Nuclear Debate – is there an appetite?

Nuclear Debate – is there an appetite?


Current nuclear power plants, the development of small modular reactors (SMRs) and advanced reactor technology. Where they are appropriately suited and the current demand for modular reactors.


Dr Mark Ho

Dr Mark Ho works at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) as a reactor systems specialist and is the president of the Australian Nuclear Association. He currently supervises 3 PhD students working on advanced reactor designs and design tools.


Inherent challenges of Nuclear Energy in WA:

As you no doubt know, the state has a small population on an isolated grid (SWIS). While nuclear power plants certainly fit other Australian States, the current 1.1GW plants are too large for WA and so the opportunity exists to look at the new generation of small factory manufactured power plants such as NuScale or the General Electric BWRX 300. These come in varying outputs in the range of 300 – 360 MW.

Mr Parker will be looking at their economics, the likely LCOE (Levelized Cost of Energy) and the suitable locations for such a plant.

In the context of deep carbon emissions reductions he will also review the options for the SWIS of:

a)persisting with a system of wind and solar generators backed up by gas with substantial levels of grid services and batteries vs

b)progressively installing small nuclear power plants designed to load follow operating with by optimised levels of solar and gas. This would require careful consideration as to the long term large range of residual demand.


Robert Parker

Robert Parker graduated in 1974 as a Civil Engineer from the University of New South Wales where he obtained a Masters in Engineering Science. He spent 40 years in engineering design, project management and project development. Within Australia his work included dams, water treatment plants, rail, freeway and bridge projects. This was followed by extensive international assignments on large dam and hydropower jobs including projects in Vietnam, Iran, Eritrea and Indonesia.

Concerned with the threat of man-made climate change he moved into the arena of climate change activism however recognised that no effective action would occur without the use of nuclear energy. This led to the completion of a Masters in Nuclear Science at ANU and continued study into the provision of energy in Australia and the nuclear fuel cycle.

Advocacy in the public arena for the use of nuclear energy especially through the development of more bipartisan approaches is vital if nuclear energy is to be adopted in Australia. Rob therefore carries out regular nuclear forums in Australia with a particular focus on community and environmental groups. Rob is the Vice President of the Australian Nuclear Association and a past President.

He is a regular attendee and representative of the ANA at the ICAPP Congresses (International Congress on Advances on Nuclear Power Plants). Most recently in May of 2019 he signed a declaration to the Clean Energy Ministerial held in Vancouver calling for increased financing for nuclear energy to address low carbon energy,

He has visited the nuclear power plants, fuel manufacturing facilities, power plant fabrication facilities and waste disposal sites in the USA, France and South Korea. He also took a detailed tour around Fukushima Province in Japan to look at impacts on people’s lives of the meltdowns at the nearby power station. A report on that tour can be viewed at Three Days in Fukushima | Nuclear for Climate Australia.


Richard Homsany

Executive Chairman, Toro Energy

LL.B (Hons), B. Com, Grad. Dip. Fin & Inv, F Fin, MAICD, CPA

Richard Homsany has extensive experience in the resources industry, having been the Executive Vice President for Australia at TSX listed Mega Uranium Ltd since April 2010. He has also worked for North Ltd, an ASX top 50-listed internationally diversified resources company in operations, risk management and corporate prior to its takeover by Rio Tinto Ltd.

Richard is an experienced corporate lawyer and Certified Practising Accountant advising numerous clients in the energy and resources sector, including public listed companies. He was Corporate Partner of international law firm DLA Phillips Fox (now DLA Piper) where he advised clients on a range of transactions and matters including capital raisings, IPO’s, stock exchange listings, mergers & acquisitions, finance, joint ventures, divestments and governance.


Dr Robert Barr AM

Dr Robert Barr AM is a consulting engineer, director of his company Electric Power Consulting Pty Ltd and a past National President of the Electric Energy Society of Australia. Robert has over 46 years experience in the field of power systems and electricity distribution, is a fellow of Engineers Australia and a member of Consult Australia. Robert is an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Wollongong and was awarded the title of Australian National Professional Electrical Engineer of the year in 2012. Dr Barr became a Member of the Order of Australia in 2013.

Since establishing Electric Power Consulting Pty Ltd in 1989, Robert has been providing specialised electrical engineering consulting services across all Australian states and territories and overseas. Robert's main clients include electricity supply companies, high voltage electricity customers, railway companies, federal, state & local governments, universities and other large energy users.

Event Details

Tuesday 11 August 2020

3pm AWST | 4.30 ACST | 5pm AEST


Online webinar


EESA members: $0
Non-members: $30


The WA chapter of the Electric Energy Society of Australia.

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