Nuclear energy is ready to make a valuable contribution to low emission dispatchable generation for Australia. It supplies 10% of the world’s electricity safely, reliably, cleanly and economically. Used by 30 nations, over half the world’s population, it remains illegal in Australia, although Australia’s uranium exports contribute to international power generation and Australia is a world leader in nuclear medicines and technologies.
The benefits. Nuclear energy would enrich Australia. Its addition to the nation’s generation mix alongside renewables (solar, wind and hydro) with the shared goal of decarbonisation would:
- Deliver large amounts of dispatchable low-carbon electricity to the National Electricity Market to meet base-load demand reliably.
- Replace over time Australia’s ageing coal fired fleet of power stations.
- Meet and exceed Australia’s internationally committed emission reduction targets.
- Provide reliable low-cost power for Australia’s growing needs for electric transport, hydrogen production, metals refining, new industries, water desalination and more.
- Renew confidence in Australian industry, now sorely diminished as productive investment slows and industries close or move offshore.
- Efficiently utilise established transmission, distribution and management assets.
- Create meaningful productive careers for young aspirational Australians.
The challenges. To achieve these benefits and more, Australia needs to:
- Repeal long-outdated federal and state legislation preventing its proper consideration.
- Initiate informed public debate towards achieving social licence while acknowledging concerns of safe waste disposal and radiation protection.
- Commit to a genuinely technology-neutral long-term energy policy.
- Focus on affordability, reliability and sustainability, accounting for total system costs in establishing the optimal mix of low emission technologies.
- Enhance Australia’s internationally respected nuclear regulatory regime.
- Facilitate supportive international technology exchange linkages.
- Invite proposals to establish the business case.
- Enhance research and development, drawing on ANSTO’s facilities and expertise.
- Support every level of education and training needed by emerging industries.
Our commitment. The Australian Nuclear Association, supported by informed professional associations, strongly encourages the Governments of Australia and its States and Territories and industry to deliver this Vision. We will contribute to balanced and open public education and communicate constructively with the media on the benefits of nuclear power to help Australia develop a safe, reliable and cost-effective energy sector.
Dr Mark Ho, President, Australian Nuclear Association
19 June 2019
Click here for a pdf version – Declaration – A Nuclear Vision for Australia