Why Stifle the Nuclear Debate?

Australia’s energy industry has been under the Parliamentary microscope for the past fortnight. The result was the passing of legislation mandating a minimum use of renewable energy by 2020. It has all the feel-good green attributes of modern policy.

And what’s not to love?

It sounds so attractive – having 20 per cent of our power needs met by wind and solar technology – until you realise it is going to cost every family and every business more for their electricity with minimal environmental benefit.

What most people don’t understand is that wind and solar are so much more expensive than our coal and gas fired power stations that no reasonable analysis can support their use from an economic perspective.

For the rabid environmentalists who believe lower carbon emissions are the be-all and end-all of good policy, they seem to conveniently overlook the lowest emissions power generation of all – nuclear power.

The most vocal critics of nuclear energy ignore the zero carbon emissions it offers and concentrate on the cost. Sure, it is higher than that of our coal and gas fired power stations but it is similar to the cost of wind and solar per kilowatt hour. So why is one regarded so differently from the others?

The principle difference is that nuclear energy can actually reduce our greenhouse gas emissions whilst also solving our base load power requirements, a situation that wind or solar power can never realistically hope to achieve.

Now I remain a strong supporter of our coal fired electricity industry as I believe it provides Australia with a competitive advantage in the cost of our electricity. I also remain unconvinced about the importance of reducing carbon emissions as part of a futile effort to limit climate change. There is simply too much evidence to the contrary to swallow the talk of the climate change alarmists.

However, when the Government is legislating for the mandatory use of renewable energy that doesn’t stack up under any economic scrutiny and when that same uneconomic decision is justified by ‘climate change’, how can we afford to ignore the potential offered by nuclear power?

Nuclear is a debate we need to have. Only nuclear can provide our base load energy requirements in an environmentally-friendly environment. To wilfully ignore the potential of its contribution to Australia’s future energy requirements is to ignore what is in the best interests of our nation.

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