Have your say: Tell the federal inquiry that nuclear is a dangerous distraction
Right now, there is a federal inquiry into nuclear power in Australia and you can have your say before Monday 16 September.
We have a clear solution to the climate crisis: power our communities with clean, affordable energy from the sun and wind. Which is lucky, because we need climate action, fast.
But the declining, catastrophically risky nuclear industry is trying to keep itself profitable. Talk of nuclear power is an expensive, dangerous distraction from real climate action.
The 16 September deadline gives us just one week to take action! And if we don’t speak up, we’ll leave the stage wide open for a handful of out of touch politicians to risk our health and safety by rolling the dirty nuclear dice.
Here are eleven reasons why nuclear is a disastrous idea:
Toxic waste: Nuclear reactors generate radioactive waste that lasts for tens of thousands of years. Storing it is costly, complex, contested and unresolved both globally and in Australia. Radioactive waste pollutes our air, soil and water. It damages the genetic and reproductive systems of plants, animals and people.
Guzzles water: Nuclear power is a thirsty industry that consumes colossal volumes of water. Australia is a dry nation where water is vital and scarce.
It’s so slow: Nuclear reactors are slow to build and license. Globally they take ten years to construct. Australia’s lack of nuclear engineers, and a licensing, regulatory and insurance framework would only delay this further.
It’s ridiculously expensive: Nuclear power is a very expensive way to produce electricity. The UK’s Hinkley reactors will cost over $35 billion and is only possible by locking in high-cost power for people for decades. With banks unlikely to fund such risky ventures, nuclear power would rely on massive public subsidies.
Security risks: Nuclear power plants have been described as pre-deployed terrorist targets and pose a major security threat.
Incompatible with a modern energy grid: Nuclear reactors lack capacity to respond to changes in demand and usage, are slow to deploy and not suited to a modern energy grid or market.
An unproven pipe dream: For decades, nuke-spruikers have said some great new reactor is a decade away. So-called Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are not in commercial production or use and remain unproven and uncertain. This is no basis for a national energy policy.
Risk of catastrophic accidents: When nuclear power fails it does so on a massive scale. The human, environmental and economic consequences of nuclear accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima have been massive and continuing.
Unpopular: Australians don’t want nuclear power. The Climate of the Nation 2017 poll found that 70% of Australians preferred clean energy and only 9% want nuclear.
Disproportionate harm for Indigenous Australians: The nuclear industry has a history of harming Aboriginal communities, lands and waters. This began in the 1950’s with British atomic testing and continues today with uranium mining and planned nuclear waste dumps.
Better alternatives are here now: Australia has world record sunshine and wind. The CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator found renewable energy is the cheapest form of new generation electricity. Tasmania already runs off 93% clean energy. South Australia is powered by nearly 50% renewables.
Rather than fuel climate breakdown and radioactive risk through domestic coal-burning power stations and exporting coal and uranium, Australia can and must do better.
We need to embrace the fastest-growing global energy sector and become a driver of clean energy thinking and technology. This will not only make clean power, it will also re-power regional careers and our national economy.
Renewable energy is clean, safe, affordable, low risk and popular. Nuclear is dirty, dangerous and wildly expensive.
The time for choice is now and the choice is clear. Our shared energy future is renewable, not radioactive.