PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has welcomed recommendations that a uranium mining ban in New South Wales be repealed.
The recommendation was one of those made by the New South Wales Legislative Council’s report into the Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Repeal Bill.
“This report represents another major step forward in the national debate where nuclear energy is at last being considered on its merits of providing reliable, affordable zero emission power capable of meeting the needs of Australian industry, households and communities,” said MCA CEO Tania Constable.
“It highlights that the current ban on uranium mining is impeding New South Wales’ understanding of this important resource, and that the New South Wales government should encourage exploration for uranium. Australia has the opportunity to expand its role as a secure, reliable and sustainable uranium producer.
“Australia is endowed with the world’s largest uranium resource but is only the third largest producer. Enhancing the knowledge of New South Wales’ potential uranium resource will enhance Australia’s presence in global energy markets.”
The report also found that all energy options needed to be considered, particularly in securing affordable, reliable, sustainable baseload power, including nuclear, with one of the recommendations stating that the New South Wales government should call for the repeal of the Commonwealth’s ban on nuclear facilities.
“In calling for a better understanding of nuclear energy in a New South Wales context, along with the workforce and regulatory requirements, the report is proposing a series of sensible steps, similar to those proposed by Federal House of Representatives nuclear inquiry.
“Federal and state bans on nuclear energy deny Australians the opportunity to consider the world’s most proven, deployable, zero emissions electricity source,” Constable said.
She pointed out that nuclear power supplies 20% of US electricity, 18% of OECD electricity and over 70% of French electricity giving that country one of the most affordable low emissions electricity systems in the developed world.
“New advanced small modular reactors are rapidly proceeding through design approval processes in North America. Australia should ready itself as they come to market with strong potential applications in our electricity mix. This is what the New South Wales report is trying to do,” she added.