John Howard says Australia needs to seize the opportunity of the AUKUS pact to develop a domestic nuclear power industry, declaring it “plainly illogical” to have nuclear submarines while banning civilian reactors.
The former prime minister said “it’s time to do something about nuclear energy”, after raising the issue at a cybersecurity conference in Canberra.
“In the light of the nuclear submarine agreement we should move to end the absurd prohibition on nuclear energy in Australia,” he said. “Given all the bipartisanship on the AUKUS agreement Anthony Albanese should pick up the phone and ask Peter Dutton to work together to allow nuclear energy in Australia. It is plainly illogical to purchase nuclear-powered submarines and have a ban on nuclear energy.” Mr Howard said nuclear energy would deliver baseload power while helping to slash carbon emissions.
The Prime Minister is a staunch opponent of any shift towards nuclear power. The Coalition never seriously advocated for nuclear energy when in government, but has sought to put the issue on the national agenda since going into opposition. Its climate and energy spokesman Ted O’Brien has been pushing hard on the issue, arguing it is time for “a mature and honest conversation” about nuclear energy in Australia.