In the wake of a mooted deal to supply uranium to Chinese reactors, Australian prime minister John Howard is expected to announce a feasibility study on a domestic nuclear generation programme.

According to local media, Howard recently commented that there should be a “full-blooded debate” about nuclear power.

The Standing Committee on Industry and Resources is currently examining Australia’s deposits, potential export opportunities, and regulations and had wanted to broaden the terms of reference to include an examination of a domestic nuclear industry. While this proposal was rejected it has prompted resources minister Ian Macfarlane to request a feasibility study into the issues.