Morrison's radio gaff opens door to nuclear energy 

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison’s tour of Tassie ahead of the impending Federal election has left many scratching their heads after the Liberal Party leader told a radio station he was open to introducing nuclear power into Australia’s energy mix. 
Morrison's radio gaff opens door to nuclear energy  Morrison's radio gaff opens door to nuclear energy  Morrison's radio gaff opens door to nuclear energy  Morrison's radio gaff opens door to nuclear energy  Morrison's radio gaff opens door to nuclear energy 

PM unexpectedly throws nuclear into the mix

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Energy & Commodities

Paul Hunt
Morrison joined presenter Brian Carlton on 89.3 Launceston FM this morning to promote the government's campaign policies, including health and irrigation promises but on the topic of energy security suggested that nuclear energy could be a viable option for the future. 
When questioned about the government's track record on energy security and emissions in Australia, Morrison told the station's audience that the government hadn't ruled out subsidising nuclear energy development. 
The prospect of nuclear power in Australia has been a topic of great debate since the 1950s, however under the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Bill of 1998 nuclear energy was banned nation-wide. 
Radio jock Carlton asked Morrison about the government's "agnostic approach" to underwriting new capacity and questioned why "nuclear is not on the agenda." 
"It's not not on the agenda," Morrison told Carlton.
 "Wherever it (energy security) can come from is fine, but it has got to be self-sustaining." 
"I am not going to roll out tens of billions of dollars in subsidies, that is not the future for energy efficiency or energy security." 
Morrison went on to say that he would be happy to take submissions from Toshiba and other nuclear developers if they could "pay its way." 
"If they want to put them forward [for future underwriting programs] they can," Morrison said. 
Previously energy minister Angus Taylor had said the government would not rule out any form of generation "even coal" but has never mentioned nuclear power. 
The prime minister's comments were quickly condemned by the Labor opposition, with frontbencher Tony Burke telling the Guardian that the comments were "extraordinary." 
Burke said changing the law to allow nuclear energy production would put coastal communities at risk as all of the previously identified potential station locations were on the coast.
However one Labor's own candidates said the same thing. 
Labor candidate Jack Ayoub who is running for the seat of Parkes in New South Wales said "the global trend is shifting mark. I believe Australia should be investing in nuclear power - we have the largest deposits of uranium in the world. Let's not simply follow, lets lead," in a Twitter post. 
Australia is currently the third largest uranium producer in the world and exports large amounts of the resource internationally. 
In March 2017, when the government was led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a group of 11 Coalition MPs from both the moderate and conservative factions of the LNP publicly announced their support for nuclear power pressuring their leader to consider nuclear energy in the medium term. 
Previous former Prime Minister Tony Abbott called on Turnbull to change laws and allow for the construction of nuclear power plants in October 2017.
Abbott then reiterated his position several times since then, and last year wrote an op-ed in tabloid The Daily Telegraph that while nuclear power was "not currently economic here it might be soon and is the only practical way for Australia to have fully emissions-free baseload power." 
In 2006 the Federal government commissioned Dr Ziggy Switkowski to lead a taskforce to prepare a study into the future feasibility of nuclear power generation in Australia.
The report of the taskforce concluded, among other things, that the "challenge to contain and reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be considerably eased by investment in nuclear plants" and that the "greenhouse gas emission reductions from nuclear power could reach 8 -17% of national emissions in 2050." 
In January 2018 report author Switkowski said Australia had "missed the boat" on nuclear power and that "window for gigawatt-scale nuclear" had closed.