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Nuclear or Unclear?

How to make sense of the Liberal and National Party's proposal to focus on nuclear energy?

What are they proposing?

This is a daily moving feast, depending on which parts of the LNP are speaking and to which audience.

  • Build 5 large (1400Mw?) and 2 small (200MW?) nuclear power stations.

  • On the site of identified coal-fired power stations (Loy Yang for us).

  • So as to use existing infrastructure, workforce and transmission lines.

  • With first small one online in 2035 (if small) or 2035 (if large).

  • To be fully owned by the Government.

  • Keep coal-fired power stations running until replaced with nuclear.

  • That nuclear will get us to net zero by 2050 and that we can afford to pause emissions reduction until it does.


With our 22 Gigawatts of coal-fired power stations all closing by 2035 but a gap of up to a decade from then before nuclear can replace this capacity:

  • Coal-fired power station operators will require massive subsidies for capital and operating costs to keep them operating for up to a decade longer than planned.

  • Gas-fired power generation will need to grow massively.

  • Renewables cannot be removed from the mix without further ramping up fossil fuels.

  • Our electricity sector emissions will climb dramatically for 20+ years.

2-Minute Demolition

Some simple points to those who seem to be blindly accepting that nuclear is the best way to go.

  • No expert supports the possibility of having any nuclear power online before 2040 or all of it before 2050.

  • No expert supports the concept that nuclear can deliver cheaper electricity since it will cost 2-3 times more than all other alternatives.

  • The IAEA cautions countries that 10-15 years is a realistic timeframe for countries to initiate a prudent and complete nuclear power regime.

  • Lifetime costs to build of an estimated $600 billion will be borne by taxpayers.

  • For this cost, it will deliver less than 5% of our expected generation requirements in 2050.

  • Continuing coal-fire power stations beyond their retirement data will add many, many billions of dollars AND add an extra 2.1 billion tonnes to our emissions.

  • Australia will be heavily penalised with tariffs on our exports into the EO and elsewhere due to abandoning emissions reduction.

  • There is no possibility of new jobs in the Valley for 6-10 years.

Some Inconvenient Questions

Some questions for Liberal and national MPs. Caution: may make them squirm or prevaricate.

  • Meeting your timetable has been said to require Australia to perform at 30% below world's current best practise on nuclear rollout. Why do you think that is achieveable?

  • What is your projection of the increased costs (both capital and operating) and emissions from extending coal-fired generation into the 2040's and ramping up gas production?

  • What is your current assessment of the project steps needed and the timeframe from election to when the first nuclear contract is let?

Listen To The Experts not PR

Here are some reality- and science-based reports you should consider. Each has a short executive summary which should give you a good introduction to their subject.

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