Nuclear more than 6 times the cost of renewables – report


An independent report by consulting and engineering firm Egis and commissioned by the Clean Energy Council has confirmed that nuclear is the most expensive form of new energy in Australia.

The review analysed the CSIRO and Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)’s GenCost report against the Lazard Review and the Mineral Council of Australia (MCA)’s research into Small Modular Nuclear Reactors.

The report found that nuclear energy is up to six times more expensive than renewable energy and even on the most favourable reading for nuclear, and that renewables remained the cheapest form of new-build electricity.

Nuclear may be even higher cost than forecast as waste management and decommissioning of nuclear plants had been omitted in cost calculations.

The report also found:

  • The safe operation of nuclear power requires strong nuclear safety regulations and enforcement agencies, none of which exist in Australia
  • And the economic viability of nuclear energy will further diminish as more wind, solar and battery storage enters the grid.

“Put simply, nuclear plants are too heavy and too slow to compete with renewables and can’t survive on their own in Australian energy markets.”

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton, said households would need to pay a hefty price to subsidise nuclear reactors.

Thornton said: “Taxpayers also need to understand the costs that will be borne if they are forced to foot the bill for building a nuclear industry from scratch over a period of decades.

“Nuclear power is also a poor fit with our increasingly renewable power system.

“Nuclear power stations are expensive and have to run constantly in order to break even – but that doesn’t work in a world with an abundance of cheap renewables.”

The Egis report also found the MCA’s research on Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) did not anticipate the current long delay in SMR projects around the world.

Picture: ANSTO/Australia has only one nuclear reactor, ANSTO’s Opal reactor used in research and to produce radiopharmaceuticals

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