In 1945, Thomas Playford had run out of patience with the privately run Adelaide Electric Supply Company (AESC), which, among other objectionable things, was paying excessive dividends to its shareholders. He established a Royal Commission into the AESC and appointed SA Auditor General JW Wainwright to it. Half a century later we have another Royal Commission that many see as fundamental to shaping South Australia’s and, indeed the nation’s, energy policy. The South Australian Government has unexpectedly opened up a debate about our role in the nuclear fuel cycle. Old opponents of a nuclear industry have changed their positions and are open to local storage of waste and enrichment. Others are evangelistic about the development of a nuclear energy industry in Australia, offering it up as the only realistic solution to greenhouse gas reduction. Some no doubt see nuclear openness as a key to unlocking the stalled Olympic Dam expansion project, offering some form of economic salvation in the face of the collapse of our automotive manufacturing industry. Cold War warriors on both sides of the political fence will slug it out ‘til exhaustion. Others will watch on in despair fearing that Nero is fiddling while Rome burns. The Commission will be presented with an avalanche of strongly held and passionately argued views. My own position at the outset is that it is not possible to examine the nuclear fuel cycle, and all that the nuclear industry entails, without detailed comparisons with the range of alternatives that are available to us in tackling climate change and building an energy industry for the future.
|Media of output||magazine|
|Publisher||THE ADELAIDE REVIEW|
|Place of Publication||Adelaide|
|Publication status||Published - 2 Mar 2015|
- Nuclear energy
- alternative energy sources