Media Headlines

follow the links below for some of the recent headlines on the nuclear power debate in Australia…

August 2020

REN21: Renewables Global Status Report. REN21 is a global network from science, academia, governments, NGOs and industry. They have released their annual Renewables Global Status Report.1 The report finds that renewable energy grew three times faster than fossil fuels and nuclear over a five-year period.

July 2020

Mining lobby pushes young people to embrace nuclear power. The mining industry has been wrestling for years with how to change one of the most entrenched rules in energy policy: a moratorium on nuclear power.

Environmental laws review report released. The long awaited Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act review report has been released today. The report does not recommend the removal of prohibitions to nuclear power. The report does however support the further devolution of powers to assess uranium mines while maintaining some federal powers to intervene. Environment Groups have urged caution over the new approach to regulating uranium mines – a system which could further weaken regulations. Groups have called for an independent inquiry into the costs and benefits of uranium mining.

Push to fast-track uranium mines no answer to climate crisis. The uranium mining industry are advocating to weaken Australia’s environmental approval process. But the push to soften environmental approvals is no answer to the climate crisis.Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering at RMIT, Dr Gavin Mudd – argues why we must stop the push to fast-track uranium mines. See below for an Interview with Dr Gavin Mudd.

Renewable energy transition makes dollars and sense. An article published by the UNSW debunks claims that renewable energy will harm the economy. The article says “A/Prof Diesendorf said their findings were controversial in light of some fossil fuel and nuclear power supporters, as well as some economists, rejecting a transition to large-scale electricity renewables.

June 2020

Let’s end Australia’s climate and energy warfare, Albanese tells Morrison. Anthony Albanese has dumped Labor’s former backing of Malcolm Turnbull’s national energy guarantee and opened the door for taxpayer support for carbon capture and storage technologies, in a major overture to Scott Morrison to reach bipartisan agreement on energy policy.

Nuclear in mix for miners on emissions. Small nuclear reactors and more gas-fired power generation must be part of the blueprint to lower emissions, the nation’s miners say.

May 2020

Nuclear power, coal and Narrabri Gas Project to help power industry: Joyce. Nuclear and coal-fired power along with the Narrabri gas project could all be options to power the future of manufacturing in Tamworth.

New nuclear technologies to be examined in planning Australia’s energy mix. The Morrison government has flagged examining “emerging nuclear technologies” as part of Australia’s energy mix in the future in a new discussion paper kicking off the process of developing its much-vaunted technology investment roadmap.

Nuclear is getting hammered by green power and the pandemic. The nuclear industry has been vying for a role as the perfect partner to the surging, but intermittent, renewables sector for years, citing its role as a stable source of emissions-free power. Nations around the world have set tough targets to reduce greenhouse gases with the help of clean energy to meet commitments set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

April 2020

Could nuclear reactors called SMRs be a possible energy source for Queensland? As the use of wind and solar grows, the highly politically charged debate on nuclear could be its undoing. “While I think the technical and most of the economic challenges of SMRs could be solved, I think that solar and wind with storage looks more attractive,” Mr Wood said.

The Promise And Peril Of Nuclear Power. Temperatures are rising, the Antarctic is melting, and a million animal and plant species face the risk of extinction, all driven by the climate crisis. To save us from the coming climate catastrophe, we need an energy hero, boasting limitless power and no greenhouse gas emissions (or nearly none). “We have a shortage of time and we have a shortage of money, and nuclear energy is bad for both,” Arjun Makhijani, the head of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research …

March 2020

US urges Australia to consider nuclear. A top Trump administration ­official has urged Australia to join the US in researching and building small “modular” nuclear reactors to slash carbon dioxide emissions, arguing solar and wind can’t provide enough reliable power.

A nuclear power station is inappropriate for the Central Coast (opinion) Just a few points as to why a nuclear power station is inappropriate for the Central Coast. Nuclear power stations can’t be built under existing law in any Australian state or territory.

Barilaro retreats on Nationals support for One Nation nuclear bill. Deputy Premier John Barilaro has walked back his party’s support for a One Nation bill to allow nuclear power in NSW, as the issue threatened to split the Coalition. Mr Barilaro, a long-time advocate of nuclear energy, alarmed some Coalition MPs when he declared two weeks ago that the National Party would support Mark Latham’s bill to overturn a ban on uranium mining.

Fukushima nine years on: Warnings for Australia. The anniversary of the Australian uranium-fuelled Fukushima nuclear disaster is no time to open the door to an expanded nuclear industry in Australia, writes Dave Sweeney.

