Friday, August 12, 2005

Nuclear power debate false, says Ferguson

The Australian: Nuclear power debate false, says Ferguson [August 12, 2005]

Katharine Murphy

AUSTRALIA is having a false debate about nuclear power because people are not considering the long-term environmental costs of relying on coal, according to Labor resources spokesman Martin Ferguson.

Mr Ferguson said yesterday the costs of nuclear energy were inflated because the industry was required to include the cost of decommissioning plants, whereas the environmental costs of coal-fired power stations were not routinely considered.
"The debate today is a false debate," Mr Ferguson told a parliamentary committee examining uranium mining.

His forthright remarks are the latest in a series of statements he has made defying strong concerns within his party about expanding Australian uranium mining and using nuclear power.

Some government ministers have argued that Australia will not have a nuclear industry for at least 20 years because coal-fired power is much cheaper than the nuclear alternative.

Mr Ferguson also asked the chief executive of the world's largest uranium company, Cameco, to provide the committee with some practical advice about how to maintain successful relationships with indigenous people in remote mining areas.

The Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, which represents the traditional owners of the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory, has argued in a submission that mining has destroyed their country.

Jerry Grandey, chief executive of Cameco, yesterday urged Australia to impose federal control over uranium mining to allow miners to have uniform regulations across state borders


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