Australia Says Coal to Nuclear Switch Would Cost $249 Billion

image is BloomburgMedia_S15KJGT0AFB401_18-09-2023_09-00-14_638305920000000000.jpg

Cooling towers at EnergyAustralia Holdings Ltd.'s Yallourn Power Station in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. Elon Musk helped accelerate a transformation of Australia’s electricity grid to replace fossil fuels with clean power — now it's a testing ground for global climate action. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

Replacing Australia’s coal-fired power stations with small modular nuclear power reactors would cost A$387 billion ($249 billion), according to Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen.

The high cost makes such a transition, advocated by the country’s opposition, a “unicorn and a fantasy,” Bowen said on ABC Radio National Monday. 

Australia would need 71 small modular reactors to replace the 21 gigawatts of coal-fired power in the system, he said, discussing analysis from the Climate Change Department. “I can’t think of a worse fit for Australia than nuclear power,” Bowen said.

Backers of small modular reactors include Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, though there’s currently only a handful of operating plants and key developers have recently flagged cost challenges.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

By Ainslie Ch,ler


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