TED O’BRIEN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY
MEMBER FOR FAIRFAX
9 December 2022
Australians recognise nuclear as a cheap, clean and reliable source of energy but there are concerns about safety, waste and build times.
This was the feedback from a national survey taken last month as part of a grassroots engagement program called Time to Talk Nuclear launched by Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Ted O’Brien.
The survey received thousands of submissions from people of all ages from every State and Territory in Australia.
Charged by the Leader of the Coalition Peter Dutton to lead the Coalition’s investigation into nuclear energy, Mr O’Brien says he is energised by the level of engagement with the survey.
“Australians told us that they see nuclear as a cheap, clean and reliable source of energy but they’re also concerned about safety, waste and potential build times,” Mr O’Brien said.
“People also raised lots of questions ranging from types of reactors, possible sites and the speed at which Australia could adopt nuclear energy.
While the cost of nuclear was seen as a positive rather than a negative at a rate of over ten to one, the survey made clear that Australians still have questions about how the cost of nuclear technology compares to other sources of energy.
“It doesn’t surprise me that costs are front of mind,” Mr O’Brien said. “The last six months have been a wakeup call for Australians who were promised lower electricity prices by an Albanese Government that was found flat-footed as bills skyrocketed.
“With the world amidst an energy crisis, thirty-three nations have already turned to nuclear energy and fifty more are looking at introducing if for the first time.
“They’ve all done their numbers and found that nuclear energy stacks up.”
Now that the Australian people have spoken, Time to Talk Nuclear moves into the next phase which involves an examination of the key issues raised in the survey.
Mr O’Brien says the Coalition is putting everyday Australians at the centre of its national conversation on the prospect of introducing advanced nuclear reactors.
“We need a mature and honest conversation about both the pros and cons of nuclear energy and we also need to get to the bottom of outstanding questions.”