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Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Page: 4208


Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (19:55): This evening I'd like to talk on the subject of nuclear power. Our nation hosts about one-third of the world's total uranium deposits. We're the third largest producer after Kazakhstan and Canada. There is no other nation in the world of Australia's economic size or larger that is without nuclear power. In fact, we stand alone amongst the world's 25 top economies in excluding nuclear power's use for base-load power. I believe that the time has come for us to remove the prohibitions preventing the development of nuclear power plants in this nation. I do not say we should be out building nuclear power plants tomorrow but, if we are going to have truly technologically neutral policies, we must look at including nuclear power. We must be able to look at the new developments in this field, of small nuclear modular reactors that have great potential in the years to come.

If we look around the world today, 11 per cent of the world's electricity comes from about 450 nuclear power reactors, which, of course, emit zero CO2. Civil nuclear power can now boast more than 17,000 nuclear reactor years of experience, and there are over 30 countries worldwide where nuclear power plants are in operation. In fact, many more countries actually get nuclear power, especially in Europe, where their grids are all interconnected. For example, countries like Italy and Denmark, although they have no nuclear power stations, still get almost 10 per cent of their power from imported nuclear power. Around the world today, there are more than 60 nuclear reactors under construction, equivalent to 16 per cent of the existing capacity, with an additional 150 to 160 planned. Across the world, 16 nations depend on nuclear power for at least one-quarter of their electricity. France gets around 75 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power. Countries such as Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine generate more than half of their electricity from nuclear power, whilst Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Switzerland, and Slovenia get more than one-third. South Korea and Belgium normally get more than 30 per cent of their electricity from nuclear power, while the USA, the UK, Spain, Romania and Russia get about one-fifth of their energy from nuclear power.

Among the 50 power plants around the world currently under construction, we see new plants being constructed in Bulgaria and Brazil. In China there are now 38 reactors operational on the mainland and 20 more under construction. In Finland, they have their fifth nuclear reactor under construction. India has 22 nuclear reactors in operation and six under construction, Pakistan has two under construction. The list goes on. Even countries that do not have nuclear power have looked at the options and decided that it is the best option for them. We have seen Belarus building two nuclear reactors. The United Arab Emirates is building four 1,400-megawatt-equivalent reactors to be ready by 2020. Other emerging countries are committed to nuclear, including Lithuania, Turkey, Bangladesh, Jordan, Poland and Egypt. Yet Australia, the nation that has the most resources of uranium in the world, still has a ban.

I believe it is time that we relook at this. In our nation last financial year, 109,000 Australian households had their electricity disconnected because they couldn't afford to pay their bills. That's close to 280,000 Australians living in households without electricity. How do those kids do their homework at night? How do they keep food fresh if they have no refrigeration? How do they cook dinner at night? As the richest energy nation in the world, we owe it to all Australians to open up the possibility of nuclear power for this nation.

House adjourned at 20:00