BUILDING new nuclear power plants to create a carbon-free world “doesn’t make sense” and just serves as a distraction from the risks, Canadian author Naomi Klein says.
The activist and author of This Changes Everything, was asked what she thought about the possibility of building a nuclear power plant in South Australia, which a Royal Commission in the state is currently considering.
Backers of nuclear power often spruik it as an alternative to renewables because it does not produce greenhouse gases, unlike coal-fired power stations.
But Klein said building new nuclear plants did not make any sense to her.
“What’s exciting about this renewables revolution spreading around the world, is that it shows us that we can power our economies without the enormous risk that we have come to accept,” she told media on Thursday.
She said the latest research showed renewables could power 100 per cent of the world’s economies.
“We can do it without those huge risks and costs associated with nuclear so why wouldn’t we?” she said.
While there was still debate over the timing of when renewables should be introduced, and whether existing nuclear power plants should be taken offline first, Klein said it didn’t make sense to her to build new nuclear facilities.
“People are constantly holding this promise of next generation nuclear which supposedly doesn’t have the risk of our current generation nuclear but at this point it’s notional, that’s not what’s being constructed and I think in large part that serves as a distraction from the risk associated with actual nuclear power.”
Klein said Germany was already getting 30 per cent of its daily electricity from renewables. On sunny days renewables can make up to 80 per cent.
“They’ve created … 400,000 jobs in this transition, they’ve also deepened their democracy because they have taken back control of their energy grids in hundreds of cities and towns in Germany and are able to keep the profits of energy generation and use them to pay for services,” she said.
“So this is not just about flipping the switch from one energy model to another, it’s also about changing our economy to make it fairer.
“It is true that some of the most powerful actors in our current economic system … stand to lose a lot.”
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