South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill has announced the establishment of a Royal Commission that will explore the opportunities and risks of the state’s involvement in the mining, enrichment, energy and storage phases for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The Federal Government has expressed its full support for the proposal and promised the cooperation of all Commonwealth agencies.
“Royal Commissions are a trusted and reliable means to establish the facts with which the people of South Australia can engage in this important debate. We are home to one of the largest uranium deposits in the world and after more than 25 years of uranium production, it is now time to engage in a mature and robust conversation about South Australia’s future role in the nuclear industry,” the Premier said in a news release.
“We need a clearer understanding of the world’s demand and use of nuclear energy. We also need a deeper understanding of our State’s and the nation’s energy needs and how they are likely to develop in the future. We believe South Australians should be given the opportunity to explore the practical, financial and ethical issues raised by a deeper involvement in the nuclear industries. We need to understand all these issues so that the community can make an informed judgement.”
The Premier also announced that former Governor of South Australia Kevin Scarce will be appointed to head the Royal Commission.
“Mr Scarce has previously called for a mature and robust debate on the nuclear industry and now, he will lead that debate. As Governor, Mr Scarce showed he had great capacity to bring people together and work together on a common cause. He is the ideal person to lead a mature conversation outside of political environment on this most important issue,” the Premier said.
“My mind is open on this issue; I have no pre-conceived views on what the future should hold for South Australia and its involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle. I am looking forward to a full and thorough examination of the opportunities and the risks that this industry presents for our State,” Mr Scarce said.