Reforming the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is 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 United States governments.
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.
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Outdated regulations at the Federal and State levels that prohibit nuclear power – and in some cases exploration and mining of uranium – contribute to Australia being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.
The next generation of nuclear technologies – small modular reactors (SMRs) – will provide some of the cheapest zero emission 24/7 power available.
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 emission future.
Now that Australia is acquiring nuclear submarines which use small reactors, there is no reason why Australia should not be considering SMRs for civilian use.