Peter Dutton under fire for delays on nuclear energy policy

Eleanor CampbellNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Peter Dutton has been accused of having a “nuclear meltdown” after he refused to detail when his long-awaited energy policy would be released.

After it was widely reported that the Coalition would reveal the full details of its nuclear plans before the May budget, the Opposition leader on Sunday said he would hold off on announcing the costs and locations of his proposed nuclear power stations.

He said the decision to delay the announcement was partly driven by two recent stabbing incidents in Sydney.

However, Mr Dutton maintained he was committed to nuclear power and claimed it would lower energy costs for businesses.

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“We will make the announcement as soon as we believe it’s firstly ready to go, and secondly (when it’s) the most opportune time for people to hear that,” he told ABC’s Insiders on Sunday.

“Obviously, the events of last week, for example, meant that part of our program couldn’t be rolled out. That’s not unreasonable, as you would expect.”

Camera IconEnergy Minister Chris Bowen accused Mr Dutton of lying on Sunday. Martin Ollman/NCA NewsWire. Credit: News Corp Australia

In response, Energy Minister Chris Bowen demanded the Opposition leader disclose cost estimates for replacing coal-fired power stations with nuclear power and accused Mr Dutton of having a “nuclear meltdown” on television.

“In recent weeks there have been 16 separate articles informed by the Liberal Party saying that these plans would be announced before the budget,” Mr Bowen told reporters.

“Peter Dutton has said over the last month that the plans would be released in coming weeks.

“Today, he confirmed in fact that they would be just before the next election.”

He also blasted the Liberal leader for claiming that Australia was the only G20 country not to have a nuclear power industry.

“It’s a lie and he was called out on that lie today and when he was called out on that lie he looked like a kangaroo in headlights,” Mr Bowen said.

Germany joined Italy as one of two G20 countries to have completely phased out nuclear power when it closed its last three reactors in 2023.

p83///Cyclist riding past cooling towers of nuclear power station in Beijing, China 04 Aug 2004.
Camera IconThe Coalition’s push for nuclear energy has met with fierce opposition from the federal government. Credit: News Corp Australia

Indonesia, which joined the G20 in 2008, does not currently have a nuclear reactor power plant but it is exploring the possibility as it shifts away from coal.

Earlier, Mr Dutton argued that developed economies were only operating because they possessed a “firming up power”, such as nuclear.

“I know that people want to pretend that wind and solar can go around the clock. It can’t,” he said.

“Let’s hope there is more hydro into the system, but we need to deal with the realities and if we don’t, we will see a significant collapse within our economy.”

“That’s why you need to have 24/7 base load power in there, which nuclear can do.”

Originally published as Peter Dutton under fire for delays on nuclear energy policy

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