PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Australia would need to consider the next generation of nuclear technologies as part of its efforts to reduce emissions, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) said this week.
MCA CEO Tania Constable on Thursday pointed out that while Australia has one-third of the world’s uranium supplies, it has limited its nuclear capacity to a single world class medical research reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney.
“Outdated regulations at the federal and state levels that prohibit nuclear power, and in some cases exploration and mining of uranium, contribute to Australia being unable to properly even consider let alone develop this important industry.
“As Australia looks to decarbonise, these technologies should be allowed. Not only do they produce electricity, they can be configured to produce hydrogen and synthetic fuels and industrial heat that will play key roles in delivering a net zero emissions future,” Constable said.
The MCA’s calls for greater nuclear use comes as the federal government announced a partnership with the US and UK governments to pursue nuclear powered submarines through a new tri-lateral enhanced security partnership.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday said that over the next 18 months, Australia, the UK and US will intensely examine the full suite of requirements that underpin nuclear stewardship and demonstrate a clear pathway to becoming a responsible and reliable steward of this sensitive technology. Australia will establish a Nuclear-Powered Submarine Taskforce in the Department of Defence to lead this work.
“Reforming the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act was the first step in developing the skills and infrastructure to support the critical technology needed to acquire nuclear-powered submarines as announced today by the Australian, British and US governments,” said Constable.
“This is an incredible opportunity for Australia’s economy - not only will we develop the skills and infrastructure to support this naval technology, but it connects us to the growing global nuclear power industry and its supply chains.”