South Coast nuclear option 'makes no sense': Mike Kelly

The stretch of coastline between Merimbula and Bermagui has been earmarked as having the potential to host a nuclear power station. 

In a study by the Nuclear for Climate Australia group published on its website, the Far South Coast is among 18 proposed sites or “areas of interest” in NSW.

If we were going to move down that road, we would’ve had to in the 1960s.

Eden-Monaro MP Mike Kelly

Eden-Monaro MP Mike Kelly, a vocal supporter of renewable energy investment in the electorate, said while he understood potential benefits, the study “makes no sense whatsoever”.

“The way I look at it, we haven’t solved issues around disposing of the waste, and risk issues,” Dr Kelly said.

“The results can be catastrophic.”

Dr Kelly said Jervis Bay has long been looked at as a nuclear site, even as recently as by prime minister John Howard.

Picture: Nuclear for Climate Australia

Picture: Nuclear for Climate Australia

“If we were going to move down that road, we would’ve had to in the 1960s,” he said.

“Why do it if you have the opportunity to avoid it?”

Nuclear for Climate Australia states the reactor would “have potential if included with other power plants built at East Gippsland, the Snowy or Jervis Bay”, would be cooled in sea water, and would require an “extensive grid upgrade” and a port upgrade at Twofold Bay.

“The big issue is they [nuclear power plants] require water, and our rivers don’t have enough, which means you need the coastline, and where on our coast would you want one?” Dr Kelly said.

“Development would take 20 years, and in that time we have every available renewable energy resource here in Australia, which will transfer to cheaper power, especially with the Snowy Hydro announcement.

“For our region there’s real benefit in becoming a hub for research and development, and even manufacturing components.”