South Australia Could Be Sitting On 100-Year Nuclear Gold Mine


OPINION: The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission is in. At least its ‘tentative findings’ are. Geoff Russell is already celebrating.

The Tentative Findings of the SA Nuclear Royal Commission hasn’t only opened the way to nuclear power in South Australia, but to building a wonderful legacy for the state that could last decades.

That paragraph might strike you as surprising if you haven’t actually read the findings. Or if perhaps you read them without knowing that the Chinese are currently driving the nuclear industry and will very much determine its future.

Or if perhaps you get your news from mainstream media, which has been running a lot of dump stories.

First, the Royal Commission totally rejected the fear mongering narrative of the anti-nuclear groups. The impact of that rejection will take some time to filter through to mainstream journalists who have built careers on that fear… like ABC’s Mark Willacy and others. But the science will not be denied.

Anybody with half a brain will easily see the nuclear fear narrative for what it is: pure hysterical ignorance of the first order.

Second. The Commission doesn’t think nuclear power is currently viable in SA, but has sketched out a range of conditions under which this could change. Betting on those conditions coming to pass is a pretty safe bet.

Third. The Chinese are working towards a fast neutron reactor future probably by about 2030, but perhaps even earlier. These reactors run on waste so whoever has the waste will be in a great position.

So under what conditions does the Commission say that its current judgment of unviability might change? (See paragraph 55 in the report). Here are some highlights.

  • a requirement for near zero CO2 energy. That would be a given now with a half smart Government.
  • lack of storage to balance intermittent renewables or the need to provide clean power for transport. I’ll bet on that.
  • Smoothing renewables proved more expensive than anticipated. Also pretty certain.
  • Nuclear got cheaper. It’s already cheaper, the Commission was just looking at the wrong costs; if you aren’t watching China, then you aren’t paying attention.

And so it goes on.

The full report, due in May, will make interesting reading.

Geoff Russell is a regular contributor to New Matilda. He has qualifications in mathematics and has written software all of his working life, but in the past decade has devoted increasing time to writing non-fiction with a simple goal... make the world a better place. A three-decade vegan and member of the Animal Justice Party, his first book in 2009 was 'CSIRO Perfidy', a critique of the high-red-meat CSIRO 'Total Wellbeing diet'; the most environmentally destructive diet on the planet. His concerns about climate change and the ineffectiveness of renewables led to a re-examination of his lifelong opposition to nuclear power. After considerable research he realised that the reasons people fear nuclear are built on obsolete knowledge about DNA and cancer. Geoff's second book 'GreenJacked! Derailing environmental action on climate change' is an e-book available on Amazon. He has been a regular contributor to since 2008 and has had pieces published in The Monthly, Australasian Science and a number of Australian newspapers.