ETU slams nuclear plan

Wednesday, 12 June, 2024

ETU slams nuclear plan

Australia’s Electrical Trades Union (ETU) has taken a firm stance on Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s nuclear power proposal, pointing to analysis from the CSIRO and AEMO’s latest GenCost report indicating that a single 1-gigawatt nuclear reactor would cost at least $8.6 billion and potentially as much as $16 billion to build in Australia.

The ETU said that Dutton must explain how he would raise $100 billion to fund construction of seven nuclear reactors and where they would be located.

“Mr Dutton is pushing a risky and astoundingly expensive nuclear fantasy that is completely out of touch with economic and energy market realities in Australia,” said ETU National Secretary Michael Wright. “The CSIRO’s costing confirms that renewables will provide the cheapest electricity in the coming decades, while nuclear reactors would be vastly more costly and take too long to build to contribute to our 2030 emissions reduction targets.

“Fundamentally, a Dutton government’s nuclear pipe dream would create massive sovereign risk for investors — Dutton’s stance is putting tens of thousands of future energy jobs at risk.”

The GenCost report found that the first nuclear reactor built in Australia would likely cost double the $8.6 billion estimate due to the expense of establishing the industry from scratch. It also concluded that a nuclear plant could not be operational before 2040.

“Renewables will supply 90% of our electricity needs at a fraction of the cost of nuclear by 2030,” Wright said, adding that Australia “should be doubling down on our world-leading renewable resources and modernising the grid to deliver affordable, reliable, zero-emissions energy”.

The ETU called on Dutton to abandon his nuclear plans, citing serious questions about reactor safety and waste management in addition to the prohibitive costs.

Investment in renewable energy, transmission infrastructure, battery storage and pumped hydro is the fastest, most economical path to meet Australia’s energy needs and emissions commitments, the organisation said.

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