The Coalition spokesperson said its focus was to deliver net-zero emissions in Victoria by 2050.
“Renewables will be a crucial part of that mix to meet Victorian’s high social and environmental expectations while also providing a reliable, affordable source of energy to keep the lights – and the heaters – on.”
Four Coalition MPs, including two frontbenchers, speaking to The Age on the condition of anonymity, also indicated some support for nuclear energy to be included in Australia’s future energy mix.
“It shouldn’t be completely ruled out,” one Coalition frontbencher said. “We should always reassess these things.”
Another backbencher told The Age there should be an open conversation about the use of nuclear technologies given soaring energy costs.
Smith, who is quitting politics in November after crashing his car while drink-driving last year, agreed, saying the federal debate was both “timely and welcome” given the state’s baseload energy requirements.
“Given the broad acceptance of the need for nuclear-powered submarines, it was inevitable that discussion would move to a domestic nuclear energy industry,” Smith said.
“The supply, reliability and cost of energy in Victoria is a crucial policy area with the imminent closure of Yallourn.”
In 2020, a Victorian parliamentary committee was tasked with looking at the potential benefits of removing the ban on nuclear technologies to see whether it would help drive down emissions.
The committee, which included Coalition MPs Matt Bach and Melina Bath, heard evidence that small modular reactor technology would be “as clean as renewables” and would “greatly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions”.
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