Question: Would nuclear power pose a real and credible solution to Australia's energy problems?
Hugh Saddler from the Crawford School of Public Policy says: No, because it would be much more costly than wind, solar, gas or coal and take many years (well over a decade) to be available.
Petra Stock from the Climate Council of Australia says: Australia needs to rapidly transition away from fossil fuels to renewable (or zero emission) power sources. Nuclear power faces a number of problems: getting approval for a nuclear power plant in Australia would likely take more than a decade, and may never be acceptable to the community; nuclear power is inflexible and not well suited to the changing needs of the power grid (in places like California nuclear and coal are being phased out in favour of more flexible sources of power and storage); and nuclear power is an extremely costly option when renewable power sources are already the lowest cost source of new power.
Kieran Donoghue from the Busimess Council of Australia says: The answer to the “energy crisis” is not going to be picking a technology and creating policies to encourage it. There are questions about the cost and viability of nuclear technology in Australian, not to mention valid community concerns.
We need policies which encourage investment in a broad range of dispatchable energy sources, not more picking winners.
David Blowers from the Grattan Institute says: Unlikely. It is costly and mainly comes in one size, which is 'massive', although there have been advances in smaller modular reactors. And there is no social licence for nuclear. It doesn't appear to be suited to Australia's needs at the moment.
Ben Eade from Manufacturing Australia says: I'm a strong believer that nothing should be either ruled out, or given preferential treatment. Nuclear faces significant hurdles in Australia: economically, politically and socially. But globally, its interesting that most nations that use more renewables than Australia also have nuclear generation to provide emissions free baseload. That doesn't mean it will be right for Australia, but what we do need is as many forms of energy generation as possible competing in the market.