The Nationals Senate Team has decided to move amendments to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) so that it can invest in all technologies that can reduce emissions.
Nationals Senate Leader, Senator McKenzie stated “The National Party Senators back our agricultural, manufacturing and mining sectors and will continue to do everything we can to ensure their sustainability and prosperity.
“We compete against the world with one hand behind our back while other nations avail themselves of cutting edge, low emissions technologies. For too long, Australia has blocked energy innovations such as nuclear and carbon capture technologies in addition to allowing High Energy Low Emissions projects.
The amendments from The Nationals Senate Team remove the restrictions on the CEFC from investing in carbon capture and storage, nuclear technology or nuclear power. The amendments will also allow the CEFC to invest in High Efficiency, Low Emissions coal fired power stations.
“The government has already backed clean coal and nuclear technologies in its low emissions roadmap. And the government has tried before to remove the prohibition on carbon capture and storage. Our amendments would make the CEFC’s mandate consistent with government policy.” Deputy Leader for the Nationals Senator Canavan said.
“Undue restrictions can only increase the cost of reducing emissions. If climate change is such a threat, we should be looking at all options, including clean coal, carbon capture and nuclear.”
NSW Senator Perin Davey added: “We cannot limit ourselves as a nation by limiting what technology we can invest in.”
“We talk about the potential for CCS in agriculture, yet we won’t let the CEFC invest in it.
“And it is blindly hypocritical to preach net zero and block a zero-emission technology that can meet base load power requirements consistently and reliably – nuclear.”
To produce Australia’s current annual electricity generation the land usage of nuclear is less than 2 per cent of that used by renewable technology, allowing greater land use for other industries.
Senator McMahon, representing the Northern Territory said “The National Party Senators will not take a backwards step in ensuring our communities are ready for future energy challenges and opportunities.”
“I’ve been an advocate for lifting the ban on nuclear energy for some time, when it comes to emissions, reliability and power output, nuclear energy is way out in front and should be considered in the energy mix.”
Queensland Senator Susan McDonald said “Investment in energy infrastructure needs to be driven by technology. It is ridiculous to deprive the Australian economy of new energy solutions, that are reliable, affordable and increasingly more efficient, simply because other forms of power-generation are more fashionable”.
The Australian Government’s “Low Emissions Technology Statement” released last year includes consideration of emerging nuclear technologies like small modular reactors. The Nationals Senate Team’s amendments would remove a ban on the CEFC funding “nuclear technology”.
In 2017, the Government committed to remove a ban on the CEFC being able to invest in carbon capture and storage technologies.
Nuclear is currently used in over 30 countries worldwide, with France obtaining most of its electricity from nuclear power. Australia is the third largest producer of uranium globally and has the largest known uranium reserves of any nation.