Wollongong Greens councillor Mithra Cox said it was "one of the silliest ideas I have ever heard".
"Why on earth would we want a toxic, expensive and risky nuclear reactor on Lake Illawarra or at Fitzroy Falls when we have the most abundant, cheap and safe renewable energy resources of anywhere in the world?" Cr Cox said.
"Look at Chernobyl, at Fukushima, as Zaporizhzia - when nuclear reactors have accidents, they are catastrophic."
"Solar power is the cheapest form of electricity in human history, and wind power is fast catching up."
"And they come without the huge environmental and safety risks of uranium mining and storage or radioactive waste - something which has not been solved anywhere in the world."
What does the federal government's new Defence Strategic Review mean for Australia and the Illawarra? Win News
Romy Gilbert from WIN News covered the briefing at Wollongong Council, and the WAWAN - Wollongong Against War and Nukes community meeting ahead of the May 6 - Port Kembla: March Against the Nuclear Base.
Councillor Cath Blakey said:
"I think it's incredibly alarming. It's like it's implied that this is what Wollongong is in for, that the Federal Government is working towards nuclear submarines here in Port Kembla."
"They've talked about consultation and this feels like it's the kicking off of that consultation."
"I want to see Port Kembla ruled out as the site for nuclear submarines, but I also want to see talk of diplomacy."
Port Kembla is going to house a nuclear submarine base but the federal government isn't in any hurry to admit it. That's the theory of Greens Senator David Shoebridge in the wake of Monday's release of the Defence Strategic Review.
Sen Shoebridge believed that location was Port Kembla and the government was delaying any announcement until funding for the AUKUS subs project reached a level that made it too big to cancel.
"The review confirms the east coast for a nuclear-powered submarine facility but the government's refusal to confirm its exact location treats the people of the Illawarra like mugs," Sen Shoebridge said.
"Defence and the government have already indicated that Port Kembla is the preferred location for this facility. Putting off the confirmation of the exact location is essentially dishonest.
"The government needs to be honest with Australians, those living on the east coast and especially the Illawarra community and inform them of where this facility will be located before they lock in spending billions of dollars on these subs."
During Question Time in the senate on Friday, Greens senator David Shoebridge asked Labor senator Don Farrell how the submarines will be safely accommodated in major population centres such as Port Kembla.
Mr Shoebridge cited Griffith University emeritus Professor Ian Lowe's calculation that each US-built Virginia-class submarine carries 200 kilograms of highly enriched uranium.
"What guarantees are you providing on how that material can be safely accommodated in major population centres like Port Kembla?"
Mr Shoebridge called on the government to make clear to the Illawarra how the weapons-grade uranium powering each submarine would be safely stored when in harbour.
"Communities like the Illawarra who are being threatened with a nuclear submarine base deserve the truth about this reckless nuclear submarine deal and the Greens will keep demanding answers in Parliament until we get it," Mr Shoebridge said.
24 March 2023
In response to questioning by the Greens Defence Spokesperson David Shoebridge, the Labor government today refused to disclose how much weapons-grade uranium would be carried on the Virginia class submarines Australia will buy under the AUKUS submarine deal.Read more
The NSW Greens and the South Coast Labour Council said nuclear powered submarines floating in Port Kembla harbour would make the region a military target and jeopardise plans for renewable energy jobs at the port.
The people of the Illawarra were being "treated like mugs" by the lack of open information about a potential nuclear submarine base at Port Kembla, the Greens say.
The Greens said the submarines would force deep cuts to expenditure on essential services, while making the city a nuclear target.
"Wollongong is a city with 100 years of peace activism," Wollongong Greens councillor Cath Blakey said.
"We have stood up to pig-headed prime ministers in the past, and we will do so again to say we want a peaceful city, that we say no to nuclearisation of our Port. I'm dismayed that the Labor government is leaking information about the preferred location of the nuclear submarine base. It shows not only how much they take the Illawarra for granted, but also outright contempt for our community.
"They're refusing to provide any information about how the floating nuclear power plants would be managed, overseen or their reactive waste managed."
Greens Senator David Shoebridge blasted the Government for not being open with the population.
"This leaking of the Defence Department's preferred submarine base treats the people of the Illawarra like mugs," he said. "Locating a nuclear submarine base in Port Kembla makes the Illawarra a potential target for nuclear attack, all with zero public consultation around the risks to the community. With this one decision, Labor is mortgaging our future in order to stoke regional tensions with a dangerous escalation in regional defence spending."
No decision has been made on a future east coast submarine base, although Port Kembla near Wollongong, 100km (62 miles) south of Sydney, is thought to be a likely location.
A local official there said her community was worried by the possibility of a nuclear submarine base close by.
"It's causing alarm that it could make us a potential military target," Greens party councillor Cath Blakey told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"I think it's a potential sovereign risk to Australia to be hitching ourselves to the US and the UK."
$368+ billion on submarines puts Illawarra at risk of nuclear attack while forcing funding cuts to the regions
Today’s $368+ billion submarine announcement should send a shiver through the Illawarra, with Port Kembla earmarked as the preferred base for the new nuclear-powered submarines.Read more
Wollongong councillor Cath Blakey said her community is alarmed by the prospect of a nuclear submarine base being built on its doorstep.
"It's causing alarm that it could make us a potential military target," Ms Blakey said.
"We want to see the focus on peacekeeping and public infrastructure, not nuclear proliferation. I think it's a potential sovereign risk to Australia to be hitching ourselves to the US and the UK."