Expanded ARENA mandate & AUS-UK nuclear technology partnership both vital for low-emissions future

The announcement of new regulations focused on five priority technologies outlined in the Low Emissions Technology Statement will enable the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to further support technologies which are likely to underpin Australia’s decarbonisation efforts.

Along with the new Australia-UK partnership on low emissions solutions – including advanced nuclear generation – this approach is consistent with the Australian minerals industry’s advocacy for all technologies to be considered to meet the twin challenges of lowering greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring the continued and expanded use of Australian resources.

ARENA’s ability to focus on emission reduction technologies for aluminium and steel, carbon capture and storage, clean hydrogen, energy storage and soil carbon will give the agency renewed impetus in supporting a pragmatic approach to delivering real emissions reductions.

This approach by the Morrison Government also complements the extensive efforts of Australia’s diversified mining sector, which is already taking action and investing in the R&D, technologies and minerals that will be critical for decarbonisation.

The inclusion of Small Modular Reactors in the low emissions partnership between Australia and the UK is highly encouraging.

Despite its potential to provide 24/7 zero emissions reliable power for Australian businesses and households, nuclear energy remains banned in Australia.

The MCA has long promoted nuclear energy – especially advanced new designs – as part of a genuinely technology-neutral energy policy framework.

The out-of-date nuclear prohibition limits Australia’s ability to reach net zero. It is positive to see the Australian government include work on considering nuclear energy potential in Australia, given its inexplicable ongoing prohibition in light of the nation’s emissions and power supply challenges.

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