Anthony Albanese lashes Peter Dutton’s ‘risky’ nuclear plan amid broader energy debate

Ellen RansleyNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: istock

Anthony Albanese has called on Peter Dutton to come clean about his nuclear plan, discrediting the idea as a “risky proposition”, amid a broader debate on Australia’s energy future.

The Opposition plans to build up to seven nuclear reactors across the country in places where coal and gas-fired stations already exist, but despite reports of where those locations might be, has remained tight lipped – promising voters the details will be released “in due course”.

The Coalition has also batted away suggestions it will cost up to $17bn and take up to two decades to build the first nuclear reactor, as outlined in a CSIRO report this week.

Mr Dutton doubled down on his plan to go nuclear on Friday, despite the report also stating the electricity produced by nuclear energy would cost twice as much as that of renewables.

“We’ve got to get serious about a new energy system as we decarbonise and modernise, and nuclear is a key part of that,” Mr Dutton told Channel 9.

Camera IconPrime Minister Anthony Albanese has called on Opposition Leader Peter Dutton to release his nuclear energy plan. NewsWire/ Glenn Campbell Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Albanese said Mr Dutton needed to tell Australians what his plan was, because it was a “risky proposition” that “didn’t stack up”.

“He told people he would tell them in March, and then it was going to be before the budget, then the budget reply, and now we’re still waiting, now it’s June,” Mr Albanese told 4BC.

“He needs to say where they’re going to be, who’s going to pay for them, and how much they’ll cost.”

Mr Albanese, who will mark his second anniversary as Prime Minister on Friday by delivering a speech spruiking the need for “much more clean energy” to get Australia to net zero emissions by 2050, said the goal of his government was to shore up energy security.

Labor on Thursday launched its national battery strategy, aimed at improving Australia’s manufacturing output and reducing reliance on China.

Camera IconMr Dutton says the energy policy will be released ‘in due course’. NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Dutton said he wanted to believe battery power could provide the baseload power needed for the country but “it just can’t”, and poked holes in the reliability of wind and solar power.

“So you need to firm it up. And we know at the moment, Labor governments in Victoria and NSW are extending the life of coal-fired power stations because they’re worried about the lights going out,” he said.

The NSW government made a deal to extend the life of the Eraring power station, drawing the ire of the Greens and the teals.

Education Minister Jason Clare, appearing on Sunrise, said it was a “common sense step” to extend its life.

“But we have got to make the step from the old coal-fired power stations to renewable energy, and you can extend the life of these … for two years,” he said.

“What you can’t do is extend them for 16 years, which is what you would need to do if you went down Peter Dutton’s half-baked yellow cake idea of nuclear power that would cost a bomb, that would take too long to replace one of these old coal-fired power stations, and frankly, is about as popular as a poo in a pool.”

Originally published as Anthony Albanese lashes Peter Dutton’s ‘risky’ nuclear plan amid broader energy debate

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