Nuclear energy is off the table as a power source for Australia.
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says Australia has abundant uranium and is regarded as a safe and secure supplier to its neighbours but the federal government has no interest in developing it here as an energy source.
“The reality is that in Australia the appetite for nuclear fuel, which did get as high as around 50 per cent within the community, has waned quite significantly since the Fukushima incident,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.
“Combined with the fact that we are completely blessed with a range of energy options which include coal, gas and renewables, the community has made it clear that this is not an issue they wish to pursue at this time.”
Mr Macfarlane made the comments launching the government’s discussion paper on Australia’s energy future.
He said it would focus on attracting investment, lowering prices, securing gas to the eastern states and sustainable development and use.
“The paper is about ensuring that we get our energy mix right in Australia but at the same time build on our competitiveness as a country, by ensuring that energy is affordable and available,” he said.
He said renewable energy had a significant role but said it required bipartisan support from Labor, because investment would stall if the opposition took a political approach.
Mr Macfarlane said the government was considering linking the Northern Territory’s gas supplies into the eastern gas market to ensure supply to NSW but said it would not be cheap.
“Whatever the outcome, the price of gas in New South Wales will continue to rise,” he said.
He said further deregulation and technological advancements in the electricity industry should drive power prices down.