Senate debates

Wednesday, 28 September 2022


Nuclear Energy

7:43 pm

Photo of Malcolm RobertsMalcolm Roberts (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

As a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia, my topic tonight is nuclear power. The war on the most cost-effective energy source, coal, means nuclear is the only way to overcome problems inherent in wind and solar—problems around reliability, capacity, cost and technical issues, inertia, frequency and instability. If we do not turn on to nuclear we will have blackouts and electricity price rises that will decimate industry and employment in this country.

In Europe the quiet nuclear revolution began after conflict with Russia exposed the solar and wind industry's terminal flaws. Despite half a trillion dollars being spent across Europe, it became obvious that wind turbines, solar panels and big batteries could not sustain Europe's need for power—ever. You cannot achieve the UN's insane net zero target without going nuclear. The European Union has voted to classify nuclear energy as an environmentally sustainable economic activity. In other words, nuclear is now green energy, while uranium—nuclear fuel—is not renewable. Neither are windmills, solar panels or dead batteries.

As a supposed problem, nuclear waste is exaggerated. Spent fuel is in part reused in specially designed power plants called breeder reactors. The small amount of remaining waste can be stored safely. Australia's ANSTO is a leader in nuclear technology with its Synroc project. For example, American data shows that if nuclear energy provided 100 per cent of their power, waste per person would amount to just 40 grams per year. Breeder reactors reduce this waste to a minuscule four grams per person per year. For people genuinely worried about the fiery apocalypse of climate variability, if your children are out gluing themselves to inanimate objects, nuclear is the virtuous climate salvation you've been looking for.

More importantly, the physical footprint of a nuclear plant is tiny compared to solar and wind's carpet bombing of our beautiful countryside. A 1,000-megawatt nuclear facility requires 2½ square kilometres—that's it. That's all. To equal the same output, a solar plant would need 75 times the land area, and wind turbines would need 360 times the land. This is important when considering how many of these damn things the Greens, teals and ALP want to build. You would need three million solar panels or 430 wind turbines operating at continuous capacity to replace one nuclear plant. On average solar and wind availability, that would be four times more, though: 12 million solar panels or 1,720 wind turbines. A single pellet of uranium roughly the size of your thumb produces the same amount of energy as 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas, 120 gallons of oil or one tonne of coal, yet successive governments that claim to rank apocalyptic climate variability as their primary policy consideration ban it.

We talk about Australia as a leader in innovation, technical achievement and global solutions, yet we allow ourselves to fall behind in the nuclear power renaissance. Worldwide as of 2021 there are 55 nuclear reactors under construction, 90 on order or planned and 300 proposed to be added to the 440 existing reactors in operation. Work is being done to increase the life span of existing reactors from 40 to 60 years. Any nuclear reactor we build now will be saving Australia from blackouts 50 years after wind, solar and batteries built today will have died and been turned into toxic landfill.

Australia is the No. 1 global holder of uranium reserves, with between 28 and 30 per cent, or 1.7 million tonnes, of the world's known reserves. That's enough to last for generations. Also, there's no safer place in the world for nuclear than Australia. We are geologically stable, sitting in the middle of a tectonic plate. The issues with old plants in poorly chosen locations overseas do not relate to nuclear power plants like those we would build in Australia. The reality is that nuclear is one of the world's safest energy generators. As a bonus, it doesn't rely on child slave labour or a communist superpower dictatorship with a track record of chucking tantrums when its human rights record is questioned, nor does it promote the blue economy of destructive deep-sea mining for the raw materials needed to produce battery backup for wind and solar.

I understand why renewable barons and their pet politicians rally against nuclear. Nuclear completely invalidates the billionaire solar and wind parasites. It poses a catastrophic and fatal threat to crony capitalism and the billion-dollar energy portfolios that green politics enriches. One Nation stands for reliable, affordable, strategically safe and clean energy for the future that is based on science, not fairytales. We have one flag. We are one community. We are one nation. (Time expired)