Pro-renewable chief scientist opens discussion to nuclear, wind and solar

Chief scientist Alan Finkel

Australia’s new chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel said Australia should consider building nuclear power plants and keep emerging wind and solar energy storage technology in discussions about energy needs and carbon emissions.

At a press conference with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, Dr Finkel said it was critically important Australia reduced its carbon emissions – and the best way to do this was with zero-emission electricity generation.

Dr Finkel said nuclear energy should be considered, but acknowledged it comes with issues including the fact Australia don’t yet have the infrastructure or training needed to make it a viable industry.

“It (nuclear) should absolutely be considered for low-emissions or zero emissions future, if that’s what we’re looking for. But it’s not the only way forward,” Dr Finkel said.

“With enough storage we could do it in this country with solar and wind.”

Mr Turnbull said all options should be considered for delivering cheap electricity and reducing carbon emissions.

“Nuclear energy has low emissions but is hugely expensive to construct and obviously has a number of very big environmental problems associated with it, or challenges associated with it,” Mr Turnbull said.