New Zealand is to ban the use of nuclear power within its borders for a full decade, the country’s energy minister has announced.
In a letter to the countrys parliament, Mr Key said nuclear power was a “major contributor to the nation’s energy security”.
“The nuclear industry contributes more than $US5 billion annually to New Zealand’s economy and employs more than 3,000 people.”
New Zealanders should not be deterred from exploring nuclear energy options, and our Government recognises the huge benefits for our economy.
“The move comes after Australia was hit by a nuclear power meltdown in 2015, and after France was forced to close its nuclear plants for safety reasons in 2019.
New Zealand has the third-highest number of nuclear reactors in the world, with about 1,500 operating.
It is not the first time New Zealand has imposed strict safety requirements.
It banned nuclear power from its coastline in the 1960s after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
The nuclear power industry is also facing challenges from climate change and carbon emissions.
The government’s decision is likely to anger some in the industry.
Nuclear power produces electricity that is very low in carbon dioxide emissions and is not particularly expensive.
It has been widely criticised for polluting the environment.
But in a statement released on Tuesday, the Nuclear Energy Action Network said the move would have a significant impact on New Zealanders’ energy security and the economy.”
The decision will have a devastating impact on the livelihoods of millions of New Zealand households and businesses,” the group said.
The group said it expected to see large numbers of people leaving the nuclear sector, and some of those businesses would be shut down.
It said the decision was unlikely to make the country any safer.”
Nuclear is the best-selling energy source in New Zealand and many people are likely to be impacted,” it said.