Australia warms to nuclear power
Oct 16, 2006, 15:08 GMT
Sydney - Australia should consider the nuclear option as part of an antidote to global warming, Prime Minister John Howard said Monday.
The coal-fired electricity plants that Australia relies on for almost 90 per cent of its power generation are big producers of greenhouse gas emissions and environmentalists have urged a switch to alternatives.
'Those who say they are in favour of doing something about global warming but turn their faces against considering nuclear power are unreal,' Howard told reporters.
'It's part of the solution - I'm not saying it's the only solution - I just think that if we're serious about having a debate about global warming, particularly as the holder of some of the largest uranium reserves in the world, we have got to be willing to consider the nuclear option,' he added.
The prime minister appointed the former head of Telstra, the country's biggest phone company, to lead an inquiry into uranium mining, processing and nuclear generating plants. Nuclear physicist Ziggy Switkowski's panel will report next month - and is expected to advocate a reconsideration of the reliance on coal for power generation.
Greens member of parliament Christine Milne accused Howard of signalling to Asian countries that Australia could soon be nuclear-weapons ready.
'That's the only take that the region will have on Prime Minister Howard's action,' Milne said. 'For the prime minister to now say Australia wants to court nuclear power will be seen as ratcheting up the arms race in this region.'© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur