CANBERRA, AAP – Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce is backing small modular reactors as “ideal” nuclear technology to replace decommissioned coal-fired power stations and reduce emissions.

“Nuclear reactors can do it,” Mr Joyce told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

He said the Morrison government’s $1 billion grid reliability fund run out of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation should support small nuclear energy projects and get involved in developing the technology.

“Why not, if you want zero emissions,” he said.

Mr Joyce said people were concerned about the “intrusion” into their lives of renewable energy.


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“So if you want a small footprint, zero emissions and reliable, then you’ve got to look at nuclear.”

He said remote mining sites and communities would be ideal for prefabricated reactors using the “safe and simple” technology.

“What we have in Australia is a philosophy that rightly resides back in the 1980s,” Mr Joyce said.

“New technology has advanced massively and it’s time for our policy to meet the technology and get on board with nuclear energy.”

The Nationals also want the new fund to invest in coal power, pushing for the government bill before the parliament to be amended to be “technology neutral”.