Premier Steven Marshall says establishing a nuclear generation industry in South Australia is not on his “short-term” radar but it could “come back onto the agenda further down the track” as he considers “every option to ensure we have lower energy prices”.
One of the major policies the Australian Conservatives took to last month’s state election was the establishment of a nuclear waste repository and further investigation into the feasibility of nuclear power generation.
Indaily reports, Premier Marshall visited the South-East seat of Mount Gambier yesterday where Liberal-turned-Independent MP Troy Bell is a firm advocate for nuclear power.
Marshall told InDaily, “I’ve always worked with Troy Bell… it’s quite obvious we share a lot of common aspirations for the people of the South-East,” he said.
One of those aspirations could yet be the establishment of a nuclear generator after Marshall last year flagged his interest in considering the industry, despite Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce rejecting it as a commercially viable option “in the foreseeable future”.
“There will be a time when it may become viable, and desperate times call for desperate solutions – and we are in a desperate situation,” Marshall told media in February 2017.
Bell, who spearheaded the Liberals’ South-East fracking moratorium before he left the party-room, is a strong advocate for nuclear power and told InDaily he was “absolutely happy to lead the discussion” about establishing a local industry.
Asked if he would advocate for a nuclear generator in the South-East, he said: “A small modular one – yes definitely.”
“If you want to have a manufacturing base, if you want to look at lowering the price of electricity for everybody – no option should be off the table.”
A Nuclear Fuel Cycle (facilitation) Bill 2017 put forward by Australian Conservatives founder Senator Cory Bernardi is waiting to get a place on the parliamentary agenda.
Passing the bill would not mean that nuclear power plants would be built in Australia but it would enable nuclear to be considered on its merits and level the energy playing field.
To see Senator Bernardi's speech to the Senate introducing the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (facilitation) Bill 2017 , click the box below:
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