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Australian government to examine SMRs as part of energy planning

The Australian federal government wants to look at the possibility of deploying small modular reactors as part of its policy to achieve its medium- and long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target as part of its obligation under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The nuclear proposal was contained in a discussion paper, released on 21 May, that is part of the ruling Liberal-National party coalition government's policy to detail how it will meet its target of reducing GHG emissions by 26-28% by 2030 from 2005 levels, as well as the broader Paris aim of the globe achieving net-zero emissions.

The discussion paper said emerging nuclear technologies – for example, small modular reactors – have potential but require R&D and identified deployment pathways. “Engineering, cost and environmental challenges, alongside social acceptability of nuclear power in Australia, will be key determinants of any future deployment,” the paper said.

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