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Dutton wants Australia to join the “nuclear renaissance” – but this dream has failed before

TJ Ryan Foundation Research Associate John Quiggin writes in The Conversation (12.7.23) about federal opposition leader Peter Dutton’s claims that Australia should explore nuclear energy generation, which the author points out ignores the reality of affordable renewable options already operating.

‘Last week, opposition leader Peter Dutton called for Australia to join what he dubbed the “international nuclear energy renaissance”.

‘The same phrase was used 20 years ago to describe plans for a massive expansion of nuclear. New Generation III plants would be safer and more efficient than the Generation II plants built in the 1970s and 1980s. But the supposed renaissance delivered only a trickle of new reactors – barely enough to replace retiring plants.

‘If there was ever going to be a nuclear renaissance, it was then. Back then, solar and wind were still expensive and batteries able to power cars or store power for the grid were in their infancy.

‘Even if these new smaller, modular reactors can overcome the massive cost blowouts which inevitably dog large plants, it’s too late for nuclear in Australia. As a new report points out, nuclear would be wildly uncompetitive, costing far more per megawatt hour (MWh) than it does to take energy from sun or wind.’


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