SYDNEY, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- If Australia takes up large-scale nuclear power generation, there's a real risk of "catastrophic failure," nuclear physicist Ziggy Switkowski warned on Thursday.
Giving testimony in Sydney as part of a Federal Parliamentary Inquiry set up to determine the feasibility of nuclear power options Down Under, Switkowski said after meltdowns such as Chernobyl, Fukushima and Three Mile Island, the window for Australia to adopt the technology has now closed.
"After those events, the possibility of catastrophic failure within the nuclear system is non-negligible," the Australian Associated Press reported.
"Australia has even struggled to get traction to build a small low-level facility in central Australia.
"Issues also arise around managing nuclear waste and could be a cost burden on future generations for hundreds of years."
Although the expert and business executive, who is now heading up the installation of Australia's National Broadband Network, told the committee that large-scale nuclear generation could provide "efficient and weather resilient" energy with low greenhouse gas emissions.
He also said that if Australia were to invest in nuclear power, the emerging technology of small modular reactors would be a much more viable option.
Factory-produced and installed on-site, Switkowski said he could see the benefits of small modular reactors being used in regional Australia to support mining sites and desalination plants.
Commenced on Aug. 6, the inquiry will run until Sept. 16.