Nuclear costs slammed
An inquiry has heard taxpayers would bear the brunt of a potential nuclear energy industry in Australia.
The bipartisan parliamentary committee has heard from groups including Friends of the Earth Australia, Australian Conservation Foundation and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Australia.
The committee is seeking information on the potential economic benefits of more uranium mining.
The environmentalists said Australia's moratorium on nuclear energy should not be overturned, pointing to the huge health, environmental and financial risks.
Anti-nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, Jim Green, said the industry would have to be propped up with subsidies.
“Nuclear companies would descend on Canberra to try to gouge as much taxpayers' money as they could possibly get from the federal government,” he said.
Dr Green warned of submissions talking up emerging small modular reactors.
“There isn't even one prototype operating anywhere in the world,” he said.
He said the committee should also be sceptical about a company's financial estimates of building them.
“Add a zero onto the end and there's a good chance your estimate will be better.”
The inquiry has received a range of sometimes contradictory facts and figures from groups, industries and individuals.
Margaret Beavis from the Medical Association for Prevention of War spoke too, saying nuclear waste has to be stored for about 10,000 years.
“The Egyptian pharaohs were about 5,000 years ago,” Dr Beavis said.
One submission was made by a large group of other civil society bodies including unions, indigenous representatives, health and faith groups.
The submission, representing millions of Australians, calls for a renewable energy future, not a radioactive one.
“Australia can do better than fuel higher carbon emissions and unnecessary radioactive risk,” the joint submission says.
“We need to embrace the fastest growing global energy sector and become a driver of clean energy thinking and technology and a world leader in renewable energy technology.
“Renewable energy is affordable, low risk, clean and popular. Nuclear is simply not.”