Nuclear power concerns: US expert says Aussies need to ‘get over it’

American nuclear power advocate Michael Shellenberger spoke at the International Mines and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne yesterday, stating that Australians need to get over their hang ups about nuclear power.

Schellenberger, president of clean power research and policy organisation Environmental Progress, defended nuclear power as safe energy option with minimal waste production.

“Whenever I get an invitation to come to Australia I like to come, because it’s such a rich and intelligent country,” he explained, “but it’s just got this one little hang-up about nuclear. So I like to come and talk a little bit about why I think the country needs to get over it a little bit.”

Schellenberger cited nuclear power as a viable energy solution to combat climate change, but that the industry was at risk of becoming a niche technology.

“It should be going in the other direction,” he stressed. “We should be rapidly expanding our nuclear base in order to combat climate change, but we aren’t.”

Australia has traditionally been quite averse to the implementation of nuclear power facilities; despite extensive uranium mining activity, construction of nuclear plants in Australia is currently prohibited, though notable advocates for policy change include former prime minister Tony Abbott.