Nuclear energy: the debate Australia has to have

The world is hungry for low cost, low emissions energy, but in Australia nuclear energy is still off the agenda. Why do we keep avoiding the nuclear power option?

On Monday, 28 July 2014, ABC 666’s Genevieve Jacobs spoke to three of the nation’s most compelling experts, including ECI Director Ken Baldwin, on an issue that Australia cannot continue to ignore. This public event is part of the Science and Technology Australia (STA) Topical Science Forum.

Some of the questions raised during the event include: Will other low emissions technology be enough? Why do we keep avoiding the nuclear power option? How dangerous is nuclear energy? How long before our entire region is powered by nuclear energy, leaving us as the odd one out?

Professor Baldwin was joined by distinguished experts in the field of nuclear power and technology, including Barry Brook and Ian Hore-Lacy.

About the Speakers: 

Ken Baldwin

Professor Ken Baldwin is the Director of the Energy Change Institute at The Australian National University, where he is also Deputy Director of the Research School of Physics and Engineering. Since 2011 he has been a member of the Project Steering Committee for the Australian Energy Technology Assessment (AETA) produced by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) in the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.

Professor Baldwin is an inaugural ANU Public Policy Fellow, and winner of the 2004 Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science, for his role in initiating and championing “Science meets Parliament”.

In 2007, Professor Baldwin was awarded the WH Beattie Steele Medal, the highest honour of the Australian Optical Society, and in 2010 he was awarded the Barry Inglis Medal by the National Measurement Institute for excellence in precision measurement. Professor Baldwin is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics (UK), the Optical Society of America and the Australian Institute of Physics.


Barry Brook

Barry Brook, a leading environmental scientist, is a Professor at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute, where he holds the Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change. He has published three books, 250 refereed scientific papers, and regularly writes popular articles for the media.

His awards include the 2006 Australian Academy of Science Fenner Medal and the 2010 Community Science Educator of the Year. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of extinction, analysis of energy systems for carbon mitigation, and models of the synergies of human interactions with the biosphere

Ian Hore-Lacy

Ian Hore-Lacy is a Senior Research Analyst with the World Nuclear Association, an international trade association based in London. His function is primarily focused on public information on nuclear power via the Web Information Library, where some 200 papers are kept up to date.

He is author of Nuclear Electricity, the tenth edition of which was published in 2012 by the World Nuclear University as Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century. A Chinese edition has also been published.

His particular interests range from the technical to the ethical and theological aspects of mineral resources and their use, especially nuclear power. He has written several books on mining, environmental, economic and related issues, the latest being Responsible Dominion – a Christian approach to Sustainable Development, published in 2006 by Regent College Press.

Genevieve Jacobs

Genevieve Jacobs always wanted to be a journalist, but she took the scenic route to her present position as a presenter on ABC in court, door knocking, bushfires, darts tournaments and regular cups of tea round at the police station. She won the Country Press Association’s the EC Sommerlad Award for best coverage of a local news story for her work on a devastating bushfire.

As a freelancer, Genevieve has written for national arts and gardening magazines including Country Style, Art & Australia and Your Garden. She co-ordinated Australia’s Open Garden Scheme in Southern NSW and the ACT, served on the national editorial committee for the Scheme’s guidebook and was team leader for NSW. She has lectured widely on Australian artists and their gardens, speaking at venues including the National Gallery and Sydney Botanic Gardens.

Since 2006, Genevieve has worked for 666 ABC Canberra, moving from weekend programming to a fulltime role as the afternoons presenter. It’s a challenge she has attacked with relish, providing her with the opportunity to expand her interests in politics and current affairs, history, the arts and the environment. Genevieve’s trademark is a strong connection with local issues, and a warm, well informed and humorous presentation style. In addition to her radio role, Genevieve has also appeared regularly on ABCTV’s Insiders programme as host of the Your Shout segment, and has made several videocasts for ABC Local Radio’s website.

She has been widely involved in community events in Canberra as a guest speaker, facilitator and MC. She has also been a panellist for forums including the National Museum’s annual review of the year’s events and has served as a member of the Canberra anti-poverty week steering committee and the Australian Institute of Architects award jury.

Genevieve is married with four children, and lives on a family farm on the South West Slopes of NSW. She describes herself as incurably nosy and loves nothing more than a good yarn and the chance to find out about people’s stories.


Updated:  15 December 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, Energy Change Institute/Page Contact:  Webmaster