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    Australia says replacing coal-fired power stations with nuclear to cost $387 billion

    September 20, 2023 - Khmer Times


      ABC - Australia's federal government has released figures to try to shut down growing calls from the opposition to consider nuclear power as part of Australia's future energy mix.

      Energy Minister Chris Bowen said new analysis showed that using nuclear power to replace retiring coal-fired power stations would cost $387 billion.

      'When you put the most expensive form of energy into the system, there is a massive cost to pay,' he told RN breakfast.

      'It's a unicorn and a fantasy and someone has to pay for it if they are really serious about this plan.'

      The government's current plan is to invest in clean energy projects through what is known as 'Rewiring the Nation' at a cost of $20 billion.

      The release of the data follows Opposition Leader Peter Dutton describing nuclear power as the 'most credible' pathway to reduce emissions.

      Dutton has suggested small modular reactors (SMR) should be considered but Mr Bowen insists that is not a viable option.

      '[It is] an idea which is unproven, with only two [SMRs] operating anywhere in the world, neither of them commercially - one in Russia, one in China,' he said.

      'It strikes me as utterly bizarre that the opposition is hanging its hat on this unproven technology as the answer to our admittedly challenging task of reducing emissions and keeping reliability, but I can't think of a worse fit for Australia than nuclear power.'

      Bowen said the figures showed at least 71 small modular reactors would be needed to replace Australia's retiring coal fleet.

      The figures come from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water which gathered data from GenCost 22-23 and public Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) data.

      GenCost is a report between CSIRO and AEMO that examined the cost of updating the energy market.

      Bowen pointed to modelling by the GenCost report that found the cost of renewable energy sources was lower.

      The estimated cost for SMRs would be $18,167 a kilowatt in 2030, compared to solar at $1,058/kW and onshore wind at $1,989/kW.

      However, the opposition has cast doubt on the data.

      Former resources minister and now Coalition backbencher Keith Pitt told Sky news the figures should be questioned.

      'This is the team that brought you the modelling that said your power prices [would be] going down by $275. I think it is a stunt,' he told Sky News.

      However, when pushed for what the actual figures could be, Mr Pitt could not say.

      'The Coalition will put those costings as we come out closer to the election,' he said.

      Opposition Leader Peter Dutton dismissed the figures and insisted nuclear must be considered by the government.

      'I don't believe Chris Bowen has a credible path to get to net zero without the use of nuclear,' he said.

      Dutton pointed to countries that are using or considering nuclear to help reduce emissions and power prices.

      'There are 50 countries in the world, either using or looking to use nuclear technologies,' he said.

      'Why would those countries including the UK, US, France, Canada, why would those countries see the latest nuclear technology as a viable way and a credible way to get to net zero by 2050 but Chris Bowen doesn't.

      'It's not the technology that is not working, it's Chris Bowen.'


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