Nuclear not bankable, but an option to keep option

The Australian Energy Council has welcomed the tentative findings of the Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle.

The Royal Commission identified nuclear energy would not be commercially viable under the existing market conditions, but it may be necessary as part of Australia’s energy system as it shifts to a low greenhouse gas emissions future.

The findings of the Royal Commission suggest it “would be wise to plan now to ensure nuclear power would be available should it be required”.

The Australian Energy Council’s chief executive Matthew Warren said it is important to rationally consider all technologies that may be required to address the challenge of supplying clean, affordable and reliable energy.

“The Royal Commission considered the challenge of investing in new electricity generation technology in Australia and correctly assessed in the current environment it would not be commercially viable to generate from a nuclear plant,” he said.

“We currently have an oversupplied electricity market and tough investment conditions that make any new generation investment virtually unbankable.”

Conditions change, however, and Mr Warren said the electricity industry is already under significant pressure to reduce emissions while adopting new technologies and maintaining an affordable and reliable supply for consumers.

“It is sensible to keep all options open, including nuclear power. What we don’t want to do is impede our ability to move quickly to a clean source of power, as we transition to a low emissions energy sector,” Mr Warren said.