We need to make nuclear case: Littleproud

Politicians need to make the case for a change to nuclear power, David Littleproud says.
Politicians need to make the case for a change to nuclear power, David Littleproud says.

Australians might not be ready for nuclear power, but deputy Nationals leader David Littleproud thinks it's a good idea.

Nationals senator Sam McMahon is trying to overturn Australia's nuclear power ban through changes to a bill aimed at simplify environmental hoops projects need to jump through.

Mr Littleproud supports the senator's idea but doesn't believe the public is ready to go nuclear.

"We need to have a mature, broad conversation with the public taking into account the new technologies that exist," the agriculture minister told Sky News on Wednesday.

He said politicians needed to make the case for change to instil public confidence.

"At this juncture, I don't think we can give them that confidence," Mr Littleproud said.

"But I think we shouldn't steer away from the fact of trying and putting in their mind what are the possibilities."

Senator McMahon has the support of upper house colleagues Matt Canavan and Susan McDonald in her nuclear push.

"The Northern Territory has almost a third of Australia's low-cost uranium deposits and being able to use it in our own country would provide benefits to many communities," the NT senator said.

"The only realistic way to bring down carbon emissions in our nation is to use our natural resources and move down a nuclear path."

As it stands, the government is a vote short of getting its environmental approvals bill through the Senate.

It had been due for debate on Wednesday before being taken off the final draft of the Senate program.

Resources Minister Keith Pitt told parliament the environment reforms would help combat "green lawfare" against coal and gas projects.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson flagged her party would give the government two of the three votes it needed.

Centre Alliance senator Stirling Griff, and independents Rex Patrick and Jacqui Lambie, are all understood to remain opposed to the bill.

They argue an independent watchdog and tougher environment standards are required before other changes could be considered.

Senator Lambie has questioned why Australia didn't replace coal-fired power with nuclear to achieve emissions reduction goals.

Australian Associated Press