Hickey a nuclear convert

Reversing a long held view, Perth Archbishop Barry Hickey says he is now convinced that nuclear power can be safe but green groups are not impressed.

Perth Now reports that Archbishop Hickey says he is now a nuclear convert, prompting an immediate attack by the green lobby.

A former opponent of nuclear power, he now believes its technology is safe.

A lot had changed since the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster of 1986, but he believes people's view of nuclear energy was tarnished by the incident.

"I was totally opposed to it (nuclear power) 10 years ago, but since then advances in technology have made me less opposed because I can see it can be safe," Archbishop Hickey told The Sunday Times.

"I still prefer other energy sources such as tidal power and other green technologies to nuclear power, but I think that with safeguards it could be an option.

"The advances in technology and reassurances I have read about it, and the fact that nuclear energy is used excessively in European countries, have helped change my opinion."

Long-time anti-nuclear crusader and former WA Greens senator Jo Vallentine said Archbishop Hickey was out of touch with the realities of nuclear power.

"Goodness me. Is that what he said?" Ms Vallentine said.

"Hickey needs to be better informed before making those sorts of comments.

"Perhaps, I better go and see him and have a little chat about nuclear waste and all the other problems associated with it.''

The WA state Labor government recently introduced into state parliament the Nuclear Facilities Prohibition Bill, which allows for a referendum if the commonwealth tries to override the state by allowing a nuclear plant.

But Ms Vallentine said the Bill didn't go far enough and Mr Carpenter should legislate against uranium mining.

Hickey sparks nuclear row (Perth Now, 30/6/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Barry Hickey (Wikipedia)

WA speaker raps Hickey (CathNews, 15/6/07)
WA parliament may reprimand Hickey (CathNews, 8/6/07)

2 Jul 2007