Western Australia have been noted as station locations.

Tarong and Callide in Queensland, Liddell and Mount Piper in New South Wales, Port Augusta in South Australia, Loy Yang in Victoria and Muja in Western Australia have been noted as station locations.

“In reality, the cost overruns currently occurring in the UK could mean a $600 billion bill for Australian taxpayers, while delivering a small proportion of the energy actually needed,” he said.

Nuclear power has no place in a country with cheap, reliable energy powered by the sun and wind and backed by renewable energy storage, Grimes said.

“The most optimistic assessment of Peter Dutton’s nuclear proposal indicates that it is a pale shadow of the reliable renewables plan outlined and calculated by the Australian Energy Market Operator,” he said.

The council has asked the opposition to publish its analysis of the costs and generation capacity of the seven proposed nuclear reactor sites.

“They need to explain how their forecasts contradict the CSIRO and AEMO experts,” Mr Grimes said.

“It is extraordinary that details are being hidden from the Australian public.”

An independent analysis published by CSIRO puts the cost of building a large-scale nuclear reactor at $8.6 billion, bringing the total cost to approximately $60 billion; However, nuclear projects are often subject to significant delays and skyrocketing cost overruns.

Smart Energy Council chief executive John Grimes said Dutton's nuclear proposal would provide

Smart Energy Council chief executive John Grimes said Dutton’s nuclear proposal would provide “at best” 3.7 per cent of the energy needed at the same cost as the government’s current strategy.

An independent analysis published by CSIRO puts the cost of building a large-scale nuclear reactor at $8.6 billion, bringing the total cost to approximately $60 billion; However, nuclear projects are often subject to significant delays and skyrocketing cost overruns (file image).

An independent analysis published by CSIRO puts the cost of building a large-scale nuclear reactor at $8.6 billion, bringing the total cost to approximately $60 billion; However, nuclear projects are often subject to significant delays and skyrocketing cost overruns (file image).

When asked why Australia had shunned nuclear power when many other advanced economies had embraced the technology, Ms Plibersek pointed to Australia’s comparative advantage in renewable energy generation.

“We have the space, we have the resources, we have the critical minerals that we need, the battery manufacturing, we are investing in green hydrogen,” Ms Plibersek said.

‘We can be a renewable energy superpower and instead Peter Dutton wants to slam on the brakes, rather than lead the world with renewable energy investments.

“He wants to accelerate nuclear energy and put us in the slow lane when it comes to renewables. It’s just crazy.’

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