Bright New World – a 21st Century Environmental NGO

Ben Heard and Martin Thomas

5.30 for 6 pm Wednesday 26 July 2017.
Engineers Australia Harricks Auditorium, Ground Floor, 8 Thomas Street, Chatswood, NSW.

Meeting hosted by the Nuclear Engineering Panel, Engineers Australia.

For Ben Heard’s slides, click here

For “Bright New World” Website click here

To register

The recent South Australian Royal Commission, and the Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Review (UMPNER) ten years before that, concluded on the basis of all the evidence received that:

• Nuclear power should certainly be considered as a potentially important part of Australia’s low emissions generation fleet;

• To allow this, legal barriers to nuclear power in Australia would need to be removed, and

• Social ‘licence to operate’ would have to be secured.

However little has changed since these exhaustive studies, despite the worsening state of Australia’s electricity supply system. Security is diminishing, costs continue to rise and emissions remain higher than most would wish in this, the lucky country.

So why establish an environmental NGO like Bright New World? What does it stand for? Are there not too many well-funded NGOs already? What can any new NGO achieve?

Most of today’s environmental NGOs espouse renewable energy – but many volubly denounce nuclear as dangerous, dirty and expensive. Although no doubt driven by passion, as they must be, not all NGOs are entirely honest about the scientific evidence that challenges this view. Many deny, with scarce supporting evidence, the benefits nuclear power brings to so many nations worldwide, many fuelled by Australian uranium.

Such organisations can be selective with their ‘facts’ and creative regarding scientific and economic truth, not only denying evidence but denigrating those who accept it. If nuclear power is explained honestly, with recourse to verifiable facts, it can be shown to be one of the environmentally cleanest, safest and – in the long run – most economic future sources of energy for Australia. The role for a reliable fact-based NGO is evident.

Ben Heard, the founder of Bright New World, and Martin Thomas, its founding chairman, have grasped the opportunity to drive the new organisation.

About: Ben Heard Founder and Executive Director

Ben Heard is recognised as a leading voice for the use of nuclear technologies to address our most pressing global challenges.
It certainly didn’t start that way but following a critical appraisal of his anti-nuclear stance he found it unsupportable. Ben is now undertaking doctoral studies at the University of Adelaide, where he examines clean energy supply with a focus on nuclear technologies. and he has presented his research findings around Australia and the world. Founding Bright New World takes Ben back to his NGO beginnings to give environmentalism a reboot for the 21st century.


Martin Thomas qualified in engineering from Cambridge University in 1957 and came to Australia with consulting engineers Merz and McLellan in 1967. He has worked on energy generation and conservation in NSW, WA and the NT; and overseas, in Kenya, India, the ASEAN countries and the Pacific Islands.

He has been active in Engineers Australia; the Australian Institute of Energy; Australian Academy of Technology andEngineering; the NSW Electricity Council; the Australian Team for the Centre for the Analysis, Demonstration and Dissemination of Energy Technologies and the 2000 Olympic Energy Panel. He has also held a number of corporate and consulting roles in the Australian power industry and was finally the founding MD of the Australian CRC for Renewable Energy.

His service on Prime Minister Howard’s Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Review (UMPNER aka the Switkowski Report) convinced him thaAustralia should use its abundant low cost uranium to enhance its national energy security and as a contribution to clean electricity.

Martin is chairman of Bright New World.