Tomorrow morning the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission will provide interim findings.

I am hopeful of a strong endorsement of the concepts and opportunities brought forward relating to the establishment of a multinational storage facility for used nuclear fuel and the subsequent recycling of that material for clean power.

Should this happen there will likely be amorphous talk of risk and danger relating to our expanded role. No doubt this speculation will take an extreme form from some parties.

Such talk will be fallacious. Such a facility in our wonderful state will do much to make Australia, our region and world a safer place.

The following is an extract from Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A practical agenda for global policy makers. It is a 2009 report of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, co-chaired by Gareth Evans (Australia) and Yoriko Kawaguchi (Japan). The following extract is from page 145, in the Chapter “Multi-lateralizing the nuclear fuel cycle” and provides, in the clearest terms, emphatic support for the actions we have proposed.

15.48: The Commission strongly believes that multilateralizing the nuclear fuel cycle would play an invaluable role in building global confidence in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and any efforts to that end should be encouraged. Such arrangements would provide an important foundation for a world free of nuclear weapons, where all sensitive fuel cycle activities will need to be under multilateral verification and control.

Recommendations on Multilateralizing the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

39. Multilateralization of the nuclear fuel cycle- in particular through fuel banks and multinational management of enrichment, reprocessing and spent fuel storage facilities- should be strongly supported. Such arrangements would play an invaluable role in building global confidence in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and provide an important foundation for a world free of nuclear weapons, for which a necessary  requirement  will be multilateral verification and control of all all sensitive fuel cycle activities.

Whatever happens tomorrow, some stakeholders will stop at almost nothing to try and frighten South Australians.

As well as the potential to benefit economically, we may have the opportunity to shift the world to a decisively safer state of relations. There has never been a more important time to listen to the experts. In more ways than one, our future depends on it.

11 comments

  1. I see the no. 1 priority as steadily displacing fossil fuel burning for electricity, heat and transport. As for SA specifically I think the expanded nuclear fuel cycle should replace the exodus of traditional industries and give young people better prospects for remaining in the the state. I’m more worried about climate change and future energy supply than proliferation. But as they say it’s all good.

  2. The Greens are right about one thing. Something should be done about spent nuclear fuel. We can’t reasonably expect to store it got thousands of years. We can reprocess it and fission it more fully. Greenpeace had a slogan, Reduce Reuse Recycle. It reads to me like DecarbonizeSA has a plan to do just that. Australia has a real chance at being a leader for clean energy.

  3. I didn’t see a valid answer to the main conclusion of the Australia Institute.
    They studied the different options and all lead to the same disappointing conclusion:

    Such multinational storage facility will inevitable result in major money losses for S-Australia.

    Didn’t see a scenario which will bring profit for S-Australia.
    Only some which bring short term some profit (if the risky investment turn out well), inevitable followed by long term major losses….

  4. I see we have a Canadian on QandA tonight (again)… any chance this time of asking our visiting friends about how Ontario makes electricity with so little carbon emitted? I mean it would have been rude to ask Naomi, but I’m sure Mark Steyn won’t mind. While I’m still managing to stick to the topic, from the commission’s key Tentative Findings: (my emphasis)

    “However, Australia’s electricity system will require low-carbon generation sources to meet future global emissions reduction targets. Nuclear power may be necessary, along with other low carbon generation technologies. It would be wise to plan now to ensure that nuclear power would be available should it be required.”

    I think this first iteration has pitched at the right level – conservative, measured & reasonable. Conservation SA’s worst nightmare. If the debate moves to, this repository sounds like a good idea… certainly better than expecting constant federal government hand-outs to remain viable… but can’t we do better than having spent fuel rods sitting around for 100,000s of years? Then that will be game over for old-school environmental dogma; an inevitable consequence when prejudice meets logic. They will have to vacate the field & concentrate on struggling to deal with the science on GMOs. Those of us truly interested in sustainable environmental results & prepared to do the hard yards to get that done will then be able to find better political representation for those ends.

    Also (& I’m sorry to do this, it’s totally OT, but I’m buzzing & need to get this down somewhere on the interwebs)… anytime Spurs have a massive weekend, big things happen with respect to South Australia & nuclear. When the royal commission was announced there was a particularly epic NLD (a Harry-kane blew in if I remember correctly), not to mention having Chel53a’ed a month earlier, oops I just did, my bad. It must be part of how gravitational waves works. Obviously. I predict that if the true soul of North London win the league, then climate change is sorted. You have my guarantee on that. Don’t despair if this doesn’t happen this year though, at some point in the next few years it will happen. And after that the mighty Spurs will win it again. Audere est Facere. Healthy number of pro-nuke Hotspurs out there, worth thinking about, just say’in.

  5. Seeing as how none of the Emissions Reduction Fund, the Renewable Energy Target and 50% solar farm capital grants have actually prevented emissions from increasing I wonder what the new plan is. The PM seems quite chuffed with the idea of no nuclear power plants until at least 2030. That’s when our emissions should be 26-28% less than in 2005.

    If the Q&A panellists faff on about batteries we’ll know why progress is slow.

  6. Ben – I just listened to your discussion of the report on Atomic Insights, Atomic Show #251 podcast. A great discussion and FWIW I agree with your conclusions and the report’s conclusions. Everyone should head over to Atomic Insights and listen. Ben arrives at just around the 8 1/2 minute mark.

    Your diligent and persistent work is paying off. Congratulations!

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