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Can nuclear power save Australia?

Mark Levy

 

As summer approaches, with it comes the reality of rising electricity bills and the possibility of widespread blackouts.

The nation’s energy situation remains a contentious point in parliament and in households across the country.

Conservative senator Corey Bernardi believes the solution is right in front of our faces.

He’s seeking to lift a ban on nuclear power, while former Prime Minister Tony Abbott is calling for the construction of nuclear power plants.

Professor Kenneth Baldwin, Deputy Director of the ‘Energy Change Institute’ at ANU tells 4BC Nights a long-held fear of nuclear energy remains among politicians and the public.

“It goes back to associated links with nuclear testing in the pacific.”

“Back when we had the drought in the early-to-mid 2000s they were moving towards the idea and then after Fukushima things swung back the other way.”

Mark Levy asked Professor Baldwin if the public’s mood changed, how long would it take to get a nuclear energy industry up and running.

“We would then have to set up a regulatory mechanism that could take four or five years, and then we’d have to build a nuclear power station which might  take another five years, so we might be looking a decade or more into the future before this could happen and by then a  lot of things could change in the energy sector.”

“Is it feasible?”

“Several studies have found nuclear to be more expensive than conventional fossil fuels and renewables. But, we have a plentiful supply of uranium that would keep costs down into the future. ”

In terms of emissions, “it’s the same as wind, it’s the same as solar, the same as hydro, the same as other renewables, in that sense it’s zero emissions.”

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Mark Levy
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