Premier must stand up to Barilaro on nuclear power Deputy Premier John Barilaro has issued another ultimatum to the NSW government, this time over his obsession with starting a nuclear industry, but it is high time Premier Gladys Berejiklian called his bluff. Mr Barilaro is demanding that cabinet endorse a report by an upper house parliamentary committee backed by One Nation which recommends lifting the ban on uranium mining and nuclear power generation that has been in place since 1986. If cabinet refuses, he is threatening that he and perhaps the whole National Party will go their own way and vote in favour of a bill to that effect. The Herald reported on Monday that some cabinet ministers who oppose nuclear power are threatening to respond by quitting if Ms Berejiklian caves in.

Supporters of nuclear need a reality check: it’s staggeringly expensive (opinion) The NSW Parliament’s State Development Committee released its report into nuclear power last week. Conservative committee members recommended repeal of state laws banning uranium mining and nuclear power, while Labor members want to retain the legal bans. What the conservatives and other supports of nuclear power ignore is that it has priced itself out of the energy debate. Its costs are staggering and the worldwide pattern for the industry is one of stagnation and decline. In the US, the cost of the only two reactors under construction has skyrocketed to between $20.4 billion and $22.6 billion for one reactor. In 2006, Westinghouse said it could build a reactor for 10 times less than that amount.

Barilaro’s nuclear push bitterly dividing Coalition. Deputy Premier John Barilaro’s support for a One Nation bill to allow nuclear power in NSW is bitterly dividing the Coalition, with a senior Liberal minister prepared to quit cabinet over the issue. I n the latest split over environment policy in the Berejiklian government, several Liberal ministers say they will refuse to support Mark Latham’s private members’ bill when it comes before cabinet.

Barilaro says Nationals will support Latham’s nuclear power bill. Deputy Premier John Barilaro says the NSW Nationals will support Mark Latham’s bill to allow nuclear power in NSW, in a move likely to cause a split in the junior Coalition party.

Conservative push for nuclear power will drive a wedge into the Coalition. The NSW Parliament’s State Development Committee has released its report into nuclear power. In a rare show of unity, conservative committee members held together, with Liberals, Nationals, Shooters Fishers and Farmers, and Paulina Hanson’s One Nation all recommending repeal of state laws banning uranium mining and nuclear power. But that unity is unlikely to last. Comments by Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Energy Minister Matt Kean suggest they oppose the push to repeal legislation banning nuclear power.

February 2020 

Legislation banning nuclear power in Australia should be retained (opinion) Nuclear power in Australia is prohibited under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999. A review of the EPBC Act is underway and there is a strong push from the nuclear industry to remove the bans. However, federal and state laws banning nuclear power have served Australia well and should be retained.

Anthony Albanese urged to rethink nuclear option Nuclear energy options will be canvassed in the Morrison government’s technology investment plan, amplifying pressure from senior ALP figures and unions for Anthony Albanese to reconsider his opposition to nuclear in support of Labor’s zero net emissions target.

There is still no place for nuclear energy in Australia OPINION: Josh Wilson MP. I find it astonishing that while our communities and ecosystems alike suffer through Australia’s first national climate change disaster there are politicians who seek to distract from the key challenges before us by jumping on the old nuclear hobbyhorse.

Solar thermal power the way forward for Australia despite hiccups, nuclear expert says As the world looks to Germany as a shining example of how to shift away from polluting coal power, a Queensland-based nuclear expert says solar thermal power is the way forward for Australia… Dr Wilson described nuclear power as simply “too risky”.

The dangers of nuclear power in Australia Long-time anti-nuclear campaigner and writer Dr Helen Caldicott believes the risks of nuclear power outweigh the benefits.AS AUSTRALIA grapples with the notion of introducing nuclear power as an energy source, it is imperative that people understand the intricacies of these new technologies including small modular reactors (SMR) and thorium reactors.

Labor bipartisanship on nuclear energy needed: AWU The Australian Workers’ Union (a conservative union) has stepped up its call for Australia to embrace nuclear power by urging Labor’s leader to provide the bipartisanship needed.

Nuclear power went backwards in 2019, and the outlook is bleak Nuclear power went backwards last year with the permanent shutdown of nine power reactors and the startup (grid connection) of six. Startups were concentrated in Russia (three) and China (two), with one in South Korea. The shutdowns were spread across eight countries.

Coalition compares wind and solar to “dole bludgers”, pushes for coal, nuclear The wind and solar industries are bracing for another verbal assault and an extended period of policy indifference from the federal government, after a senior Coalition MP likened renewable energy to “dole bludgers’, the government funnelled $4 million into a study for a new coal fired power station in Queensland, and so-called government “moderates” declared their support for nuclear.

