SA can benefit from nuclear power: Royal Commission report

The South Australian Chamber of Commerce (SACOME) has welcomed the release of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s report supporting of uranium mining in the SA.

The report identifies that the state can benefit from the expansion of uranium mining, the storage of high level nuclear mining, and the building of nuclear power and enriching fuel.

It also confirmed nuclear power’s low carbon potential, and recommended legislative impediments should be removed to enable it to be considered as part of South Australia’s future energy policies.

SACOME was confident the government and public had enough facts to decide the state’s further involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle.

The commission’s other findings included implementing a single process for uranium mining approvals, the development of a comprehensive uranium database, and a commitment to an increased long term program, such as the Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE), to encourage greenfields exploration.

One of the largest potential benefits the commission uncovered was the provision of a secure, reliable, and safe location for spent nuclear fuel. This facility could provide up to $455 billion in a State Wealth Fund that could be used for infrastructure, to provide additional welfare, and to improve the quality of SA’s national parks.

A poll of 1575 respondents conducted by SACOME in March 2016 found only 74 per cent support uranium mining, 70 per cent support nuclear power in the state, and 62 per cent support a waste facility.

The poll also revealed that 39 per cent of Greens voters are either in favour of, or unopposed to, nuclear power.

SACOME chief executive Jason Kuchel said the facilities are capable of holding nuclear waste indefinitely without movement of the outside environment.

“South Australia’s role in the nuclear fuel cycle to date has done more for reducing carbon emissions globally than all of our state’s emissions lowering initiatives put together,” he said.

“It is therefore incumbent on the people of South Australia to properly consider the findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission and the potential role we can play to further encourage the take up of nuclear power internationally.”

Kuchel went on to say the Royal Commission process involved a thorough analysis of science, perceptions, and experiences of those operating in the nuclear fuel cycle, reaffirming the high standard of SA’s uranium mining industry.

“SACOME has long advocated for a single environmental approvals process for uranium mining to remove unnecessary delays and costs to the industry, and this report highlights that uranium mining is just like any other commodity in terms of its ability to be appropriately managed and regulated,” he said.

Kuchel also said SACOME had always supported the role of nuclear power in Australia.

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