A parliamentary committee has released a report into nuclear energy that puts the Australian people at the centre of any approval process for a future nuclear plant.
“Nuclear energy should be on the table for consideration as part of our future energy mix”, said Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien who chairs theHouse Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy.
“Australia should say a definite ‘No’ to old nuclear technologies but a conditional ‘Yes’ to new and emerging technologies such as small modular reactors.
“And most importantly,” said Mr O’Brien “the Australian people should be at the centre of any approval process”.
The report – entitled Not without your approval – follows a parliamentary inquiry that saw the Committee travel across Australia over recent months taking evidence and assessing over 300 submissions on the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia.
“If we’re serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we can’t simply ignore this zero-emissions baseload technology,” said Mr O’Brien.
“But we also need to be humble enough to learn lessons from other countries who have gone down this path,” said Mr O’Brien. “It’s as much about getting the technology right as it is about maintaining a social license based on trust and transparency.”
The report recommends the Australian Government undertake a body of work to deepen the understanding of nuclear technology which would include economic, technological and readiness assessments and also a two-way public engagement program.
The report recommends a partial-lift of the current moratorium on nuclear energy, urging the Government to keep its moratorium on Generations I, II and III reactors while lifting it for reactors in Generations III+ and IV, so only the newest and best be considered.
Furthermore, the report recommends that the partial-lift of the moratorium be subject to a technology assessment and a commitment to community consent as a condition of approval for any nuclear power or nuclear waste disposal facility.
The Committee was asked by the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction the Hon Angus Taylor to undertake the inquiry and to report back to Government by the end of the year. The report is the product of the inquiry and it has been presented to the Government today, on behalf of the Australian Parliament, for the Government’s consideration.