Acting NSW Premier Barilaro must stop pushing ‘cheap, safe’ nuclear falsehoods

Nicholas McCallum

MEDIA RELEASE: Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Nuclear is not the answer and NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro needs to stop pushing the falsehoods that it’s a safe, cheap source of power.

Electrical Trades Union National Secretary Allen Hicks said there are significant safety risks associated with nuclear power and the cost to construct, maintain and dispose of nuclear waste far outweigh any perceived benefits.

“John Barilaro must stop spruiking the nuclear option when all the facts show it will have huge costs and will not deliver cheaper power prices for consumers,” he said.

The Lazard's November 2018 report on levelized costs of electricity proves that the unit-cost of electrical energy derived from nuclear power, over the lifetime of a generating asset is far more expensive than other renewable options:

  • Nuclear power: A$161‒271 / MWh
  • Natural-gas combined-cycle: A$59‒106 / MWh
  • Wind: A$42‒80 / MWh
  • Utility-scale solar: A$52‒66 / MWh

Mr Hicks said: “Australians know nuclear power is deadly and most of them don’t want dangerous nuclear reactors anywhere near their homes.

“The evidence is clear: Having nuclear reactors around the edges of Sydney and in the regions is not something the vast majority of Australians will accept.

“The NSW Nationals leader must be honest about the financial case of nuclear because as well as the inherent risk to life and the environment, it does not stack up economically.

“If Barilaro was being honest, he would tell people that nuclear is not a viable option without massive taxpayer subsidies which would see Australians’ good money thrown after bad.” ­­

Peter Farley, a fellow of the Australian Institution of Engineers, wrote in early 2019:

"As for nuclear the 2,200 MW Plant Vogtle [in the US] is costing US$25 billion plus financing costs, insurance and long term waste storage. For the full cost of US$30 billion, we could build 7,000 MW of wind, 7,000 MW of tracking solar, 10,000 MW of rooftop solar, 5,000MW of pumped hydro and 5,000 MW of batteries (34,000MW Total). That is why nuclear is irrelevant in Australia. It has nothing to do with greenies, it's just about cost and reliability."

The National Secretary said the ETU reaffirmed its opposition to nuclear power and uranium mining at its 100 Years of Power conference and that would not change.

“Our members back the ETU’s stance on nuclear power, the evidence is clear, nuclear power is no longer a viable option for Australia’s energy requirements and we will continue with our staunch opposition to the end,” Mr Hicks said.

The ETU National Secretary added Australia is uniquely placed to derive its energy from a mix of renewable technologies that do not pose a safety risk to people, the environment or the economy.

“The best option for cheap, clean and safe energy for Australian workers and consumers is for unions, industry and government to work together on pursuing a Just Transition towards renewable energy.”

Media enquiries: ETU National Communications Coordinator – Nicholas McCallum

0419 499 886, [email protected]

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