The South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) has backed chief entrepreneur Jim Whalley’s call for the state government to identify the economic opportunities associated with South Australia’s uranium supply.
SACOME has also called for the state government to fund a nuclear energy forum, with South Australia holding 25 per cent of the world’s uranium resources and 80 per cent of Australia’s total uranium supply.
The chamber stated that the economic value of the nuclear fuel cycle needs to be re-examined due to the refinement and commercialisation of small modular reactors, which would be financially bolstered by South Australia’s renewable energy supply.
Nuclear energy may also assist the state government in reaching energy targets and growing the state’s economy, according to SACOME.
“Nuclear energy offers a zero-emissions energy source with the ability to provide safe, reliable baseload power but is routinely excluded as both an emissions reduction and energy solution,” SACOME chief executive officer Rebecca Knol said.
“Uranium is also a key economic contributor to the South Australian economy, bringing in $118 million in royalties over the last 10 years over which time $346 million dollars of uranium has been produced and exported.
“Despite these advantages, South Australia is yet to fully realise the benefits of a nuclear industry and this can only come from concerted, bipartisan efforts to advance the public policy debate.
“SACOME supports the chief entrepreneur’s statements and calls upon the Marshall Government to establish a Nuclear Energy Forum to advance the conversation about development of a South Australian nuclear industry.”
According to Frazer Nash head of Australian business Jonathan Armstrong, the nuclear energy forum would reap positive results for the environment.
“As nations adapt to COVID, they will seek sustained economic advantage through innovation that promotes national productivity, highly skilled technology jobs and responsible climate action. International developments in nuclear technologies offers all these,” he said.
“Any decision to adopt such technologies must be a societal one, based on openness and transparency. Part of that is to raise awareness that South Australia has a genuine opportunity to achieve national and regional leadership through the development of skills, knowledge, practice and technology in the nuclear fuel cycle.”