The real-world benefits offered by zero emissions advanced nuclear technologies in addressing climate change while creating high-tech jobs in Victoria are highlighted in a new report by the Victorian Legislative Council’s Environment and Planning Committee.
In a detailed discussion of the Nuclear Activities (Prohibitions) Act 1983, the inquiry stops short of recommending the repeal of Victoria’s outdated prohibition on nuclear energy and uranium mining while acknowledging the future importance of a technology-neutral approach to reducing emissions.
For example, as the Committee’s Chair Cesar Melhem MLC notes in the report: ‘It is this need to shift towards low-emissions power generation that the question of nuclear power has been raised in recent years’ and ‘It will be interesting to see over the next few years whether new nuclear technologies, such as SMRs which are in the final stages of development, change the costing of nuclear energy over time.’
The inquiry heard from industry, unions including the AWU and CFMMEU, NGOs and individuals that support a pragmatic regulatory regime for nuclear technology in Victoria.
Advanced nuclear technologies like small modular reactors (SMRs) could help Victoria retain and grow a strong industrial sector.
In turn, this would create high-paying long-term jobs – particularly in regional and outer suburban areas – while also significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The report serves as a useful resource to inform future discussion on the potential benefits of nuclear energy to Victoria as Australia moves to a low emissions future.
It also notes the importance of emerging industries including critical minerals and other sectors that use or require the extraction of small amounts of uranium or thorium.
The MCA looks forward to contributing to the continuing discussion in Australia about nuclear power as SMRs move through the final stages of development over the next few years.
MCA Victoria also acknowledges the efforts of David Limbrick MLC and all other members of the Committee to apply analysis based on science and fact to the outdated legislation banning nuclear power in Victoria.