Nats see nuclear as viable option

Philip Hopkins

THE super storm in Victoria has renewed calls by the National Party for nuclear power, to avoid the new transmission lines by the drive towards renewable energy.

The leader of The Nationals, David Littleproud, said the destructive storm showed the fragility of the electricity system and the electricity grid.

“We need to make sure that if we are going to transition our power source, that we don’t expose ourselves to these types of risks even more. And the concern that I have is that if we are going to continue down this reckless race of 82 per cent renewables by 2030, you actually have to plug them in with 28,000 kilometres of new transmission lines,” he said.

“So you actually increase the risk of this (transmission towers toppling over) happening again.

”Mr Littleproud said instead, as coal fired power stations retired, Australia should look at nuclear energy to replace it.

It would thus not be necessary to increase the amount of transmission lines.

“That’s common sense and that’s what we’ve been saying for some time. I think it’s important that government understands that. And as we get these weather events more and more frequently, what we do is expose our grid even more,” he said.

“And so this is the challenge that we’re going to have. This is why it’s important that we pause, we plan.”

Mr Littleproud renewed his call to the Prime Minister to have a National Energy Summit. Energy experts, unions and state premiers could be brought together to discuss all the options including nuclear.

“I think it is eminently sensible to undertake,” he said.

Queried whether nuclear would take too long and was expensive, Mr Littleproud said the only person saying that was the Energy Minister, Chris Bowen.

“The only report that he’s got, unfortunately, trashed the CSIRO’s reputation by putting out a general cost report that didn’t actually add in the 28,000 kilometres of transmission lines to plug in these renewables,” he said.

Private investors are prepared to act.

“Deutsche Bank has a bunch of investors that are prepared to build their own small scale modular nuclear. Let’s just fight this out in the marketplace. Remove the ban,” Mr Littleproud said.

Mr Littleproud said nuclear power would reduce emissions and complement coal and gas with carbon capture storage, with a place for renewables.

“And if you had solar on rooftops in capital cities, on houses with small batteries, then you’d also alleviate much of this hurt that’s there at the moment. And that is a sensible solution about getting the energy mix right, rather than putting it all in one basket, which is what the Anthony Albanese government’s trying to do.”

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