COMING SOON? Cattle graze in the shadow of the cooling towers for Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia, USA.
COMING SOON? Cattle graze in the shadow of the cooling towers for Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia, USA. ERIK S. LESSER

Should we join the nuclear family? Experts call for talks

A SYMPOSIUM of energy experts has called for a national discussion on nuclear options, including mining, power generation and waste storage, to help address Australia's energy security and climate change challenges.

Having reviewed the report of the South Australian Government's Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, the symposium released a communique yesterday urging governments to remove laws that prohibit nuclear fuel cycle activities and thereby constrain open discussions.

Professor Ken Baldwin, director of the ANU Energy Change Institute, said the Royal Commission report was a landmark examination of the prospects for the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia.

"We need to have all options on the table to eventually replace fossil fuels,” he said.

"Wind is the cheapest form of new-build energy and will soon be joined by large-scale solar, but as we move to more rapidly decarbonise, higher levels of renewables in the national grid will require additional generating capacity, energy storage and transmission lines.

"The question then becomes: will renewables then be the lowest cost, zero-carbon emission source of electricity compared with nuclear power?”

The communique noted Australia was well placed to take on international nuclear waste storage.

"Australia is both geologically and geopolitically stable, with good governance systems,” Professor Baldwin said.

The symposium was hosted by The Australian National University Energy Change Institute in collaboration with Engineers Australia, the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.



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