Nuclear power plant

Rejecting Coalition leader Peter Dutton's claim that nuclear energy would generate cheaper power bills, Australia's energy experts have reasoned that the solar and wind system under construction, which is supported by firming technology, is the cheapest option.

The experts pointed out there is no credible reason that backs the claim that the "most expensive form of bulk electricity" would reduce the power bills, The Guardian reported.

Dylan McConnell, an energy systems researcher at the University of New South Wales, said, "There was no credible reason to think that adding the most expensive bulk form of electricity would make electricity prices go down."

Australia has been debating fossil fuel versus nuclear power generation for a while now. Dutton has advocated shifting to nuclear energy if his government assumes office after the next elections. However, there has been widespread criticism against his nuclear power plan.

On Wednesday, Dutton named seven sites for building nuclear power plants, which he stated would be owned by the commonwealth. However, his nuclear power plan has several hurdles such as high cost, lifting state bans on nuclear energy, acquiring lands and meeting the stipulated deadline of completing the plants. He claimed to complete setting up two plants by 2035-2037, which most experts pointed out is not achievable.

McConnell said gas power is also not cheap when compared with solar and wind energy. "Gas is not cheap. It's a huge cost," he said. He said Australia should explore the option of generating nuclear power, but pointed to global examples like the U.S., Finland and the U.K., where building nuclear plants has been costly and power has been expensive by Australian standards, ABC News reported.

Grattan Institute's energy and climate change program director, Tony Wood, refuted the claim that power was expensive due to renewable energy policies. He added that the Coalition was yet to substantiate their claim nuclear power is cheaper.

"There's nothing in what we've seen so far that would substantiate the claims that it's going to be a certain price at a certain time," he said.

McConnell countered opposition's energy spokesman Ted O'Brien's argument that Ontario in Canada has been supplying cheap electricity. He stated that the wholesale cost of AU$110 a megawatt hour in Ontario was similar or higher than many areas in Australia. The reason for cheaper power could be due to low poles and wires, he said, and added that nuclear plant in Ontario has been operating for long enough to pay off most of their debts.