(Australian Associated Press)
A report looking into the potential for nuclear power in Australia is expected to be released later this week.
The parliamentary environment and energy committee was tasked by Energy Minister Angus Taylor in August to examine the potential for nuclear power.
Mr Taylor told the committee the moratorium on nuclear energy would remain, but he wanted some “sensible” advice on economic, environmental and safety implications.
The inquiry received evidence on the potential for micro-reactors – some as small as five megawatts – and even floating nuclear power stations which are being developed in Russia.
Former federal minister and now Queensland Resources Council boss Ian Macfarlane told the committee the existing ban on mining uranium was purely “ideological”, and ignored the fact it could be a $10 billion industry for the state.
He said nuclear power could lower emissions from the electricity sector without detracting from economic growth, however it needed national policy.
Environment groups said there were huge health, environmental and financial risks from a nuclear industry, which would also need massive taxpayer subsidies.
They warned suggestions of small modular reactors were a pipedream and the nuclear waste storage problem had not yet been solved.
Previous studies have identified at least 19 sites in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia which could be suitable for nuclear power plants, including Bundaberg, Port Stephens, South Gippsland and Port Adelaide.
It is understood the committee is aiming to table the report in parliament by the end of the week, but no formal release date has been set.