Howard says Aus­tralians must learn to ac­cept nu­clear power

Townsville Bulletin - - Nye — Party Central -

AUS­TRALIANS need to ac­cept that nu­clear power is part of the so­lu­tion to the na­tion’s en­ergy needs, Prime Min­is­ter John Howard says.

Re­leas­ingthe fi­nal re­port of the Gov­ern­ment’s Ura­nium Min­ingPro­cess­ing and Nu­clear En­ergy Task Force yes­ter­day, Mr Howard said nu­clear en­ergy could help stem the in­evitable rise in the cost of elec­tric­ity as the na­tion at­tempts to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions.

When ques­tioned on com­mu­nity fears about nu­clear power, Mr Howard said he would not ob­ject to a nu­clear plant be­ing­built ad­ja­cent to his home.

‘‘I wouldn’t have any ob­jec­tion, none what­so­ever. I’m se­ri­ous, quite se­ri­ous,’’ he told re­porters out­side his res­i­dence in Kir­ri­billi yes­ter­day.

Mr Howard said the re­port by Dr Ziggy Switkowski clearly demon­strated there were no sound rea­sons to pre­vent ura­nium miningin Aus­tralia. He said the Gov­ern­ment would re­spond swiftly to the re­port’s rec­om­men­da­tions.

‘‘Nu­clear power is part of the so­lu­tion both to Aus­tralia’s en­ergy and cli­mate change chal­lenges,’’ he said.

But Mr Howard ad­mit­ted nu­clear power was not a ‘sil­ver bul­let’ and was not eco­nom­i­cally fea­si­ble at the mo­ment.

‘‘It’s not go­ing to come im­me­di­ately be­cause it’s not eco­nomic at the present time, but it will be­come in­creas­ingly eco­nomic as we clean up the use of coal,’’ he said.

Mr Howard called on the state gov­ern­ments to re­move the ex­ist­in­gre­stric­tions around Aus­tralia on the ex­port of ura­nium.

He said Aus­tralia had close to 40 per cent of the world’s ura­nium re­serves.

‘‘A na­tion like Aus­tralia, with all our ura­nium re­serves and given our power needs and the fact that they will dou­ble be­tween now and 2050, we would be crazy in the ex­treme if we didn’t al­low for the de­vel­op­ment of nu­clear power,’’ he said.

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