Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to appoint nuclear power advocate Dr Alan Finkel as chief scientist http://m.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/prime-minister-malcolm-turnbull-to-appoint-nuclear-power-advocate-dr-alan-finkel-as-chief-scientist/story-fnpp4dj5-1227581950975 October 26, 2015
The Herald Sun has learned that Dr Alan Finkel, a respected engineer who has long called for nuclear to be part of the nation’s energy mix, will this week be named as Australia’s chief scientist.
The appointment by Malcolm Turnbull could reignite public and political divisions over a nuclear industry, which has been debated since the mid-1970s and spawned a political and environment movement in the 1980s.
Dr Finkel, the outgoing chancellor of Monash University, has argued nuclear power is needed for Australia to achieve an “abundant, reliable supply of low-emissions electricity”.
The Prime Minister vowed last week to put science “right at the centre” of his Government’s agenda and at the “very heart” of its future.
As president of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Dr Finkel said Australia had a proud record for regulatory oversight and would “without doubt” be able to manage a nuclear electricity system at “very high safety levels” . Dr Finkel’s pending appointment comes as Labor leader Bill Shorten yesterday ruled out supporting a switch to nuclear energy, despite a push from state governments.
A divide within the party was reopened at the weekend, when Mr Shorten said he was prepared to assess the outcome of South Australia’s nuclear inquiry but federal Labor’s priority was renewable energy.
Mr Turnbull, as environment minister in the Howard government, said in order to deal with climate change, a “nuclear option” must be on the table while Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said last year nuclear was an “obvious direction” for Australia as it considered how to cut carbon dioxide emissions after 2020.
Dr Finkel will replace Professor Ian Chubb after his five-year stint as chief scientist.