The Age has obtained a submission to Mr Howard's inquiry by technology firm Silex Systems that argues Australia would lose export income of $US2 billion to $3 billion ($A2.6 billion-$3.9 billion) per year by 2015 if it failed to enrich its substantial supplies of uranium.With a considerable chunk of the world's uranium reserves, Austrlia is in a unique position as the nuclear industry continues to revive globally.
"If Australia is to fully capitalise on the value of its precious uranium resources, then it should develop a nuclear fuel industry which includes uranium conversion, uranium enrichment and fuel fabrication services," Silex puts to the Prime Minister's uranium taskforce, chaired by former Telstra boss Ziggy Switkowski. The company also issues a blunt warning that no corporation will invest in Australia until the country achieves bipartisan support and lowers the political temperature around the nuclear cycle.
"Against the backdrop of a deeply divided political landscape, it appears inconceivable that private industry would contemplate investing in an Australian nuclear fuel industry," Silex says. "Investment will not happen as long as there is the threat that a billion-dollar project could be shut down or even stalled after a future federal election."
For more on current happenings in Austrlia on the nuclear issue, go see Robert Merkel.
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