This is from the front page of today’s Advertiser. I have my own points of view about how this process should proceed, however it is very encouraging to see the business community taking this clear stand. It should make for an interesting year.

URANIUM enrichment or radioactive-waste storage should be trialled in South Australia this year and the economic potential of the nuclear industry should not be ignored, the state’s peak business group says.

In an appeal to political leaders before the state election, Business SA says it is time to act on developing one of the state’s global economic advantages by beginning a pilot program.

“SA can no longer ignore the significant economic potential of uranium and we should be mature enough to have an informed public debate on the pros and cons of developing a nuclear industry,” the group says.

“From its pre-election survey, Business SA found that 79 per cent of respondents were in favour of a mature government-led debate on the costs and benefits of value adding to SA’s vast uranium reserves.”

Business SA has long advocated consideration of a nuclear industry but its election document – A Charter for a More Prosperous SA – makes its strongest stand yet.

It says the risks posed to the state economy by the impending closure of carmaker Holden add urgency to the issue and all opportunities for job creation must be explored.

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It is especially pleasing to see a level of awareness of fast reactor technology has been developed. This is from the Business SA document.

The high capital costs involved in building nuclear power reactors have resulted in them being considered largely uneconomic in Australia, particularly with the ample supply of low-cost coal available. Nuclear energy is generally considered cost competitive to most renewable energy sources. However, with fourth-generation “fast” nuclear plants, which are far more efficient than most plants currently in operation, nuclear energy becomes more
competitive and generates far less waste.

6 comments

  1. The troubling facts are that major SA industries are leaving and may not be replaced. Car manufacturing finishes in 2017 and the naval shipbuilding workbook runs out in 2019. On top that major unknowns are future gas prices (which could triple) and the need for full-on desalination in El Nino years. The state’s biggest project the Olympic Dam mine expansion was mothballed. By chance OD happens to be the world’s largest uranium deposit. Surprisingly Orica and BHP the owner of OD have said they can live with high gas prices. Yet the cost of building a gas pipe and 250 MW power station at OD presumably helped put the kibosh on the project. There are other projects in the north and west of SA (the edge of the NEM grid) that will also need power and water.

    I think an optimal sequence might be as follows
    – break the ice with an SMR eg to power OD mine and a coastal desal plant
    – set aside a large coastal energy park site for future developments
    – start work on a medium sized gen 3 plant eg the Enhanced Candu 6 that uses natural U
    – create a fuel facility that could include enriched fuel preparation for the SMR and any large new gen 3 plant such as the AP 1000
    – go on the waiting list for any gen 4 plant that proves itself.

    Not sure about taking high level waste from other countries unless we can use it. There is however something satisfying if the original material came from a hole in the ground in SA and the downstream material goes back in the hole. Something the coal industry will never do.

  2. The comments on that story are depressing. It seems that over half think that if a nuclear power plant is built some nuclear power demon is going to eat their children in the middle of the night. The rest seem to think that if we go nuclear it’ll solve every imaginable problem. Is there any danger of nuclear power having some maturity in the debate surrounding it?

    The level of debate isn’t helped by comments like the following from the Business SA CEO either:

    “The first state in Australia which breaks through and builds a micro-power plant will be on to a winner,” Mr McBride said.

    “Your water problem would be gone overnight, because you could desalinate as much water as you wanted.

    “Manufacturing would be turned around because you’d have incredible amounts of cheap power.

    “You’d attract businesses because you could offer power.

    “And you could sell the excess into the national electricity grid.”

    There seem good arguments for Australia to increase our nuclear industry in some ways. Certainly more involvement in research so that we can enter the global nuclear community more and perhaps intelligently targeted investment in new business opportunities would be smart at the present. Perhaps even a nuclear plant to dip our toe in the water. Potentially in the future that could be greatly expanded if costs can be decreased. But let’s not go back to the pie in the sky of telling everybody that a technology that hasn’t yet been implemented anywhere in the world is suddenly going to solve all our economic and water issues.

  3. Non SA readers should read the comments on the online Adelaide Advertiser which normally gives two free reads a day.
    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/business-sa-demands-a-nuclear-industry-for-south-australia/story-fni6uma6-1226819109143

    Then for the second read watch the clip of the Brit’s stealth drone apparently taking off from Woomera, just 70 km from Olympic Dam. I didn’t see a lot of rivers and waterfalls to be contaminated with nuclear waste.

  4. The comments on the Adelaide now article were fairly positive. Top 5 comments were all positive or pro-nuclear. Seems to validate the view that it’s only a loud, organised minority that has been stifling Nuclear fuel cycle development.

    1. Good suggestions John Newlands and mostly in keeping with my vision for development[based on our largest Uranium deposits and best waste disposal site, both in SA].That vision was enunciated by me six years ago and was printed in the September 2009 Adelaide Review. I sent a copy of that along with other material to Business SA four years ago. They seem to have picked up on it at last.There’s a newly formed company called South Australian Nuclear Energy Systems Pty Ltd who have also discovered my development plan and I’m in regular contact with them. [I’ve become an adviser to them]. After 16 years of speaking for nuclear to politicians and the public, I’m starting to feel more confident about a nuclear future for SA. If any of you bloggers, including you Ben are up early enough on Sunday morning, Feb 9th, tune into Radio National at 7.45 am. You’ll hear my fourth and final Ockham’s Razor talk which among other things, includes some of the history of why nuclear failed to get the go ahead probably thirty years ago.You might care to log on to http://www.abc.net.au/rn/ockhamsrazor and add a positive comment to the likely many negative ones which will be recycled by the ignorant [they just don’t know the truth] anti nukes.Meanwhile, look forward to the March election and then get stuck into the Liberals [likely winners] because we have a better chance of progressing the nuclear debate with them than with Labor.Get stuck into Labor as well because we’re going nowhere without political bipartisan support.You’ll notuce my call for that near the end of my OR talk on Sunday. Over to you guys.

      Cheers

      Terry Krieg

      1. I listened to the program on internet radio. I agree with your point how odd it is for Australia to have so much uranium yet we prohibit nuclear power. We’re like vegetarian cattle farmers.

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