Nuclear power possible in Australia: forum

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A university professor and energy expert says it is possible for Australia to make the most of nuclear power.

However, work must start as soon as possible if it is an alternative to solar and wind energy to reduce emissions.

Adjunct Professor Stephen Wilson of the University of Queensland led a 2021 report titled: What would it take to get nuclear power stations operating in Australia from the 2030s?

“We found two important things when we sought to answer this question, and one was that it is possible for Australia to do this,” he said.

“But the big recommendation we made was that we need to start doing the work now – there’s a lot of prep work to be done.”

Professor Wilson is taking part in a two-day nuclear forum on Thursday and Friday, led by Independent MP Bob Katter and National MP David Gillespie.

Also present at Thursday’s forum were LNP members Anne Webster, Ian Goodenough and Jenny Ware.

CSIRO says solar and wind “continue to be the cheapest sources of electricity for any expected share of renewables in the grid” and that it has seen “no prospect of national projects ( nuclear energy) this decade, given the technology’s commercial immaturity and high cost”.

However, Dr Gillespie said other scientific reports indicated nuclear power could safely provide low-carbon energy at a fraction of the cost of some renewables.

The production of nuclear energy is prohibited under two federal laws.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has called for work to be done on a nuclear power policy, but he has yet to confirm what position the coalition will take in the next election.

Dr Gillespie said he was increasingly confident that the coalition would adopt a nuclear energy policy, but would not preempt the decision.

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