Support for nuclear energy heating up across government Liberal and Nationals MPs are urging the Morrison government to tackle the politically thorny issue of nuclear energy.

Keep an open mind about nuclear power for our carbon-neutral future Liberal MP Katie Allen make a push for small modular reactors (*unproven and uncommercial)

Pro-coal, pro-nuclear, anti-renewables MP is Australia’s new resources minister Business as usual for Morrison government as pro-coal, pro-nuclear, anti-climate action and anti-renewables advocate becomes new resources minister.

New CSIRO, AEMO study confirms wind, solar and storage beat coal, gas and nuclear An updated study on current and future generation costs by the CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator confirms that wind, solar and storage technologies are by far the cheapest form of low carbon options for Australia, and are likely to dominate the global energy mix in coming decades.

New nuclear debate driven by spill fallout A Queensland MP who has rocketed into a Cabinet position has already caused a stir, with his views on nuclear power set to put the controversial topic back on the agenda.

Nuclear, Paris and a return to cabinet: Who is Keith Pitt? Queensland Nationals MP Keith Pitt, one of the government’s most outspoken advocates for nuclear power who previously quit the frontbench over his opposition to the Paris Agreement, has been catapulted from the backbench into cabinet as Resources Minister.

EIA expects renewables to overtake nuclear, coal and gas in US grid Key US government body says renewables could contribute half of the world’s biggest grid as wind, solar and storage costs fall.

January 2020

Should Australia reconsider nuclear power? One US expert says yes (RN Breakfast)

December 2019

Nuclear cost and water consumption – The elephants in the control room Peter Farley, a member of the Australian Institution of Engineers, compares the economics of nuclear power and renewables and concludes that for one third of the investment, in one third of the time, we can get renewable power and backup for one third of the cost of nuclear power.

Albanese attacks Coalition’s nuclear ‘fantasy’ as Greens say report should ‘alarm all Australians’Government-dominated committee calls for partial lifting of nuclear ban and for greater work on nuclear technology

Prudent nuclear ban should remain: ACF Australia’s bipartisan, long standing and prudent prohibition on nuclear energy should remain in force as it stands.

Taylor rejects call for partial lift of nuclear power ban Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor has poured cold water on calls to partially lift Australia’s moratorium on nuclear power to allow investigation of emerging technologies.

Coalition pushes for nuclear ban to be lifted, Labor says it’s madness Federal Coalition MPs have called on the Morrison government to lift the ban on nuclear energy and pave the way for “emerging” nuclear technologies to be introduced into Australia’s energy mix, despite their enormous expense, huge environmental risks, and as-yet unproven technical status.

November 2019

Australia is the great ‘white’ hope for the global nuclear industry The global nuclear industry is in crisis but that doesn’t stop the pro-nuclear lobby from peddling exorbitantly expensive nuclear as a “green alternative”. 

ANSTO’s reply on nuclear crash report – that reply debunked ANSTO Claim: “The accident in the 1980s did not involve material or vehicles associated with ANSTO’s predecessor, the Australian Atomic Energy Commission (AAEC), nor did it originate from Lucas Heights”.

Switkowski preaches for nuclear energy invoking Bill Gates, Elon Musk The former Telstra CEO said Australia was a nation of great technologists and great engineers that should give nuclear power a shot.

Nuclear for Newcastle? But the Hunter’s renewable energy programme is underway The Hunter has renewable energy plans, but the nuclear question remains. 

October 2019

Nuclear Promises, by Tilman Ruff Back on the political agenda in Australia, but for what benefit?  In 2006 the Howard government commissioned nuclear enthusiast and former chair of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Ziggy Switkowski to undertake a review of nuclear power for Australia. On 1 June 2010 Switkowski made an extraordinary statement about matters nuclear on the ABC’s World Today:

Queensland conservatives a voice of reason in nuclear debate. Seriously! The Queensland state Liberal National Party (QLNP) has dropped a bombshell into the ongoing federal inquiry into nuclear power. Its submission to the inquiry goes against prominent members of its federal counterpart, and argues for the retention of federal legislation banning nuclear power, saying more emphasis should be placed on the deployment of renewables and energy efficiency programs.

Queensland LNP breaks with federal branch to oppose nuclear power Queensland LNP says it supports a greater focus on energy efficiency measures. One of the biggest detractors of the federal Queensland Liberal National party’s push to investigate nuclear energy as a potential power source for Australia has come from within its own house.

