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Energy, Political

TALENT ALERT: Experts and communities reject Coalition’s energy ‘fantasy’

Climate Media Centre 4 mins read

June 19, 2024

 

Doctors, families, energy experts and communities have rejected the federal Coalition’s proposal to build seven nuclear power stations in Australia as a fantasy with gaping holes.

 

Australians know that renewable energy is the fastest, safest and lowest-cost energy option. Clean energy like solar and wind already makes up 40% of our national electricity grid, and one in three households have installed solar panels. Staying this course is the most responsible path toward slashing emissions this decade to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

 

The below spokespeople, including doctors, energy experts and locals from affected regional communities, are available to comment on the announcement.

 

To arrange interviews, please contact:

Emily Watkins on 0420 622 408 or emily.watkins@climatemediacentre.org.au OR

Rebecca Gredley on 0484 008 095 or rebecca.gredley@climatemediacentre.org.au  

 

Dr Kate Wylie, GP and Doctors for the Environment Australia executive director, can speak about the health impacts of nuclear power, as well as the health cost of delays to the energy transition away from fossil fuels.

"As a doctor, I would be extremely concerned about the significant risk to Australians' health if this plan to build nuclear power stations was to go ahead. We also know that climate change is the biggest threat to health, and we need to drastically cut climate pollution this decade to avoid increasingly unmanageable health and security impacts. We don't support nuclear energy as a means of decarbonisation in Australia because it is unnecessary and uneconomical, and cannot decarbonise the energy sector fast enough to avert catastrophic climate change."

Location: Adelaide, SA

 

Kahn Goodluck, councillor, Gladstone Regional Council, said:

“Our community is the industrial powerhouse of the nation. We’re getting on with the job of transitioning our economy from fossil fuels to renewable energy. We don’t need or want expensive, radioactive, nuclear energy here. Australia’s energy future is not radioactive.”

Location: Gladstone, Qld

 

Nic Seton, Parents for Climate CEO, can speak on behalf of Australian families who want greater investment in renewable energy for the health and wellbeing for children now and in the future. 

“The Coalition’s energy policy condemns our kids to decades of climate pollution while footing the bill for expensive nuclear plants local communities don’t want. We can’t wait until the 2040s to stop increasing coal and gas pollution. Our children deserve immediate action to protect them from the rising costs of worsening climate change.”

Location: Sydney, NSW

 

Mia Pepper, Campaign Director at the Conservation Council of WA, said: 

“The Coalition's nuclear power policy released this morning is a clear plan to distract and delay real action on climate change – we have cheaper, safer, cleaner alternatives that are already delivering energy to hundreds of thousands of Australians. 

 

“Nuclear power is expensive, slow and dangerous and simply cannot deliver the energy needed in the time frame we have to decarbonise. Nuclear is thirsty, requiring huge volumes of water for cooling and in an uncertain climate future, nuclear energy becomes one of the most dangerous and unreliable forms of energy. Operating nuclear reactors in an uncertain climate has its own set of emerging safety issues.

 

“The WA Liberals have already ruled out nuclear power for WA. Peter Dutton’s irresponsible reactor plan has failed to convince his own party – and it certainly hasn’t convinced the wider WA community.”

Location: Perth, WA

Mia Pepper can be contacted for further comment on 0415 380 808

 

Justin Page, coordinator, Hunter Jobs Alliance, said:

“The Hunter does not want or need Dutton's nuclear fantasy. Nuclear reactors cost too much, would take decades to build and produce toxic waste. This is a distraction from the energy transformation already underway. The Hunter has already attracted investment in onshore and offshore wind, solar and hydrogen. Our industries are already transitioning to renewable energy. This is the right path forward for our region.”

Location: Liddell, NSW

 

Masayoshi Iyoda, 350.org Japan Campaigner, said: 

“You cannot call nuclear clean energy, and completely ignore the voices of the victims of nuclear disasters and the burden on future generations. Nuclear is simply too costly, too risky, too undemocratic, and too time-consuming. We already have cheaper, safer, democratic, and faster solutions to the climate crisis, and they are renewable energy and energy efficiency.” 

 

Amandine Denis Ryan, IEEFA Australia CEO, said:

“The research by IEEFA’s nuclear experts calls into question whether nuclear makes financial sense for Australia, for a multitude of reasons – timing, cost, compatibility with renewables and liability issues to cite just a few.

 

“Our research shows that nuclear reactors – both small modular reactors (SMRs) and gigawatt-scale reactors – in comparable countries have consistently taken longer and have been more expensive to build than expected. Nuclear plants in Australia cannot be built in time to replace Australia’s fleet of coal power stations, more than 90% of which are expected to retire in the next 10 years.”

Location: Sydney, NSW

For interview, contact Amy Leiper 0414 643 446

 

Clare Silcock, Energy Strategist at the Queensland Conservation Council, is a renewable energy engineer, with 10 years’ experience in electricity market modelling, zero carbon transition planning and community energy development in London and Brisbane. 

“Our energy system is changing rapidly. We’ve nearly doubled renewable energy in Queensland in five years. A large part of this has been from rooftop solar systems which have fundamentally changed when we need energy to support the grid.

 

"Nuclear power simply doesn’t fit into a modern grid and isn’t what we need to meet our future energy demands at the least cost. What we need is flexible generation and storage which can move energy from when we have lots of it, in the middle of the day, to when we need it overnight. That is not how nuclear power stations work. We would be shutting off cheap energy to allow expensive nuclear power to run.

 

“The earliest we could possibly build a nuclear power plant in Australia is 2040 – by then we will have abundant renewable energy and technology like batteries and pumped hydro will be providing the flexible storage we need to support that renewable energy.

 

“We would like to see the Federal Opposition focus on a real plan for bringing down emissions and power prices and that would mean backing renewable energy and storage.”

Location: Brisbane, Qld

 

John Quiggin, economist, said:

“The most notable feature of Mr Dutton’s announcement is his recognition that, whatever technology we use to reduce emissions, large-scale direct public investment is necessary. However, the high cost of existing nuclear technology and the risks of untried options such as small modular reactors suggests it would be better to stick with solar and wind.”

Location: Brisbane, Qld

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