Adelaide professor sees nuclear as the future of Australian energy

A leading environmental scientist at the University of Adelaide has pointed to nuclear power as a potential solution to cutting carbon emissions.

In fact Australia's energy future may be entirely nuclear according to professor Barry Brook, director of climate science at the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute, who believes that nuclear power will replace oil and gas needs entirely by 2100.

"Coal, oil, and natural gas are the main cause of recent global warming, and these fossil fuels must be completely replaced with clean sustainable energy sources in the coming decades if serious climate change impacts are to be avoided," said professor Brooks.

Professor Brooks argued that the Integral Fast Reactor design is an efficient and safe way of extracting energy from uranium, and does not have the same degree of radioactive waste as previous nuclear plants. 

According to the World Nuclear Association, nuclear energy is a very cost effective means of generating power. While the initial investment is large, once a nuclear power plant is up and running it operates at very low costs.

This implies that the introduction of nuclear power could potentially reduce electricity prices in Australia. 

However the risks involved are well documented. In 2011, tsunami damage caused overheating and meltdowns at the Fukishima Daiichi Power Plant in Japan, in what was the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Professors Brooks expects that the first small model reactors will be constructed in the Australian outback by 2025.

Posted by Charlie Moore