Thursday, December 01, 2005

Minister dismisses nuclear power - National -

Minister dismisses nuclear power - National -

NUCLEAR power is not an economically viable option for Australia, according to federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell.

Senator Campbell said while he welcomed a debate and a study on nuclear power, he did not agree with his Liberal colleagues that it was economically feasible for Australia.

Senator Campbell also plans to convince Kyoto Protocol countries attending the United Nations climate conference in Montreal to abandon plans to find "the son of Kyoto", and instead focus on a new framework without binding targets.

Science Minister Brendan Nelson this week announced that he and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane had asked Prime Minister John Howard to establish a $1 million study into Australia's nuclear power industry. He said given Australia was a major uranium exporter, it needed to investigate nuclear power to meet rising energy needs.

Senator Campbell said it would be difficult to expand Australia's nuclear power industry in light of public opposition. "I think nuclear power is incredibly politically sensitive in the Australian electorate," he said. "I remain to be convinced that nuclear power is likely to be an economic option for Australia for a seriously long amount of time."

Representatives from more than 180 countries have gathered in Montreal this week to discuss how to replace Kyoto after the first commitment period ends in 2012. Under this first period, industrialised nations have to reduce emissions to about 8 per cent below 1990 levels, which Australia is on target to meet.

But Senator Campbell said Australia needed a 60 per cent reduction by 2050 and ratifying Kyoto would not achieve this.


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