Politicians in Queensland’s North West have thrown their support behind opening up the nuclear energy debate amid soaring electricity costs.
With energy prices set to reach an all-time high in Queensland later this year, State Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter and Mount Isa mayor Tony McGrady say the uranium industry could be the answer.
A draft determination for power prices released by the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) on Friday, showed households could expect a 21.4 per cent increase by July, while small businesses can expect a rise of 15.7 per cent.
Katter said plans to open up Australia’s natural gas industry to the international market was increasing prices domestically.
He said the Mount Isa region needed to enter into a serious debate about how to remain competitive amid the cost increases.
"I think if it's a way to lower costs and will have a small carbon footprint people would be open-minded about a debate," he said.
"We'll be mining here for the next 100 years so I think it's only a matter of time until we consider taking it up."
McGrady said he would welcome a genuine debate about the benefits of nuclear energy.
"The Greens talk about solar and wind but those are mickey mouse solutions because they will never supply enough power for base demand," he said.
"It has got to be gas, coal or nuclear."
Uranium deposits in the state started moving closer to production after the state government removed a ban on uranium mining late last year.
Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said the uranium deposits in the state were worth an estimated $10 billion.
The closest uranium deposit to Mount Isa is Paladin Energy's Valhalla located 40 kilometres north west of the city.
Operational mines are said to be a few years off, as the government waits for the uranium implementation committee to recommend a best practice policy framework for the recommencement of uranium mining and export in Queensland.