The price of electricity in Australia is higher than almost anywhere else in the world.
Families across the nation are struggling to pay their bills, and just last week new Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised to make it the priority of his government to lower the cost of our expensive and unreliable electricity.
But to do so, he says he may have to take provocative action, including overturning the current ban on nuclear power.
‘Going Nuclear’ airs 8.30 tonight on Channel 9 after The Block. For more on 60 Minutes, head to the official website.
It is a cheap and dependable power source, but opponents of the idea fear Australia will be the next victim of a catastrophic disaster such as Fukushima.
But what if nuclear power isn’t as threatening as we have all been led to believe? Could it potentially be the answer to all of Australia’s power price woes?
Tonight on 60 Minutes, reporter Tom Steinfort tests the theory.
Alongside energy expert Dr Ben Heard, Steinfort venture deep into the infamous radioactive reactor at Fukushima in Japan.
There, the 60 Minutes cameras spend 15 gripping minutes inside the reactor, exposed to radiation levels nearly 3000 times higher than normal levels in Australia.
The Fukushima nuclear meltdown in is scorched into people’s memories – a disaster, like Chernobyl, which for many is a permanent reminder of just how catastrophic nuclear power can be when it all goes wrong.
On March 11, 2011, a massive tsunami hit the shore of Fukushima, devastating the coast line of Japan and killing more than 16,000 people.
The natural disaster was shortly followed by an industrial one – the loss of power from the earthquake and tsunami caused a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Nuclear power plant.
The meltdown is considered good reason for Australia’s aversion to – and outright ban against – nuclear power plants built on our shores.
But tonight, 60 Minutes reporter Tom Steinfort speaks with the man who says we’ve got it all wrong.
Energy expert Dr Ben Heard believes there has been a total overreaction to the Fukushima threat, claiming radiation levels in most areas surrounding the plant are safe.
The Fukushima nuclear meltdown in is scorched into people’s memories – a disaster, like Chernobyl, which for many is a permanent reminder of just how catastrophic nuclear power can be when it all goes wrong. (60 Minutes)
“In the 50-year history of using this (nuclear) technology, this is the day that it all went wrong,” Dr Heard tells Steinfort.
“And it still hasn’t resulted in any deaths from the radiation.”
Dr Heard was once a paid-up member of environmental group Greenpeace, a group that opposes the use of nuclear power.
But he has since changed his stance, telling Steinfort that Greenpeace is selling “a lie when it comes to nuclear”.
David Ritter, CEO of Greenpeace Australia, is firm in his response to Dr Heard’s claims that no deaths have occurred due to radiation in Fukushima.
“He’s saying that? That’s his advertisement for the (nuclear) industry?” Mr Ritter questions.
“That is a remarkable claim.”
Tonight, 60 Minutes speaks to the experts in the nuclear field, as well as radiation specialists and environmentalists to get to the bottom of this highly controversial issue.