Barnaby Joyce finds a new cause in nuclear power Australia’s best-known backbencher is hitching a ride to the nuclear debate and creating awkward moments.

Nationals MP lashes renewable energy as ‘hoax’ and ‘fraud’ but says nuclear will help solve energy crisis  Nationals senator Sam McMahon has lashed renewable energy as a “fraud” and a “hoax” as she made the case for oil, gas and nuclear energy.

Nuclear energy: Nationals MPs welcome AWU support for domestic industry Union to tell parliamentary committee it’s ‘ludicrous’ to export uranium but not benefit from the energy source at home

Nuclear inquiry hears cost, health risks Taxpayers would be bear the brunt of a potential nuclear energy industry in Australia, a parliamentary committee has been told. Environment groups began the inquiry on Tuesday in Melbourne, a day after the committee was told the potential economic benefits of more uranium mining. The various witnesses implored the bipartisan committee not to overturn Australia’s moratorium on nuclear energy, pointing to the huge health, environmental and financial risks.

NSW Deputy Premier calls for nuclear vote within three years NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro is calling for a federal plebiscite on nuclear power at the 2022 election.

September 2019

Nuclear is too expensive, and takes too long to build As fossil fuels come under increasing pressure, the conversation on whether to install nuclear energy is heating up in Australia, with the New South Wales government on Monday calling for a vote within three years..

Big claims and corporate spin about small nuclear reactor costs Jim Green, 19 September 2019, RenewEconomy. The ‘inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia’ being run by Federal Parliament’s Environment and Energy Committee has finished receiving submissions and is gradually making them publicly available.

Broad coalition opposes nuclear power More than 40 groups representing millions of Australians have come together to issue a clear message to the federal government that the nation’s energy future is renewable, “not radioactive”.

Nuclear industry must address community concerns Recently promoted as a “green power” alternative, the nuclear option, like so-called clean coal, is a dud and fundamental social concerns about its use remain unaddressed.

Communities unite to halt government nuclear push More than 50 community groups have warned the federal government that nuclear energy has no role to play in Australia’s energy future as public submissions to a federal inquiry into nuclear power close. 

Helen Caldicott: Small modular reactors — same nuclear disasters  The Morrison Government has opened the door to the notion of nuclear power as peddled by the nuclear sociopaths. 

Labor demands nuclear be wiped off options Ever enjoyed a holiday to Noosa, Sussex Inlet or French Island? How would you feel if there was a nuclear power station in your idyllic vacation spot?

Is building small nuclear reactors as ‘loopy’ as it sounds? Experts have warned of “catastrophic failure” if Australia adopts nuclear power, so why is the Government considering it?

New Lib senator joins nuclear power push New Liberal senator Alex Antic has joined the push for nuclear power through capitalising on South Australia’s uranium industry.

August 2019

Risk of ‘catastrophic failure’ if Australia adopts nuclear energy: Switkowski There is a risk of “catastrophic failure” if Australia adopts nuclear energy, a federal parliamentary inquiry has heard. Ziggy Switkowski, who led a Howard government review into the power source, drew attention to the nuclear disasters of Chernobyl in Ukraine, Fukushima in Japan and Three Mile Island in the US.

Nuclear power in Australia not realistic for at least a decade, Ziggy Switkowski says It will be about a decade before it is clear whether small nuclear reactors are suitable for Australia and would take about 15 years to bring a plant online if a decision was made to build one, one of the country’s leading experts has said. But Ziggy Switkowski, who headed a 2006 review of nuclear power for the Howard government, said the technology had no chance of being introduced unless Australia had a coherent energy policy.

Nuclear inquiry told “firmed renewables” cheapest and best option for future A mix of distributed renewable energy generation and firming technologies including battery storage and pumped hydro remains the best path forward for Australia’s future grid, experts have told the federal government’s inquiry into nuclear power.

Why not nuclear energy? We are running out of energy so why not consider the nuclear option? Whether it is an act of war, the result of a natural disaster, a side-effect of testing or a total accident, nuclear energy and waste have resulted in too many catastrophes. Now it is being considered in parliament as an alternative solution to dwindling energy. Is it possible to forget the past in order to embrace the future?

Nuclear power is inappropriate for Australia’ Former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery, the country’s foremost climate scientist, received rapturous applause as he addressed a council meeting to warn against nuclear power as a ‘climate emergency’ was declared for the region. 

Nuclear winter would threaten nearly everyone on Earth Second study of its kind confirms extreme impacts from US vs. Russia nuclear war

Small modular reactors and the nuclear culture wars As another Australian journalist wades into the nuclear culture wars – this time spruiking small modular reactors – it’s a good time for a fact-check on this fabled technology.

