POWERED UP: Liberal Party Senator James McGrath has joined Hinkler MP Keith Pitt in a push for nuclear as a solution to the country's ongoing power needs.
POWERED UP: Liberal Party Senator James McGrath has joined Hinkler MP Keith Pitt in a push for nuclear as a solution to the country's ongoing power needs. ALAN PORRITT-AAP

Political capital used for nuclear push

HINKLER federal MP Keith Pitt has acknowledged using "political capital" to pitch nuclear power as Australia's long-term energy plan so soon after the federal election.

The LNP backbencher said the beginning of the political term was when questions needed to be asked to investigate further policies.

"We need every single opportunity to help drive down power prices," Mr Pitt said.

"Nobody is suggesting building one in the middle of Melbourne."

He had been surprised by a positive reaction to the proposal, suggested by himself and Queensland Senator James McGrath at the weekend.

They intended on writing a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison urging him to revisit the issue, especially considering modern technology to manage nuclear power.

The legality to mine uranium is a state issue, and it is banned in Queensland, despite a short lasting overturn by the Newman government in 2014, but the ability to harness the power and to export to other countries is a federal one.

Australia has three operating uranium mines in South Australia and the Northern Territory, and exports to the United States, and to certain European and Asian countries including India.

But Mr Pitt said Australia had banned the use of nuclear reactors in Australia, except for a small station at Lucas Heights in Sydney, and both the House of Representatives and the Senate would need to agree to overturn the legislation.

He suggested a Senate committee inquiry was needed to investigate the feasibility, and this could take between a year to 18 months.

But he said experts in the field estimated it could take up to 20 years to establish a nuclear based industry that could be worth billions to the Australian economy.

Mr McGrath established an online Facebook poll on Sunday, asking people if there should be an inquiry, which had about 3300 votes within a day.

"This process would allow all views to not only be aired, but most importantly tested," the senator said.

"It is important to make informed decisions rather than allow the loons of Twitter to shout down this important discussion."

The poll has attracted mixed opinions.

One commentator who said no was Mackay Conservation Group campaign manager Michael Kane, who referred to past disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima.

"There is something very wrong with this poll," he said.

"Nuclear has nowhere near this kind of support in Australia.

"Any politician entertaining this has lost the political and ethical plot."

Bundaberg man Ian Gaffel said the government should look into using modular nuclear.

"It is supposed to be faster and more flexible, plus cost effective," he said.

"Maybe excellent for our wide brown land."



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