Australia would need to adopt a carbon price for nuclear power to be economically viable, a peak lobby group for the sector says, as it welcomes a push by the Nationals for a fresh Senate inquiry into the idea.
The Australian Nuclear Association, which advocates for nuclear science and technology, said nuclear power could provide cheap, reliable, carbon-free energy in Australia, but it would only be cost competitive with gas and coal generation if pollution was priced.
“They [reactors] don’t stack up in the current environment unless you have got some direct government intervention or a carbon price,” the ANA’s vice president, Robert Parker, said, suggesting a carbon price of about $20 a tonne would be sufficient for the sector to be competitive.
He said “if people want to take climate change seriously”, then nuclear would enable the country to reduce CO2 emissions in line with the recommendations of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which requires human-caused emissions to reach ‘net zero’ by 2050.
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