Paul Howes, the head of Australia's biggest blue-collar union, and former NSW Labor premier Bob Carr have called for Australia and the Rudd Government to purge its prejudices and embrace a nuclear power industry.
The two are promoting the potential of nuclear power to generate large quantities of no/low carbon energy at economically competitive prices to address Australia's near- to interim-term climate, energy and industrial needs.
Howes is convinced that without nuclear any credible Australian effort to reduce emissions will result in the export of jobs if not entire industries.
Kevin Rudd insists Australia can meet its carbon emission reduction targets without resorting to nuclear power. However the government has not put forward convincing explanations of what technologies will be used [and to what extent], how energy and grid reliability will be assured, when technologies will be deployed or where the relevant facilities will be located. Recent government reports appear to contradict Kevin Rudd's position - noting the optimistic deployment of all measures currently on the table will at best keep emission levels stable.
"I've told ministers in the Rudd Government this is my view and the view of my union."
Carr's position is that only nuclear power can provide a credible bridge to help secure significant emissions reductions while the country works to develop and deploy sufficiently advanced renewable technologies. Carr notes that most younger Australians do not share the emotional objections to nuclear energy of their elders.
"We all want to get there. But it's decades off and we need a bridge. The best thing the Western world can do to stop the melting of the polar ice caps is to sponsor the production of the most modern nuclear power plants."