Howard says Australians must learn to accept nuclear power
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.