A clean energy future
We have to decarbonise our economy and our environment. How we achieve that and how we do it in a meaningful timeframe is key. The South Australian Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle is likely to prove an expensive distraction from the renewable energy industry that is flourishing in South Australia already providing 36% of the state's energy.
Nuclear is inherently unsafe, it is increasingly expensive, notoriously slow to develop and politically unpopular. If we ignore for a moment that there is no safe solution for nuclear waste storage and that the nuclear industry provides the fuel for the ongoing development and modernisation of nuclear weapons - there are many other factors that exclude nuclear as viable energy option.
The promise of new technologies - Generation IV, Fusion and Thorium are all decades away from becoming commercially viable and unlikely to ever be affordable. We simply do not have time to wait for technology that may or may not ever be available, safe enough to use or cheap enough to make sense. If and when technologies become available it is likely then to take decades more to finance, construct, set up regulations, build infrastructure and train a skilled workforce. Nuclear power is not the solution to climate change.
The World Nuclear Industry Status report provides a great overview of the reality of new reactors under construction stating that "The most commonly cited causes of delay are: design issues; shortage of skilled labor; quality control issues; supply chain issues; poor planning either by the utility or equipment suppliers; shortage of finance; and public opposition."
If we want decentralised power scattered across the country, renewable energy options are proving to be much cheaper, much quicker to roll out and publicly acceptable and above all safe.
South Australians are hurting from job losses and closure of the automotive industry. The nuclear industry is one that has promised South Australians a lot, taken much more from them and has delivered very little in return. Becoming further entrenched in the nuclear industry is not the solution to creating new jobs, industry or a safe energy future.
Manufacturing, installing and maintaining renewable energy technology in South Australia would be much quicker to establish and be much more accessible to the existing workforce in South Australia. In 2014 there was US $270 billion invested in renewable energy, a growth rate of 12%, renewable now provide 6% of the world's energy. South Australia is already producing 36% of the state's energy from renewable sources. South Australia's future is renewable not radioactive.