The Green Party has a 'complete blindness' to using nuclear power, and will have to get over it.
That is according to Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry at UCC, William Reville.
He was responding to comments from Eirgrid CEO Mark Foley, who said Ireland should give serious consideration to a potential role for nuclear energy to help achieve our ambition for a net-zero power system.
Environment Minister Eamon Ryan has dismissed the idea, saying it would be too expensive and cumbersome.
Prof Reville told Newstalk Breakfast we will have to look at this.
"I would agree fully - we need to seriously consider the nuclear option as we go forward with our planning," he said.
"I've very surprised that nobody has expressed the opinion to [Minister Ryan] that nuclear would be a good option for us at this stage.
"It's, on the one hand, good to have the Greens in power - or with influence - at a time like the present, where we have to bring in urgent measures to deal with global warming.
"But they do have a downside: a complete blindness regarding nuclear power.
"I suppose asking many Greens to seriously consider a nuclear option is somewhat like asking The Vatican to look favourably on the use of condoms.
"They're going to have to get over this, obviously".
'The safest option'
He said he believes concerns around the risks are overplayed.
"In the field of power generation, nuclear energy is by far the safest option and the record proves that," he said.
"There is the question of long-lived nuclear waste, and that is really the only valid criticism remaining.
"Nuclear plants in operation are extremely safe.
"The dangers of long-lived nuclear waste are exaggerated, but they are there".
He said radioactive waste could initially be stored underwater, before being transformed "into a form of a glass and it's stored on-site like in Sellafield, pending removal to the stable geological depository".
He said there is a lack of understanding around nuclear power.
"People confuse the nuclear power plant with the nuclear bomb and the mushroom cloud and all of that that we all grew up with fearing," he said.
"So it's a lack of understanding.
"In a world where we wouldn't have to depend on nuclear, we can get away with that, but that doesn't obtain anymore.
"It looks like we will now become dependent on using nuclear, at least to some extent, and we should just go ahead and be sensible about it," he added.