Australia will have its own nuclear power plants within 20 years, Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has announced.

“If we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions long term, globally there’s going to have to be more nuclear energy,” Barnett said, according to Bloomberg reports.

The country, which is the world’s second largest uranium producer, is responding to growing global demand for the mineral, which is used to power nuclear power plants.

Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his government are opposed to building reactors. But new opposition leader Tony Abbott this week said there should be a debate about using nuclear power to counter climate change, writes Bloomberg.

Barnett lifted Western Australia’s ban on mining uranium, after winning power in September 2008. The state produces much as 10% of the world’s known uranium reserves, worth about A$40bn ($37bn), according to a government estimate.