23 Apr (NucNet): The Minerals Council of Australia has said the time has come to end the discriminatory treatment of nuclear energy by repealing the ban on new plants.
In a statement dated 18 April the council, which represents Australia’s exploration, mining and minerals processing industry, said it welcomed prime minister Scott Morrison’s comments that nuclear energy must pay its way in Australia, but acknowledged that the federal government is not considering removing the current ban on nuclear power.
“Removing the ban would allow for Australians to have a serious conversation about a genuinely technology neutral approach towards the nation’s energy mix – delivering affordable, reliable and clean energy sources,” the statement said.
“The removal of the prohibition on nuclear energy will also allow for investment proposals to be brought forward. There is an urgent need for Australia to consider all technologies on their merits.”
The council said nuclear energy provides 11% of the world's electricity which is low-cost, zero-emission and available 24/7. “That is why new nuclear power stations are being built in China, the United Arab Emirates, Finland and the UK,” it said. “Latest generation nuclear technologies such as small modular reactors offer the potential to fully back up renewable energy sources.”
Mr Morrison said on a Tasmanian radio station recently that he would be okay with receiving proposals from the nuclear energy industry.
However, following a negative reaction from the opposition, the Liberal politician took to Twitter to explain that even though receiving recommendations related to non-conventional energy generation was “not ‘not’ on the agenda”, his government does not have any plans to change the laws regarding nuclear power.
Australian Nuclear Association vice-president Rob Parker told Sydney radio station 2GB that Australia can have a clean, low-carbon, low-cost future using nuclear energy, but political parties are not addressing the issue because they see it as being too contentious.
Mr Parker said Australia can address its environmental and economic needs with nuclear energy. He called on the government to “engage with the issue, engage with the people who know how to build nuclear plants and get on and do the proper investigation”.