Bring it on I say. Full lifecycle. Maybe even carve off a small parcel of land for waste storage, not part of 'South Australia' anymore. That way there's no waste storage here. It's in that other area called the 'Central Territory'. Perception matters.
From The Advertiser:
A $20 BILLION blueprint to create a South Australian nuclear industry that turns around the state’s fortunes by employing tens of thousands of people has been developed by a panel of experts.
The draft plan says the project would make the state a “world centre” for nuclear energy by offering storage for radioactive waste, enriching our uranium and building nuclear reactors, creating a new industry.
SA Nuclear Energy Systems Pty Ltd, chaired by Bruce Hundertmark, comprises a range of nuclear experts and hopes to work with the US Department of Energy and other major international entities in its quest to make the plan a reality.
The group, which has an office in Wayville, hopes to make a submission to the Royal Commission into a nuclear industry. The State Government is set to announce the terms of reference this week, while the Federal Government is considering nuclear power as part of its Energy White Paper. Representatives of both levels of Government have had meetings with Mr Hundertmark.
Mr Hundertmark, a businessman, consultant, and developer of high technology companies who worked as an engineer in the nuclear industry, said manufacturing in SA is collapsing and the economy is in strife, so a major new industry was needed.
“The problem with SA is nothing is happening here,” he said, adding that the group was not in it for any profit. The motive here is to try to save SA from what appears to be a nasty future.”
Decades ago, Mr Hundertmark was a director of News International, the UK arm of News Corporation, The Advertiser’s parent company.
Other board members include top climate scientist Tom Wigley from the University of Adelaide, who says that opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change; Richard Cherry, a former executive officer of the US nuclear industry and consultant to the industry; Eric Dunlop who is on Barack Obama’s committee for biofuels; Ian Kowalick, former head the Department of Premier and Cabinet, and Stephen Lincoln, a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Adelaide.
Under their proposal:
A RADIOACTIVE waste storage facility at Maralinga would cost about $3 billion and would bring in more than $1 billion a year and provide 4000 jobs and 20,000 indirect jobs. The Federal Government is currently looking for a place to store waste.
A PROCESSING plant to enrich uranium mined in SA would be set up on industrial land at Whyalla at a cost of about $7 billion.
SMALL modular reactors to be set up on the Eyre Peninsula would cost about $6 billion and bring in billions through generating electricity.
Other investments in infrastructure would add to the cost.
The Federal Government is open to discussing the nuclear issue. Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said yesterday it was “sensible” for SA to look at all options for developing its uranium resources.
Business SA is in favour of a uranium enrichment and radioactive waste storage trial in the state. A recent survey found eight in 10 South Australians wanted a debate on the costs and benefits of a nuclear industry. An SA Chamber of Mines and Energy survey put support for nuclear power at about 50 per cent, with a third opposed.
Mr Hundertmark said it was not simple to “overcome the anti-nuclear feeling” but that modern nuclear technology was far safer than older reactors, such as Fukushima in Japan, which melted down after being hit by a tsunami wave.
“Modern reactors shut themselves down automatically as soon as there’s a threat,” he said.
“(And) we don’t have tsunami waves rolling into SA because we’re not close to a junction of tectonic plates.”
Prof Lincoln, who is a nuclear power expert, said the industry would need to be overseen by a strong independent authority and would also be subject to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
He said climate change was already affecting Australia and that nuclear power would drastically reduce our emissions.
“One rational approach is to say let’s switch increasingly to energy sources that do not generate carbon dioxide,” he said.
“So we have solar power and wind farms. They’re great but they can’t supply the amount of electricity you need … you have to have baseload power and that’s where nuclear power comes in,” he said.
Kevin Scarce, who is in favour of a debate on nuclear and is heading up the Royal Commission, has said he was sick of hearing politicians say they’re not opposed to nuclear power then doing nothing about it.
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Prime Minister Tony Abbott have sparked discussions recently by saying it is a discussion worth having.
Mr Macfarlane said they welcomed the Royal Commission and that if nuclear power was on the cards it had to be safe, commercial, and have bipartisan political support and community acceptance.
“SA is home to some of Australia’s most significant uranium reserves, so it’s sensible to look at all issues relating to the full development of the resource,” he said.