Nuclear nod from former hater
At a recent industry conference, a prominent environmental consultant said Australia and the world need to embrace nuclear power.
The authority said it would be the only serious way to battle climate change.
Former anti-nuclear advocate Ben Heard says that after extensively researching climate change mitigation, he believes nuclear power can decarbonise the planet in a way no other technology yet can.
Mr Heard says major advances in renewable energy have not come close to the breakthrough they would need to become usable and economical on a nationwide scale.
Heard says global demand for energy keeps increasing as populations become more urbanised.
“I thought we were talking about urgent decarbonisation as this climate change is reaching a bit of a desperate point,” Mr Heard said.
“We shouldn't be waiting around for breakthroughs, we need to get on with what we've got.
“That doesn't exclude wind, solar, wave, geothermal.
“But it has to include nuclear or we're not serious.”
Australia sits on between thirty and forty per cent of the world’s known high-grade uranium ore, but is also one of the developed nations with the strongest anti-nuclear sentiment within its population.
However, nuclear power remains statistically the safest form of energy.
A paper recently compared every single accident which caused five or more deaths in the global energy industry between 1969 and 2000.
In that time period there were 1870 severe accidents around the world resulting in 81,258 deaths, while the only severe accident at a nuclear power plant in that time - Chernobyl - killed 31 plant and emergency workers.
There were 390 severe accidents that took place between 1969 and 2000 in the OECD, with 8934 of the total fatalities, but there has never been a severe accident at a nuclear power plant in the OECD.
Speaking on ABC Radio, Monash University expert Dr Gavin Mudd presented an opposing view to Mr Heard's.