Media Release

23 April 2018

NSW Labor says John Barilaro’s plans for nuclear energy could put plans for the expanded pumped hydro facility in Snowy 2.0 at risk and cause even higher electricity bills than the community suffers today.

Recently the Member for Monaro declared that nuclear power is inevitable. Yesterday it was reported in the Canberra Times that the Deputy Premier has not ruled out having nuclear reactors in his home electorate.

Last week in a speech Mr Barilaro, who was acting Premier, restated his position that nuclear reactors should be part of the state’s energy future, despite nuclear produced electricity being the most expensive electricity that is produced in the world.

A pro-nuclear power group, Nuclear for Climate Australia, has identified 12 regions of NSW as possible sites for nuclear reactors including in the Snowy Mountains. This would put the proposed Snowy Hydro 2.0 at risk.

However, under John Barilaro’s approach, a nuclear reactor could be established anywhere across the Monaro.

Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Energy Adam Searle says Mr Barilaro must come clean and tell the communities of the Monaro where he is planning to put a reactor.

Quotes attributable to Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Energy Adam Searle:

“Mr Barilaro says we should have nuclear reactors operating in New South Wales and has refused to rule out the Monaro as a possible location.

“He must be upfront with the public here in the Monaro on where he thinks the nuclear reactors should be.

“If it’s going to be near the Snowy Mountains, as one pro-nuclear power group has said, then he needs to be clear and tell the community. Such a move would jeopardise the development of the proposed Snowy Hydro 2.0 and the community has the right to know if this is John Barilaro’s plan.

“Even the most recent generation nuclear generators produce the most expensive electricity, to say nothing of the security implications of nuclear power.

“The challenge for government is to deliver affordable, reliable and sustainable energy – and his nuclear plan fails the triple bottom line test.

“Solar and wind is the most affordable new-build electricity. If we underpin this with storage technologies such as pumped hydro and, where appropriate, batteries, that is the path to a cheaper, less polluting power system.

“Not only is nuclear the most expensive electricity that can be produced, but even the small modular reactors John Barilaro talks of – which are not yet commercially available and are not in operation – are likely to produce electricity that is 30 per cent more expensive than regular nuclear power, according to a British Government report published in December last year.

“Mr Barilaro either has a real plan for nuclear power – which he should share with the community – or he is just wasting everyone’s time – time that should be better spent actually addressing the energy challenge we face now.”

Quotes attributable to Country Labor candidate for Monaro Bryce Wilson:

“Our future in this area is as a renewables hub, of renewables research, energy production and manufacture.

“My position on nuclear energy is pretty clear and simple – it’s seriously too expensive, too problematic and not the right choice for the future of our region.

“If our local MP wants a debate lets have it, but let’s get some details and hard facts. He should stop talking in the vague generalities found in the sales brochures from the conference he went to in the US.

“John can’t stand there and say he wants to provide relief to household energy bills and provide energy security without giving us any figures or any locations while he proposes electricity that is even more expensive than what households and businesses are already struggling to pay today.

“Yesterday it is reported that John won’t rule anything out for our area – whether it is Queanbeyan, Googong, Jerrabomberra, Bungendore, Braidwood, Cooma, Bredbo, the Snowies, Jindabyne, Nimmitabel, or Bombala.

“If Mr Barilaro can’t provide the detail on his plan for a nuclear future for the Monaro then he best stop getting hopelessly distracted and focus back in this local community.

“I do not endorse bringing nuclear reactors to any part of the region.”