Energy Minister Chris Bowen Refuses to Comment on Twitter’s Community Notes Fact-Check of His Nuclear Waste Claims

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The Minister for Climate Change and Energy side-stepped commenting about Twitter’s fact-checking of a video he posted attacking Peter Dutton’s proposed nuclear plan.

Nationals MP David Gillespie says Australia will have “no chance” of reaching net zero emissions if nuclear energy isn’t included as part of the energy mix. “Overreliance on renewables has huge consequences, it makes energy very expensive,” Mr Gillespie told Sky News Australia.

Energy Minister Chris Bowen has side-stepped commenting about a Twitter’s fact-checking of a video he posted attacking Peter Dutton’s proposed nuclear plan.

Mr Bowen posted a video attacking the Opposition’s support for small modular reactors to Twitter on Saturday, but the portion of the video arguing about waste storage was quickly spotted by Twitter’s community fact checkers.

The Energy Minister claimed there was difficulty in storing nuclear waste and spoke about the alleged struggle to store nuclear fuel rods from “one small medical reactor”.

His words were accompanied by a backdrop of several images depicting nuclear waste in large yellow barrels, which drew the attention of Twitter fact-checkers, who quickly added a note to his post.

“Minister Bowen uses images of yellow barrels dumped in a field to represent nuclear waste. This is an inaccurate representation of nuclear waste,” the comment reads.

It then links to two websites explaining how radioactive waste is stored – from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the World Nuclear Association – which debunk Mr Bowen’s claims.

Energy Minister Chris Bowen has side-stepped commenting about a Twitter’s fact-checking of a video he posted attacking Peter Dutton’s proposed nuclear plan. Picture: NCA NewsWire / James Gourley – POOL via NCA NewsWire

When SkyNews.com.au approached Mr Bowen’s team for comment, they responded with a criticism of the previous government’s record on energy.

“The former government was in power for almost a decade and oversaw 4 gigawatts of dispatchable energy leave the system and only 1 gigawatt come on,” the statement read.

“The Opposition is now promoting a nuclear power thought bubble despite ruling out domestic nuclear when AUKUS was announced in 2021.

“The CSIRO has done report after report that has found nuclear energy would be far and away the most expensive form of energy for Australia.

“The Gencost report found that a small reactor typically costs as much as $16,000 per kilowatt-hour, eight times the cost of wind and solar (under $2000 per kilowatt-hour).

“It’s no surprise the same LNP that hid 20 per cent electricity price rises from Australian families before the election are trying to slug them with the most expensive form of energy.”

The video contained several claims about nuclear waste. Picture: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Twitter’s Community Notes is a crowd-sourced fact-checking feature championed by owner Elon Musk that allows users to “add context” below other people’s Tweets if they believe it contains false or misleading information.

The feature was hugely expanded when Musk took control of the company.

An explanation on Twitter’s website says Community Notes “aim to create a better informed world by empowering people on Twitter to collaboratively add context to potentially misleading Tweets”.

“Contributors can leave notes on any Tweet and if enough contributors from different points of view rate that note as helpful, the note will be publicly shown on a Tweet.”

A spokesperson for Opposition leader Peter Dutton declined to weigh in on the matter.

Source: Sky News