On February 9, with exquisite timing, Terry Krieg of the Australian Nuclear Forum delivered his fourth nuclear industry advertorial, on ABC Radio's Ochkams Razor. Exquisite timing, because the South Australian election is on March 15, and Krieg's talk on this prestigious science program is the last effort of that State's nuclear lobby to get their cause up as an election issue.
The election day is three days after the third anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. That disaster is ongoing, with continual leaking of radioactive water, with four reactors still in a perilous state. As a result, global enthusiasm for the nuclear fuel cycle has remained considerably dampened.
Along with that nuclear dampening, the uranium market has suffered badly. South Australia has seen the abandonment of BHP's plan for a grandiose new open cut mine at Olympic Dam, crippling losses for Heathgate Resources' Beverley uranium mine, Marathon Resources giving up on uranium exploration as an unviable business. Australian uranium mining overseas has fared no better, with the much-troubled Paladin uranium mine in Malawi now shutting down.
So – no surprise that Labor and Liberal contenders are being very low-key about nuclear and uranium issues: The Herald Sun reports
Jay Weatherill : No (chance that SA will have a nuclear industry). I think it's a dangerous distraction.
Marshall:, the Opposition doesn't have a nuclear energy division, it's a potential for the future but I think it would be a long way off.
South Australia's nuclear push is undeterred.
Krieg presented a "timeline for how South Australia should embrace nuclear energy in the next three decades" . The plan includes Officer Basin as the world's nuclear waste dump.This would be the first step to the full nuclear fuel cycle. BHP should help the State government to set up an infrastructure development program, and a nuclear education program in schools.and universities. In Terry Krieg's first ABC radio talk in September 2011, he revealed that he did not believe that anthropogenic climate change was true. That's all gone now, apparently, as his latest pitch is all about nuclear power reducing carbon emissions.. Covering issues of safety, health, economics, Krieg concludes that if Australia doesn't get this nuclear plan happening -- "Australia will rightly be regarded as technologically backward and irrelevant"
This plea is not a one-off for South Australia, South Australia has a long history of involvement with nuclear issues, from hosting Britain's atomic bomb tests in the 1950s through a determined drive for importing nuclear wastes, in the 1990s. The usual suspects are still there - John White of Nuclear Fuel Leasing Group., Alexander Downier, among others, described by Sandi Keane in Plans for Australia to become world''s nuclear waste dump. They all just went a bit quiet after Fukushima.
In 2013-2014 a new distinctly South Australian push has taken up the torch. Terry Krieg, from Port Lincoln, is just one of many.
These South Australians get inspiration from both national and overseas nuclear advocates.
Federal Liberal and Labor remain coyly silent. However the Department of Industry recently recommended Small Modular Nuclear Reactors that they say can be "readily dispatched into the market". This despite the fact that these designs exist only at the blueprint stage. It's not clear who was responsible for this extraordinary paper .
The Energy Policy Institute of Australia (EPI) reports on "significant technological advances" in safe nuclear power generation, suggesting small modular reactors (SMRs) as being particularly suitable for use in mines and towns in remote locations in many parts of Australia". The Business Council of Australia president Tony Shepherd, who has a range of business interests has also called for nuclear power to be placed "on the table"
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