MPs in fresh push for nuclear power plan

The Liberal-National coalition is edging closer to a nuclear power plan to take to the next election, with a two-day forum to feed into the policy.

Former minister David Gillespie, the chair of the Parliamentary Friends of the Nuclear Industry, has convened the forum at Parliament House on Thursday and Friday to discuss the role of nuclear power in reaching Australia's net-zero emissions by 2050 target.

An Energy Policy Institute of Australia report to be discussed at the forum found the cost of nuclear power was almost a third of that estimated in a recent CSIRO report.

The CSIRO's GenCost22 report put the capital cost of small modular reactors in 2030 at a minimum $7904/kW or $16,773/kW in the high case assumption.

However, the institute's review of the report found the cost was more like $4500/kW.

The CSIRO found solar and wind "continue to be the cheapest sources of electricity for any expected share of renewables in the grid" and that it did not see "any prospect of domestic (nuclear power) projects this decade, given the technology's commercial immaturity and high cost".

"Future cost reductions are possible but depend on its successful commercial deployment overseas," the science agency said.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has joined an International Atomic Energy Agency project to appraise the costs of modular nuclear power, with the project due for completion in December 2024.

Dr Gillespie said it was important to get factual information in front of decision-makers and policy developers.

"We've assembled Australia's leading engineers who have run and operated huge electricity grids and power stations, including nuclear power stations," he told AAP.

"The reality is that nuclear power can very safely provide low-carbon energy at a fraction of the cost compared to AEMO's planned transition relying solely on renewables."

Nuclear power production is banned under two federal laws.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has asked for work to be done on a nuclear power policy, but has yet to confirm what position the coalition would take to the next election.

Dr Gillespie said the "iterative process" of coming up with a policy continued and the forum would inform the process.

"I, and other supporters in the National Party and Liberal Party have made their decision but there is a process," he said.

"As each day goes by, I grow confident, but I don't want to pre-empt the decision."

He believed there was support within Labor and other parties for nuclear power.

"We (in Australia) have a very long history of operating three nuclear reactors since the 50s, we have a very good regulatory process and are involved in all the non-proliferation treaties."

Australia also has the world's largest uranium deposits.