UP AND ATOM: Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd is behind a push by his Nationals colleague Keith Pitt to investigate nuclear power in Australia.
UP AND ATOM: Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd is behind a push by his Nationals colleague Keith Pitt to investigate nuclear power in Australia. JULIEN WARNAND

Member for Flynn backs calls for nuclear power inquiry

MEMBER for Flynn Ken O'Dowd has thrown his weight behind Nationals colleague Keith Pitt's call for a committee to investigate nuclear power as part of Australia's energy mix.

"Australian households and industry are currently paying the highest price in the word for electricity, although we have all the natural resources that most other countries don't have,” Mr O'Dowd said.

Mr O'Dowd said one of the reasons for this is an excess of "second-tier electricity retailers who do not generate electricity” and reliance on a narrow base of coal and gas, buttressed by renewable energy.

"That is why I support Keith Pitt and others who are calling for an enquiry into a feasibility study on bringing nuclear power 'into the mix' of the future energy supply chain,” he said.

"We have 40 per cent of the world's uranium (29 per cent according to the World Nuclear Association) and providing the technology is there, why not?

"We export uranium to many countries around the world.”

Mr O'Dowd said the example of South Australia, which has had issues with the reliability of its network, shows renewable energy can't take up all the slack of coal-fired generation as stations close due to ageing infrastructure.

"I am certainly not convinced that this is not the direction that we should be heading,” he said.

"A 'mix', yes, but still a heavy reliance on coal, gas and maybe nuclear.”

Mr O'Dowd denied this was bad timing, with the recent success of the Netflix miniseries Chernobyl.

"Chernobyl happened in 1986. Hopefully we have come a long ways in technology since then and that's why I support the call for an inquiry,” he said.

The nuclear push was started by Mr Pitt, the Member for Hinkler and an electrical engineer, who told the Sunday Telegraph that Australia needed to be armed with the latest information about nuclear power.

"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,” he said.

Queensland Liberal senator James McGrath also supports the inquiry as a way to move past the taboo which has developed around nuclear power in Australia.

"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.”


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