LAUNCESTON, Australia, Aug 5 (Reuters) – If another sign was needed that Australia’s energy policy is dysfunctional, the government provided it in the form of launching a parliamentary inquiry to consider nuclear power.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor last week requested a parliamentary committee examine requirements for developing a nuclear power industry in Australia.
The country currently has a moratorium on nuclear power and has no reactors, other than a small unit used for medical purposes located near the main city of Sydney. However, Australia is the world’s third-largest miner of uranium, accounting for about 10% of global output of the nuclear fuel.
Taylor’s decision to have parliament investigate nuclear power has been broadly viewed in Australia as a sop to the right-wing of his ruling conservative Liberal-National coalition government.
Several prominent members of the coalition have been promoting nuclear power as a solution to Australia’s high electricity costs, the ageing of the existing coal-fired fleet and the need to lower the country’s emissions, which are the highest in the developed world on a per capita basis.