“Australians showed true common sense in the last election
“Australians showed true common sense in the last election"

Should Australia go nuclear? These 'rebel' MPs think so

A REBEL group of Coalition MPs will reactivate a campaign to lift the ban on nuclear power in Australia in an effort to drive down power bills and reduce emissions.

Weeks after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had "no plans" to end the country's prohibition on nuclear power, several Queensland Nationals MPs are preparing to put forward a motion in the Senate to set up committee to investigate nuclear power as part of Australia's energy mix.

With parliament set to return next month, Queensland Nationals MP Keith Pitt, an electrical engineer, is leading the push backed by fellow Queenslander Senator James McGrath who is prepared to move a motion to establish a select committee on July 3.

"I am not saying that there is a nuclear reactor coming to a shopping centre near you but we have to be able to investigate all options," Mr Pitt told The Sunday Telegraph.

Queensland Nationals MP Keith Pitt. Picture: Kym Smith
Queensland Nationals MP Keith Pitt. Picture: Kym Smith

"All I am calling for is an inquiry as to whether it's a feasible option to ensure we are up to date with the latest information."

Mr Pitt pointed to the use of nuclear energy in Europe where it has helped drive down carbon emissions and reduce power bills. In France, nuclear power provides around 75 per cent of country's electricity and household power bills are 17 per cent below the European Union average.

"This is something that works 24 hours a day seven days a week," Mr Pitt said.

"If you want to have your cake and eat it to you have to look at every option."

Buoyed by the election result, Mr Pitt said it was clear that voters still wanted action on climate change but in a "balanced way".

"Australians showed true common sense in the last election," Mr Pitt said.

"Voters are desperate for relief in energy cost and we need to look at every opportunity to deliver on those commitments."

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: Lukas Coch
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: Lukas Coch

Senator James McGrath told The Sunday Telegraphwill put forward the motion in the senate to set up a committee, which will only go to a vote if more than one Senator objects.

"This is one way to test the concerns people might have about nuclear power and even those who are opposed to nuclear energy should support it as they can air their concerns," Senator McGrath said.

"Nuclear power is the one form of energy we are not allowed to talk to about … the best way for us to discuss it is through a parliamentary inquiry."

Australia has the world's largest uranium resources, accounting for about one-third of the world total. Senator McGrath said Australia is also political and geographically stability meaning it could be a "viable option".

During the election campaign, Mr Morrison was forced to clarify comments that nuclear power shouldn't be off the agenda if it stacks up. He told Tasmanian radio, nuclear power was "not 'not' on the agenda" but later tweeted that the Coalition had "no plans" to lift the ban after a backlash from Labor.

 

Senator James McGrath.
Senator James McGrath.


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