Scott Morrison must repudiate the growing push from his unruly backbench for the use of nuclear energy to end uncertainty for over 100 Australian communities that have been identified as possible locations for nuclear reactors and nuclear dumps.
Over the past 50 years, there have been at least 95 proposals for nuclear power stations in Australia and 42 proposals for nuclear waste dumps.
Almost all of the proposed nuclear reactor sites are near residential communities.
Some sites like Townsville have been proposed twice.
Even the head of John Howard’s previous inquiry into nuclear energy, Ziggy Switkowski, has conceded that “the possibility of catastrophic failure within the nuclear system is non-negligible.”
But at least a dozen Coalition MPs are continuing to push for the technology – even though power from a nuclear power station would be around three times as expensive compared to renewable energy.
Instead of indulging the policy fantasies of his restive backbench, Mr Morrison should reject the nuclear option or be upfront with Australians about exactly where he wants to build nuclear reactors.
The Coalition’s flirtation with nuclear energy underscores its inability to agree on a coherent energy policy despite having been in office for six years.
Mr Morrison should forget nuclear energy and focus instead on practical ways of dealing with his government’s energy crisis.
An energy crisis that has seen wholesale power prices rise by 158 per cent, increased reliability risks, growing emissions, a gas price and supply crisis, and a chorus of business leaders and experts lament the state of Australia’s energy system.