| May 22, 2024

Nuclear: Double the Cost and Decades Off

Large-scale nuclear power generation in Australia would be at least double the cost of solar and wind with batteries, and would take at least 15 years to arrive.

That’s the conservative assessment of Australia’s peak scientific body on the prospect of having nuclear power stations here.


“Make no mistake, Peter Dutton’s nuclear policy is simply an extension of the Liberal and National Party’s Coalkeeper policy – using taxpayer funds to extend the life of coal-fired power stations,” Smart Energy Council Chief Executive John Grimes said.


The CSIRO’s latest GenCost report finds:

  • Renewables, including associated storage and transmission costs, remain the lowest cost, new build technology out to 2050.
  • Nuclear power to be at least twice the cost of renewables and estimated a development timeline of at least 15 years, including construction.

It’s the second GenCost report to assess the prospect of bringing nuclear power to Australia; the last looked at so-called Small Modular Reactors (SMR’s) that are up to seven times more expensive than wind and solar.


“The pro-nuclear International Energy Agency says Australia should be focused on more wind and solar, the CSIRO says nukes are at least twice the cost of renewables and 15 years off, what more evidence does the Coalition need?” Mr Grimes said.

“Australian households and businesses have a clear choice here.”

“We can expand our existing use of the cheapest, greenest energy source via renewables, or wait 15 years and pay at least twice as much for nuclear.”

“Until then we would continue to burn more dirty coal and gas that is far more expensive than wind and solar.”


The CSIRO’s graph below shows just how costly nuclear generation (and fossil fuel) would be in Australia.

GenCost graph 2

Source: CSIRO, GenCost Report 2023–24


“We implore the Coalition not to impose greater energy price shocks on Australian homes and businesses during a cost of living crisis,” Mr Grimes said.

“Reliable solar and wind, firmed by batteries, are already delivering the lowest cost energy and greatest reduction to carbon emissions.”

“Let’s get on with the reliable renewable energy transition and stop the nuclear fantasising and Coalkeeping.” 



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