Nuclear power

Switching from coal to nuclear power will cost Australia $387 billion

Seetao 2023-09-18 17:35
  • Nuclear energy should become an important part of Australia's energy mix
  • Liberal frontbencher Dan Tehan says nuclear power is the only way to achieve net zero emissions
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Australian Energy Minister Chris Bowen used his department's analysis to slam the opposition, which says nuclear power should be a key part of Australia's energy mix as it transitions to net-zero emissions.

Retiring coal-fired units will require at least 71 small modular reactors, the analysis said. Bowen said switching to nuclear energy "defies economics and rationality" because this form of electricity generation costs three times more than stationary renewables. Small modular technology is largely untested and he “can’t think of a technology more suitable for Australia than nuclear power.

"There are two small modular reactors in the world, one in Russia and one in China, but neither is in commercial operation," he told ABC radio on Monday. Capital costs for small modular nuclear reactors are $18,167 per kilowatt, compared with $1058 per kilowatt for variable large solar reactors and $1989 for variable onshore wind. Nuclear power is set to cost $198-349 per MWh, large-scale solar is set to cost $35-58 per MWh, and variable onshore wind is set to cost $44-75 per MWh.

But Liberal frontbencher Dan Tehan said Bill Gates supported the opposition's argument that nuclear energy was the only way to achieve net zero emissions and pledged to continue pushing forward with their policies.

Bowen said the broader transition to renewable energy was going well but could do better. "We have a huge pipeline of investment being planned by the private sector, but I would like to see more," he said. He added the federal government would not step in to keep the NSW Ellaring coal-fired power plant operating, saying he agreed with the state minister's comments that "she did not want to see Ellaring operating any longer than needed." One more day” or a day earlier to close. There is currently no proposal for the federal government to contribute to the plan. Editor/Xu Shengpeng


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