Smelter chief wants nuclear option
The boss of NSW’s largest electricity user says Australian politicians should be “brave” and consider nuclear energy.
Tomago Aluminium chief executive, Matt Howell, says he welcomes the Finkel Review’s recommendations for energy security requirements, but that it ignores one big option.
“The clear point is that we have an intermittence problem, and anyone relying on a constant energy supply cannot rely on renewables at this point unless they are backed by a conventional supply, be it gas or coal,” Mr Howell told reporters.
Mr Howell said the government should consider investment in nuclear energy.
“We hear so much about countries turning away from coal, and that’s true, but to overwhelmingly that’s because they’re able to rely on nuclear energy,” he said.
“If Australia isn’t prepared to go down that path it absolutely still needs conventional energy in the market.”
But Shortland MP Pat Conroy says nuclear is too expensive.
“One, it would take 15 years to build up a nuclear industry and secondly, the levelised cost of energy for nuclear is well above the cost of renewables,” he said.
“Leaving aside the environmental implications, if you want to get cheap energy in this country that’s reliable, you need to invest in renewables.”
Port Stephens MP Kate Washington accused the Nationals of wanting “to discuss any energy alternative except renewables”.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has previously called for a debate about introducing nuclear energy to the state’s energy mix.