Australia should not be guinea pig for new nuclear reactors – Australia’s Chief Scientist
Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. President Dr Alan Finkel Submission to South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission
“ If the Royal Commission should favour establishment of a nuclear power plant, ATSE recommends that ‘first of a kind’ (FOAK) technology – specifically, Generation IV reactors should not be considered by South Australia at this time”
Finkel supports a nuclear waste import industry:
“South Australia and thus Australia as a whole is well positioned to undertake waste storage as part of the nuclear fuel cycle.”
But qualifies this:
“The opportunity for South Australia to provide commercial permanent waste storage facilities for overseas nuclear power plant spent fuel owners could exist and would certainly offer commercial opportunities for the State. However, based on the negative public reaction to the poorly explained and marketed Pangea proposal some years ago, the public may still find this concept unacceptable”
It is a careful submission, thorough, and with qualified support for the nuclear fuel chain.
On URANIUM MINING – he recognises that the market is at best uncertain.
On URANIUM ENRICHMENT PROCESSING & FUEL FABRICATION –he is in favour but with some serious qualifications.
On NUCLEAR POWER – only vaguely in favour.:
“ – may require government guarantees and/or government capital injections to encourage investment. This could possibly require the South Australian or Commonwealth governments becoming a stakeholder in the establishment of a nuclear power plant.”
“Any feasibility would also establish the likely cost of power from such reactor technologies and the guaranteed selling price to the grid. If this is not an equitable situation then the project would not be able to proceed. If nuclear power is to proceed in its development it will need to be competitive against carbon fuelled generation including carbon capture and storage (CCS) in its supply of baseload generation, and likely renewable energy generation if storage methods continue to improve”
“EPBC Act would need to be amended. South Australian legislation also regulates environmental and transportation matters, including the Radiation Protection and Control Act 1982 and the Radiation Protection and Control (Transport of Radioactive Substances) Regulations 2003.”
As mentioned above, Finkel is opposed to Australia being the test place for the first Generation IV reactors
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