MP Keith Pitt.
MP Keith Pitt. Brian Cassidy

Pitt: 'Stop living in the '70s on nuclear'

WHO wants lower power prices? Who wants more reliable power that works at night and when the wind doesn't blow?

Who wants power that doesn't fall over when there's huge demand on a hot summer's day? Who wants more environmentally friendly power with low emissions?

If you want any of these things, let alone all of them, you should support an inquiry into nuclear energy that can investigate the opportunities for Australia to follow more than 30 other countries in the world that benefit from new, technologically advanced, safe nuclear energy.

Nuclear need not be a dirty word.

Just like coal, iron ore, rare earths, gas and a host of other resources, we are already a significant source of the world's uranium.

And hence a significant player in nuclear energy for other nations but somehow it's not good enough for Australians.

Australia is prohibited from any involvement , any development, any manufacturing or processing which may help build our own economy and provide jobs for our people into the future. And, dare I say it, achieve the as yet unachievable: affordable reliable power with virtually no emissions.

But, we still hear the tired old response from a few about safety, waste disposal, security, from people who are still living in the '70s.

This conversation is an easy one to knife in the back if you are so inclined.

It's an easy scare campaign to run, as demonstrated after the Howard government attempted to build consensus on nuclear energy following the Switkowski report in 2006.

Pictures of nuclear reactors in the leafy suburbs distributed by Labor started to show up in letter boxes around the country.

The fundamental change in the decades-old argument is one based on the technology.

We need to investigate small modular reactors, thorium, prism or new and different generations of traditional reactors.

One thing is common and one thing is clear.

We can treat nuclear waste safely and reduce it to very small volumes.

To date, Deputy Premier of New South Wales John Barilaro, various industry players, media commentators and a number of others have gone public in their support for a nuclear inquiry.

There appears to be a growing disconnect between some in the political class and the majority ofmost Australians.

Life is about opportunity and an inquiry into a nuclear industry in Australia is an opportunity.

One where a rational discussion can take place, one where the Labor Party can demonstrate to the Australian people they are more than just a scare campaign outfit waiting for a letterbox to jump into.

Demonstrate that we can all have a rational, adult discussion on a difficult issue, because at a fundamental level this inquiry is about an investigation of solutions.

And the Australian people are demanding answers.

KEITH PITT

Member for Hinkler