Nat Barr has questioned why Anthony Albanese’s government is stubbornly refusing to adopt nuclear power, saying Australia is now an ‘outlier’.
It comes as French president Emmanuel Macron calls for Australia to lift the ban on nuclear energy.
‘I hope that you (Australia) will manage to lift the ban,’ Mr Macron told Nuclear for Australia founder Will Shackel at the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference in the UAE.
‘I mean, nuclear energy is a source that is a necessary to succeed for carbon neutrality in 2050,’ Mr Macron said.
France, the UK, and the US are among 22 countries that have committed to triple nuclear energy capacity by 2030.
Barr asked Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek why her government was against nuclear energy if world powers were taking it on.
‘Because it’s slow to build and it’s expensive,’ Ms Plibersek said.
‘But we’re an outlier though by the sounds of it,’ Barr interjected.
‘We’ve got endless amounts of cheap solar and wind in Australia and that’s what we’re getting on with building,’ the minister continued.
‘We’ve got an 82 per cent renewable energy target because it will bring down power prices and it will do it in a way that doesn’t damage our environment.’
‘Tanya, it’s slow though. We’re not going to do this overnight we all know that so should we take on more options like big countries like the UK, America and France are doing around the world?’ Barr hit back.
Nat Barr has questioned why Anthony Albanese ‘s government is stubbornly refusing to adopt nuclear power, saying Australia is now an ‘outlier’ (pictured, a nuclear power plant)
Ms Plibersek said nuclear was much slower to build and ‘fantastically expensive’.
Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce challenged Ms Plibersek to lift the prohibitions on nuclear energy on a state and federal level and ‘let the market decide’.
‘If it’s fantastically dear, no one will bother building it,’ he said.
‘You’ve got this prohibitions in, yet what we’ve got is France, England, the United States and Sweden all saying you gotta go nuclear.’
Barr asked Barnaby why he didn’t put the plans for nuclear energy in action when he was Deputy Prime Minister and in power for over 10 years.
‘Because at that point in time we had coal-fire power stations all across the nation and they were producing cheap power,’ he replied.
However, Ms Plibersek reminded viewers that nine power stations closed under the Opposition who had ‘no plan to replace them’.
‘That’s the problem. No plan for the future,’ she said.
Australia was one of more than 100 countries to back declarations that will strengthen climate action in farming and healthcare at the Cop28 climate summit being held in Dubai from November 30 to December 14.
However, it refused to sign a commitment to triple nuclear energy by 2050 despite backing from world powers like France, the US, Canada and the UK.
The Sunrise host (centre) asked Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek (left) why her government was against nuclear energy if world powers were taking it on
The fiery clash comes after millionaire businessman Dick Smith says it will be impossible for Australia to run completely on renewable energy and urged Anthony Albanese’s government to invest in nuclear power.
His comments came after Energy Minister Chris Bowen said the idea of Australia going nuclear in order to fulfil Labor’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 was a ‘fantasy wrapped in a delusion, accompanied by a pipe dream’.
Mr Boween told the ABC’s Insiders program last Sunday that the government will focus on renewable energy projects such as wind, solar, battery and hydro.
However, Mr Smith argued ‘there’s no way we’re going to be able to get our carbon emissions down without going nuclear’.
‘The Liberals are supporting it, but the Labor party is against it,’ he told Radio 2GB.
‘The worst thing they believe is the country can be completely run on renewables.’
Self-made millionaire Dick Smith has urged Anthony Albanese’s government to consider nuclear energy as it pushes towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050
Mr Smith described himself as a renewables expert, revealing that he owns electric cars which he powers with the solar energy on his roof.
But, he added: ‘I can tell you, in a huge country like Australia, it would be impossible to completely run on renewables.’
The businessman noted that France derives 70 per cent of its energy from nuclear power – first switching its energy system to the power in the 1950s.
‘We should replace our coal power plants with nuclear and get on with it,’ he said.
The idea of Australia going nuclear has long faced community opposition following the disasters in Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima – despite the country’s large deposits of uranium which is the critical fuel.
However, a Resolve poll released at the weekend found that fewer than one in five Australians are opposed to ending the country’s moratorium on nuclear energy.
Labor is aiming for the country to hit 82 per cent renewables by 2030 – up from about a third at present – to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 (pictured, Anthony Albanese)
Some 49 per cent of Australians were in favour of revisiting the nuclear moratorium, while just 18 per cent were opposed and 33 per cent were unsure.
Labor is aiming for the country to hit 82 per cent renewables by 2030 – up from about a third at present – to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The government will introduce an expansion of a taxpayer-funded investment scheme for clean energy projects, including wind, solar, battery and hydro.
The scheme guarantees companies will receive revenue when committing to renewable energy projects but also allows taxpayers benefits when prices soar.
States can continue to invest in new gas generation under their own capacity plans, but not under the federal scheme.