In light of the significance of global climate change, and as the world's largest holder of uranium reserves, Australia has a clear responsibility to develop its uranium resources in a sustainable way—irrespective of whether or not we end up using nuclear power.Call me cynical, but it sounds as if he was really saying: “Australia has a clear opportunity to make lots of money selling its uranium.” Obviously, there is opposition to his plan. The paper quoted Annette Brownlie, a spokesperson for a group called Just Peace, saying:
I think Mr Howard has just committed political suicide, given the statistics showing the public opposition—not only towards uranium mining but to the development of nuclear power in this country. Problems of waste and nuclear proliferation and nuclear accidents are all on people's minds, they haven't gone away. People really are very, very afraid of nuclear energy and the whole cycle.She went on, saying it would raise suspicions that Australia was just an outpost of the US, and that…
Our neighbouring countries will have legitimate fear that Australia may become a nuclear-armed nation.Clearly, that would be a concern of nuclear-free New Zealand.
But critics are also quick to note that safety and proliferation issues aside, there’s another huge problem with nuclear power: It requires a lot of water, and as droughts spread and endure in Australia, fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce—so much so that there are already plans being made to convert treated waste water (sewerage) into drinking water.
Add it all up—public opposition, probable environmental implications, and Howard’s obvious determination to please the Bush administration—and one can’t help but wonder what Howard’s playing at.