Big bill for nuclear shift
Analysts say that a coal-to-nuclear conversion would be a costly gamble for Australia.
Federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has suggested transitioning coal mines to small nuclear reactors (SMRs) as a way to reduce emissions.
This plan would come with a staggering price tag of $387 billion, warns expert analysis by Net Zero Australia.
To replace the energy output of retiring coal plants, at least 71 SMRs, each producing 300MW, would be required.
The hefty bill translates to roughly $25,000 per taxpayer, far exceeding the cost of switching solar and wind power, according to Net Zero Australia.
Dutton's advocacy for nuclear energy as a companion to renewables is met with scepticism, as history shows that multibillion-dollar SMR projects in the US, France, Finland and the UK have often exceeded budgets and timeframes or been abandoned altogether.
Amidst this debate, the South Australian Chamber of Mines & Energy, including uranium giant BHP, supports nuclear power as the “logical solution”.
However, the government's aim to source 82 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2030 has been met with challenges from rural communities, resistant to transmission line updates.
Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen has dismissed the feasibility of nuclear energy, emphasising its exorbitant cost to taxpayers.
He has also challenged Dutton and the opposition to clarify how they plan to cover this financial burden.
While the political discourse continues, Australia grapples with the harsh realities of climate change, as millions of Australians, including the majority of Queensland and New South Wales residents, face the aftermath of floods and fires. Experts urge a shift toward more resilient infrastructure, adapting to the changing climate conditions.