Is the push for nuclear power a covert push for nuclear weapons? Recent push for nuclear power in Australia has been promoted by the usual public advocates and amplified by the Murdoch press. The arguments are predictable both in their optimism and inaccuracy: nuclear power reactors are claimed to be safe and cheaper than electricity generation from wind and sun; new generation mini-reactors are claimed to be even cheaper and safer and can be adapted to power a factory or a town.

 What price nuclear power?  All the evidence suggests that this isn’t serious exercise. Rather it’s something intended to appease the National Party or troll the Greens, depending on where you are coming from.

July 2019

Let’s face it: nuclear power is hideously dear and far from idealThe government should be backing renewables, not tying itself to an expensive nuclear future

Taylor grilled by Labor on emissions, says no to Barnaby’s “free” nuclear fantasy Taylor receives repeated warnings to provide answers as the minister for reducing emissions attempts to avoid conceding he is failing his own job title.

The nuclear option New paper undermine the claim that nuclear power is more about culture wars than electricity generation.

Unions revolt over Industry Super’s nuclear backing The Electrical Trades Union has called on industry funds to condemn a paper by their peak body that says nuclear power must be considered for energy investment.

Nuclear power economic’s crisis. Even the Australian Nuclear Association acknowledges that nuclear power reactors could not be built without taxpayer subsidies. 

Minister Sussan Ley could open the door to overturning Australia’s nuclear power ban There are some very good reasons why the push to reverse Australia’s ban on nuclear power is a bad idea.

Industry super urges Australia to consider the nuclear power option Nuclear reactors should be considered as a realistic option to confront Australia’s deepening energy crisis, according to a study from industry superannuation’s chief lobby group.

Nuclear power is helping to drive the climate crisis Linda Rogers says the CBI has its head in the sand over nuclear reactors and Iain Climie wants politicians prepared to fund action to combat the climate emergency

Fukushima, the ‘nuclear renaissance’ and the Morrison Governmentby Helen Caldicott. Despite the death of the “nuclear renaissance” following Fukushima, the nuclear corporations and ill-informed Morrison Government will not accept defeat.

What’s more chilling: watching Chernobyl or cogitating the cost of going nuclear?The sudden push by the Murdoch media and Coalition right-wingers to overturn Australia’s nuclear power ban ignores the chilling economic cost —  huge public subsidies, storing radioactive waste for thousands of years, the heavy costs of decommissioning and, potentially, radiation-related health costs.

Super industry gets behind nuclear power Australia’s union-backed superannuation industry has made the case for nuclear energy and ­demolished repeated claims wind and solar are the cheapest long-term option for reliable power.

Nuclear Debate on ABC Media Watch. A pro-nuclear power push from conservative media voices plays down the cost, while Andrew Bolt criticises the Chernobyl mini-series.

What a waste: Minister’s question for nuclear inquiry RESOURCES Minister Matt Canavan has shied away from backing an inquiry into nuclear power in Australia, as he warns a permanent home would need to be found for high-level waste first.

Australians urged to adopt nuclear power The Australian Nuclear Association (ANA) has appealed to Australians to understand that nuclear energy is ready to make a valuable contribution to low emission dispatchable generation for Australia.

Australians’ support for nuclear plants rising – but most don’t want to live near oneEssential poll finds 44% of Australians support nuclear power plants and 40% oppose them

Robert Parker on nuclear energy in Australia As the nuclear debate reignites in Australia and the viability of a national nuclear power industry is back on the agenda, Australians are starting to raise questions about what a nuclear future could look like.

The reason Australia doesn’t have nuclear power: the workers fought backWorkers have been fighting uranium mining for decades – the environment needs mass civil disobedience. 

June 2019

Angus Taylor won’t rule out reversing nuclear energy ban if business case stacks up Energy minister dodges questions about how Australia will meet its Paris emission reduction targets

The argument for nuclear power in Australia It is time for Australia to “seriously discuss” the benefits of developing a nuclear power industry, according to the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM).

Queensland Coalition MPs push for inquiry to lift Australia’s nuclear power ban Keith Pitt and James McGrath behind move, saying ‘we have to be able to investigate all options’. 

Albanese keeps Butler in climate and energy portfolio, as LNP renews call for nuclear New Labor leader Anthony Albanese has re-appointed Mark Butler as opposition spokesman on climate change and energy, ensuring that there is continuity in people, if not in policy mechanisms, in the next parliament.