ETU condemns Industry Super report’s nuclear nod


The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) has condemned Industry Super Australia’s (ISA) “flawed” report ‘Modernising Electricity Sectors: A Guide to long-run investment decisions’, saying it makes broad recommendations for nuclear power while dismissing and diminishing renewable and battery capabilities.

ETU  secretary Allen Hicks has called on partners in the superannuation industry to join in the condemnation of the report, saying it is not only full of holes, but puts at risk the very people who industry super represents, that is, unions.

“The ETU has very strong concerns about this ISA report that broadly spruiks nuclear power while using flawed assumptions and poor modelling to write down the capacity of renewables and battery technology,” Mr Hicks said.

“This report has been developed without consulting key industry stakeholders or actual members of Industry Super Australia that we have been in contact with.

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“Our union has a long and proud opposition to nuclear power and uranium mining because it is a deadly threat to workers and the public and should be kept in the ground.

“Our opposition to nuclear dates back to the Second World War when our members witnessed first-hand the death and destruction that comes with this form of power, and more recent disasters in Fukushima and Chernobyl only reinforce this view.

“That’s why it’s so vexing that industry funds our members pay their retirement savings in to would offer any support to a report giving the nod to nuclear.

“With the Federal Liberal Government totally incapable of leading on energy policy, we think ISA should take a leading role in energy investment, but it must not try to put our members retirement savings into a deadly industry that does not exist in Australia and is fading around the globe and consistently leads to spiralling costs.”

ETU National Industry Coordinator Matthew Murphy said many of the report’s findings were based on assumptions or numbers with no basis in reality.

“This report is biased toward nuclear power and against renewables and that clearly bares out in shoddy maths and assumptions like ‘a battery will only run for one hour’ or that the island nation of Australia is not suitable for off-shore wind and tidal power,” he said.

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“The idea the whole of Australia would need an energy storage capacity of 1.5 days seems to be plucked out of thin air,” he said.

“When was the last time the entire nation was blacked out for 36 hours?”

Mr Murphy said there were several “falsehoods” in the report used to dismiss some very tenable renewable technologies entirely, while fluffing up the benefits of nuclear power.

“There are many glaring statements in the report, but one that stands out it is the suggestion that 100-150 nuclear reactors would be enough to power half the nation,” he said.

“Unlike the numbers in the report, we can’t pluck nuclear reactors out of thin air. And there is likely to be huge public opposition from the 150 towns where these deadly power plants would be built.” Read the full report by ISA here.