LNP's Nuclear Smokescreen
I support electricity generation technologies that are zero emissions, safe and cost effective. In Australia, nuclear doesn't stack up against these 'technology neutral' benchmarks. It's too expensive and not commercially viable when contrasted with more cost-effective options like solar and wind energy. Australia's private sector isn't interested in nuclear. And of course, let's be honest. The LNP isn't either. The LNP is interested in winning the next election and it is using Trumpist tactics of distraction and division in an attempt to achieve that goal. That's why it's spruiking nuclear at present.
The economic costs and hurdles of nuclear are monumental and weigh heavily against its commercial feasibility in Australia where renewable energy is cheap and abundant. In an already competitive and diverse market, the private sector is not at all interested in nuclear, especially given the exorbitant costs and extended payback periods.
In contrast, costs of renewable energy like solar and wind keep falling. The cost of electricity from new solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, for instance, has plummeted by approximately 85% since 2010. Onshore wind costs have dropped by almost half during the same period. These statistics underscore the stark competitiveness of renewables compared to nuclear. Stringent safety regulations and long construction timeframes make nuclear even less commercially viable. In a nutshell, nuclear is financially impractical and commercially unviable for new generation electricity production.
LNP advocacy on nuclear also conveniently sidesteps its significant environmental and social costs. Radioactive waste remains dangerous for thousands of years, posing costly storage challenges. And if Barnaby Joyce and Angus Taylor were really so concerned communities' views being spoiled by wind and solar farms, would they really expect people to agree to nuclear power plants being built over their back fences?!
Australia has abundant renewable resources and with the right policy settings is set to become a renewable energy superpower. Investing in nuclear would be a distraction from this. It would require massive government subsidies to make it commercially viable. This would divert resources and attention away from renewables' growth and hinder our transition to a zero-emissions economy. The money could also be much better spent on hospitals, schools or infrastructure. Things people need and that boost our economy and productivity.
The LNP's peddling of nuclear energy is disingenuous and at odds with the free market principles it purports to champion. The real reason the LNP is touting nuclear is political. Like its tactics on the Voice to Parliament, it thinks it can win the next election by throwing out divisive hand grenades. We can't allow ourselves to fall victim to this.