A big weekend for
nuclear power. Our own PM has been mixing it with Dubya and his colleagues in
the United
States trying to drum up interest in uranium
sales. Of course, with sharply increasing oil prices and intensifying anxiety
over its sources, Henry thinks that John H won’t need to drum very hard to be
heard.

In a conversation
with Laurie Oakes on the Sunday
program, Acting Prime Minister Mark Vaile implied that Australia may,
as part of the uranium trade, have to deal with waste from the nuclear
process:

“Obviously there will be a wide range of views but
we need to keep an open mind on all these issues if we expect to
extract benefit from selling the product, then obviously there is a
roll in terms of management through life, both in terms of how it is
used, under what security circumstance it is used in other countries.
Then the question of waste comes into being. That is yet to be
addressed.”

Translation: as
our uranium trade expands we may have to have nuclear waste dumps in
Australia.

The D8 group, made up of Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey,
Bangladesh, Nigeria and Egypt, also met in Bali on the weekend. One of
the main topics on the table was nuclear power. As reported in today’s Fin, the D8 passed a
resolution stating that “developing nations should use alternative and renewable
energy resources and have access to nuclear energy for peaceful
purposes”.

Indonesian
President SBY has supported the controversial Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, maintaining that Iran wants nuclear power only for
peaceful purposes. SBY also appears likely to begin a uranium enrichment
program, with a 1000-megawatt plant planned to be opened in East Java by 2015. After all the hubbub about
Iran’s nuclear enrichment, Henry is
pleased with this emphasis on “peaceful purposes”.

A majority of
Australians support the export of uranium for peaceful purposes – a recent Morgan Poll
found 58% agree that we should export uranium to China under the
recently signed nuclear safeguard agreement.

As Crikey reported
on Friday, the Roy Morgan Consumer
Confidence Rating

plummeted 13.3 points to 106.8, from 120.1 in April. The
Age

claims, probably correctly, that economists are divided over whether the next
move in interest rates will be up or down. Henry is inclined to think that,
with the plunge in consumer confidence and increasing oil prices, the RBA
will take up its usual position on the fence for a while yet.

Read more at
Henry Thornton.

Peter Fray

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