The Herald Sun is this morning speculating that the federal government’s proposed appointment of Monash University Chancellor Alan Finkel as Australia’s new Chief Scientist may signal a renewed interest in nuclear power.
While the appointment is yet to be confirmed, and there is no evidence that if Dr Finkel is appointed it will be due to his views on nuclear power, it does serve to highlight that there is another potential source of baseload power for the National Electricity Market that isn’t coal, gas or renewables.
Here is a link to an article that Dr Finkel wrote for Monash in 2013 which explains how nuclear is an important part of the European energy mix.
The USA’s Nuclear Energy Institute points out that 30 countries currently operate nuclear power plants and that nuclear is responsible for over 10 per cent of the world’s electricity, and South Australia is currently running a Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission to examine its potential to participate in nuclear mining, processing, electricity and disposal.
A sensible approach to baseload power in Australia would be for each state to play to its strengths – meaning Queensland and NSW go with black coal, Victoria brown coal, Tasmania hydro-electric power and South Australia nuclear power.