Nationals leader David Littleproud says small-scale nuclear technology should be considered for the nation’s energy mix in a bid to reduce emissions and improve reliability.
In a letter to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Mr Littleproud calls for a national energy summit to find long-term solutions to Australia’s energy needs.
Mr Littleproud said small, modular nuclear reactors should be part of the discussion for policy development.
They are substantially smaller than typical reactors, are partly underground and have reduced fuel requirements.
The radius for an emergency planning zone is 14 kilometres less than for a typical reactor.
“The Nationals are not advocating large-scale nuclear power plants but want to explore the opportunities emerging technologies provide Australia,” Mr Littleproud’s letter reads.
“While there has been opposition to nuclear energy within the community and most political parties, the Nationals believe that sentiment is changing.”
Australia is in the grips of an energy crisis, with prices in the southeast of the country soaring amid supply issues fuelled by factors including the war in Ukraine.
Energy Minister Chris Bowen is meeting with his state and territory counterparts on Wednesday to discuss fixes to the problem.
But the Albanese government has dismissed nuclear energy as an option, with Mr Bowen rebuffing Mr Littleproud’s advocacy of nuclear power on social media.
“After nine years of energy policy chaos and rejection of the cheapest form of energy (renewables) the National Party thinks the answer to high prices is the most expensive form of energy – nuclear,” he wrote on Twitter.
“It appears they didn’t get the memo from the electorate on May 21 (the election).”