SA’s Strange Love of a Nuclear Pipe Dream

The Australia Institute has submitted a report to the inquiry into nuclear power in South Australia has found major flaws in both economic and technological assumptions underpinning the pro-nuclear push.

“Nuclear power is not a practical option for South Australia,” Chief Economist at The Australia Institute, Richard Denniss said.

“There are some very strange assumptions behind this push for a domestic nuclear power industry, the most extreme of which is that Australia will base its industry on technology that has never been built at a commercial scale anywhere in the world.

“The plan being proposed is for Australia to create a high level radioactive waste problem for ourselves in the hopes that we would be able to not merely solve it, but profit from it.”

The submission also compared nuclear power to other low-carbon energy sources (see table below).

“Even if you totally dismiss issues like security, proliferation, safety, insurance, and public opposition, nuclear energy in Australia is a very expensive and a very slow option to implement.

“Solar and wind power, right now, is cheaper than nuclear power, and unlike nuclear, renewables are getting cheaper.

“In the time it would take to develop an Australian nuclear power industry, it will be made utterly redundant by renewables. South Australia, of all places, should know that.

“Expansion of the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia carries tremendous risks for dubious rewards.

“There is no reason for South Australia to take on the risks inherent in the production, storage, or processing of nuclear waste and the uncertainties of developing a new industry when ample safe energy is already available,” Denniss said.

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