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Flannery says India needs Australia's uranium -

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Reporter: Sally Sara

BRENDAN TREMBATH: The former Australian of the Year, Tim Flannery has criticised the Federal
Government's refusal to sell uranium to India.

Professor Flannery says the policy is morally questionable.

The well known scientist has been holding talks with Indian business and political leaders in New
Delhi.

South Asia correspondent Sally Sara reports.

SALLY SARA: The Rudd Government's decision not to sell uranium to India has been a political sore
point.

The Indian economy is growing rapidly and the country doesn't have enough resources to generate
power. Some in the Indian business community call it an energy famine.

But Australia won't sell India the uranium it so desperately wants, because of concerns over
nuclear proliferation.

Former Australian of the Year, Professor Tim Flannery is in India for meetings with local business,
political and environmental figures.

He says Australia's position on uranium sales to India is questionable.

TIM FLANNERY: If you just think of the morality of selling coal to India, versus uranium, both of
them are dangerous products, potentially, if they are misused.

And yet we're willing to sell coal with gay abandon, but won't consider the sale of uranium, and I
think that's a questionable moral standard to have.

SALLY SARA: Professor Flannery gave a speech to a group of business leaders in New Delhi on the
difficulties ahead for the Indian energy sector.

TIM FLANNERY: Look it's a mixture of difficulties and opportunities, you know, the difficulties are
that they need development now, so when you talk about technologies that might be ready in 10 or 15
years time, there's very little interest.

But the opportunities really come from the fact that they haven't yet built an energy
infrastructure, so they can take up the best now as they go along.

So I think ultimately, India is going to end up with a better and greener energy mix than China,
for example, which industrialised a decade or two earlier.

SALLY SARA: What about the issue of India generating its own technology, also synthesising
technology from elsewhere.

We're seen many business services and technologies have been outsourced here in India because they
can do it cheap and well, is there a chance to do the same thing when it comes to energy
technology?

TIM FLANNERY: I believe so. What you need to do that is the right kind of government policy, meant
to kick-start local industries for example, particularly in the energy sector.

So some sort of, if you're talking about photovoltaics; some sort of feed-in law would help
enormously here to grow that industry.

SALLY SARA: The policies here have been set very heavily in favour of coal, you were talking
earlier about nuclear energy. Why do you think nuclear energy is a viable part of the mix here in
India?

TIM FLANNERY: I think, you know, ultimately, if the choice is between coal and nuclear power, the
two existing major ways we have to do it, nuclear power is a more viable option.

Every conventional coal-fired power plant we add to the planet is just another nail in the coffin,
as far as the climate challenge goes. So, we know that nuclear has its problems, but they're less
problematic certainly than coal.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: The former Australian of the Year, Tim Flannery with Sally Sara.