Nuclear giant eyes Australian nuclear potential

Coal’s demise is nuclear’s opportunity, Japanese-owned nuclear technology company Westinghouse chief executive Danny Roderick said.

Mr Roderick told the Australian Financial Review he wants to make sure the facts are out there on the safety of new-generation nuclear technology.

Westinghouse is part of Toshiba Corporation and has links with Australian uranium suppliers. In Sydney to announce a tie-up with three local suppliers, Mr Roderick said he’s concerned with informing Australia’s political and public debate.

Convincing the 8 per cent of the Australian public undecided about nuclear power would create “an overwhelming majority of people in Australia that would support a nuclear new-build”, he said.

He said Westinghouse’s AP1000 nuclear plant uses “passive” technology that doesn’t require electricity to be able to safely shut itself down, averting a Fukushima-like situation. This type of plant is under construction in the US and is set to be used in the UK,
China and India.

More than 70 per cent of a new plant could be constructed using Australian commodities and suppliers, according to Mr Roderick.

Mark Chilcote, executive general manager of engineering and construction at UGL, one of the three Australian suppliers, said the company initially planned to work with Westinghouse on nuclear projects in Asia.

UGL does not expect to work directly on nuclear reactors, but can draw on its experience designing and monitoring power plants to provide engineering and maintenance services.