More misinformation from CSIRO on Nuclear.
Energy Minister Chris Bowen loves going on and on about how renewables are so much cheaper than nuclear energy and the media loves repeating the message. But where does Minister Bowen get this from? It all comes from the CSIRO’s annual GenCost report, in which they collaborate with the Australian Energy Market Operator to update the cost estimates of new-build electricity generation, storage and hydrogen production with (they claim) a strong emphasis on stakeholder engagement.
This report estimates the cost a private investor would face for each generation technology, including wind, solar, coal, gas and many more… just not large-scale nuclear reactors.
The CSIRO decided to exclude large-scale nuclear from their analysis and instead only present the costs for small modular reactors (or SMRs). This might seem a bit odd given that large-scale nuclear is a proven technology used in over 30 countries worldwide, while SMR technology is still under development. In fact, the CSIRO based their SMR cost estimate on a single cancelled project and they erroneously included financing costs which they hadn’t included for any other technology. This greatly overestimated number was what Minister Bowen and the media ran with when they proclaimed that nuclear power was too expensive.
So why did the CSIRO decide to exclude a proven energy technology used around the world from their GenCost report which everyone treats as the gold standard in generation technology cost estimates? In a recent webinar we asked Paul Graham, CSIRO’s Chief Energy Economist, which stakeholders told him SMRs were the right size for Australia and what reasons were given for excluding large nuclear reactors. You will not believe what he said.
Watch the video to find out.