South Australian premier out on a limb, as national Labor dithers about nuclear policy
Royal commission tipped to back radioactive dump REBECCA PUDDY, The Australian, Monday 15 February Australia could be a step closer to establishing a nuclear industry today when the interim findings of South Australia’s nuclear royal commission are handed down amid an increasingly favourable political landscape…… it is widely tipped to recommend establishing a high-level radioactive waste dump as a money spinner for the struggling state economy.
The findings are also likely to leave open the option of building a nuclear power reactor in the southern state………..
While Premier Jay Weatherill has committed to responding to the report before the end of the year, his response could be constrained by his party’s national platform. In July it was revealed that Labor had shelved a move to end the party’s opposition to nuclear energy through amending its national platform, which outlines the party’s opposition to nuclear energy.
Labor’s resources spokesman Gary Gray, who was leading the campaign to change Labor’s position, said at the time that the draft proposal to soften the party’s stance on nuclear energy had been set aside while the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission was under way.
The release of the commission’s findings will be accompanied by four technical documents commissioned by Rear Admiral Scarce, which will outline the costs and economic benefits of engaging in the nuclear fuel cycle.
Evidence provided to the commission over the course of its 34 sitting days included a business case that estimated an Australian nuclear reactor would cost between $3 billion and $6bn to build, with operations starting in 2030.
The findings will be released at 11am, with the first of a series of public meetings on the issue scheduled for tonight at the Adelaide Town Hall.
Environmental campaigner David Noonan said anti-nuclear activists would be present at the meeting but would be “deliberately polite”, to ensure the public’s focus stayed on the issue. He said neither of the major parties would advocate for a change in direction with nuclear power or storage until after the federal election, leaving the South Australian Labor government out on a limb.
“There’s a lot of caution there in the political landscape right now,” Mr Noonan said. “Josh Frydenberg will try to get his low-level radioactive waste site over the line before he moves on anything else.”
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