Nuke power cheaper than coal, claims Oz Industry Minister
Australians risk higher electricity prices if the country fails to embrace nuclear power and relies only on low-emission coal technology, Australia’s Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has said.
He said the anti-nuclear stance would severely hit the family budget. As such, Australians must abandon their opposition to nuclear power.
He however, said companies were unlikely to establish nuclear power plants until a bipartisan approach was offered.
Companies would be fearful that investment in a nuclear power plant would be too risky unless Labor ruled out a future ban on construction, The Australian reported Mr Macfarlane as saying.
His statements come only a day after a Newspoll in The Weekend Australian revealed that only just 35 per cent of voters supported the construction of nuclear power plants.
Citing Ziggy Switkowski’s report on uranium mining and nuclear energy, Macfarlane said: “You are also committing yourself to higher electricity prices”. Low-emission coal technology could be double or even triple the existing cost. I don’t think it’s a question of if we go to low-emission technology, but when”.
“If you look at the figures in the report, it’s 50-100 dollars a megawatt hour compared with nuclear, which is 40 and 65 dollars a megawatt hour. If you turn your back on nuclear, you’ve got to rely on the commercialisation of low-emission technology for coal. That may happen, but it’s a decade or so away,” he said.
Macfarlane also defended the safety of nuclear power, echoing the Switkowski report’s statement that Australians were more likely to die of a shark attack or be hit by lightning than from a nuclear plant disaster.
“The history of nuclear globally is very good compared with any other energy source. Even if you count Chernobyl, which never would have been built in a Western country, the accidents and deaths are below the coal industry,” he said. (ANI)