May 4, 2011

Australian Energy Minister Backs Nuclear Power After Fukushima

Published on Wednesday May 04 2011 (AEST)

CANBERRA -(Dow Jones)- While the events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan have spurred a global re-assessment of the industry, Australia's Resource and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said nuclear power will continue to play an important role in the global energy mix.

Safety must always be the first priority with nuclear power, and so the Australian government welcomes the reviews and any measures to strengthen and improve nuclear power systems that Fukushima has prompted, he said during a dinner speech for the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy.

"What I don't agree with are the comments by some that Fukushima spells the end of nuclear power and the end of uranium mining," Ferguson said.

There will be some changes in how electricity is generated, but for some countries nuclear will remain an important part of the mix as it goes to the question of energy security, he said.

In 2008, nuclear power accounted for 5.8% of total global energy supply, he said.

Australia holds a significant place in the global uranium industry. It hosts almost 40% of the world's recoverable resources of uranium, the fuel used to power nuclear reactors, though it meets less than 20% of global uranium demand.

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