South Australian Government launches Nuclear Energy Royal Commission

 
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Trapped in a meeting with Rhonda and Karsten
As covered in the ABC and the 'Tiser:
A royal commission will look at the future role South Australia should play in the nuclear industry, Premier Jay Weatherill says.

The SA Premier called a news conference to make the surprise announcement, telling reporters the inquiry would be a first for Australia.

He said the inquiry would look at SA's involvement in the mining, enrichment, energy and storage phases in the life cycle of nuclear fuel.

"We believe South Australians should be given the opportunity to explore the practical, financial and ethical issues raised by a deeper involvement in the nuclear industries," he said.

"We need a clearer understanding about the nature of energy demands around the world and indeed in this country.

"We need to understand the technological advances which are allowing there to be very different offerings in both the nuclear energy space but also solar energy and in wind power, all of these matters will bear on the considerations that South Australians need to make."

Mr Weatherill said SA had one of the world's biggest uranium deposits and had been involved in uranium production for more than 25 years.

"It is now the time to engage in a mature and robust conversation about SA's future role in the nuclear industry," he said.

Terms of reference yet to be set

The Premier said consultation would start in the coming day on the terms of reference.

"The truth is we are already in the nuclear fuel cycle. I mean we are selling uranium to the world," he said.

"The question is whether we should deepen our involvement for our benefit and we need to understand what those benefits look like, lets perhaps look at what the opportunities are and lets understand the risks so we can make a considered judgment."

A number of independent experts would be engaged to support the royal commission's work, Mr Weatherill said.

The Australian Youth Climate Coalition was swift to condemn the Government's announcement.

It said the state needed to focus on its renewable energy potential rather than nuclear potential.

Greens leader Mark Parnell questioned if the State Government was paving the way for power generation at Port Augusta to be upgraded from coal to nuclear, rather than the current upgrade plan for solar thermal generation.

ABC political reporter Nick Harmsen said it put the proposition of a nuclear waste dump in South Australia back on the political agenda, after a previous Labor administration fought federal moves.

Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said he supported holding an inquiry but the Premier was trying to distract South Australians from more pressing issues, such as the problems of the public health sector.
ABC News


An interesting move. Certainly not a slow news week given the goings-on in Canberra at present, so it surely it may not be a distraction. It will be very interesting to see who Mr Weatherill appoints as Commissioner, as well as the Terms of Reference.

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  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Thanks for that, I hadn't seen that announcement.

Do you think he might be looking at a nuclear waste depository (as discussed previously on Railpage) or perhaps even a nuclear electricity industry? If so my money would be on either Port Augusta or Whyalla.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
There Is no doubt that the South Australian Government as well as the Australian Federal Government needs the quickly explore new ways to make some coin from the mineral Industry.

If understand correctly (?) World reserves of uranium U235 are getting low, Australia has plenty of the stuff In the ground locked up (mining banned)    

There Is plenty of reserves uranium U238 throughout the World, but this grade Is much more expensive to refine/enrich.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Trapped in a meeting with Rhonda and Karsten
There Is no doubt that the South Australian Government as well as the Australian Federal Government needs the quickly explore new ways to make some coin from the mineral Industry.

If understand correctly (?) World reserves of uranium U235 are getting low, Australia has plenty of the stuff In the ground locked up (mining banned)    

There Is plenty of reserves uranium U238 throughout the World, but this grade Is much more expensive to refine/enrich.
Nightfire
Actually, global demand for uranium ore is pretty soft at the moment, due to nuclear reactor retirements in Europe and the USA and the continued mothballing of Japan's nuclear power stations. Uranium ore is 99.7% U-238, U-235 is most of the remainder. U-235 is fissionable, but U-238 needs to absorb neutrons to become Plutonium-239, a fissionable isotope of Plutonium. For today's reactors, generally speaking the more enriched the uranium the better, although there are nuclear reactors like the Canadian CANDU that can use un-enriched uranium.

I suspect the commission's main findings will be that:
  • Current methods of uranium enrichment will be uneconomical to perform in South Australia due to local electricity prices, so pursuing further nuclear reactor fuel fabrication in SA won't be viable
  • A waste repository out near Woomera (on Crown land) to store other nation's spent nuclear fuel will generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the SA Government on an annual basis
  • SA could build a conventional nuclear power station, but it would require a lot of midwifery (both fiscal and political) from the State Government to get it built. Might be viable if SA can't build any more wind farms.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

An interesting move. Certainly not a slow news week given the goings-on in Canberra at present, so it surely it may not be a distraction. It will be very interesting to see who Mr Weatherill appoints as Commissioner, as well as the Terms of Reference.
LancedDendrite
It's also been a busy week for the SA state government getting bad press over oppressive taxation (massive hikes to the 'emergency services levy' without a single cent going to the emergency services which are actually facing cuts), threats of mass resignations from volunteer firefighters and outrage over plans to close a large chunk of the public hospital system.

Three big bad press issues, and guess what we have to counter that? Three big 'announcements' - the first being that the state government has secured a Liverpool Football Club exhibition match at Adelaide Oval, the second a proposal to change the state's time zone (to suit a business lobby - rather bizarre behaviour for a 'Labor' government), and now this announcement of a nuclear talkfest.

Sorry, but until proven otherwise this nuclear commission talkfest is just another typical J-Wezza distraction attempt, just like the road safety talkfest last year which did a reasonably good job of getting the Chloe Valentine inquest (a child who died due to systemic failures in the state's child protection system) off the front pages.

I suspect the commission's main findings will be that:
  • Current methods of uranium enrichment will be uneconomical to perform in South Australia due to local electricity prices, so pursuing further nuclear reactor fuel fabrication in SA won't be viable
  • A waste repository out near Woomera (on Crown land) to store other nation's spent nuclear fuel will generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the SA Government on an annual basis
  • SA could build a conventional nuclear power station, but it would require a lot of midwifery (both fiscal and political) from the State Government to get it built. Might be viable if SA can't build any more wind farms.
LancedDendrite

I suspect that the findings will be whatever will be convenient for the government, of course. The skill in ordering a report, feasibility study or commission of some kind is all in carefully sculpting the terms of reference to lead the commission to the desired outcome.

I agree with the waste repository, by the way. I can't see it happening under this Labor government though, because it would certainly kill their chances of controlling the news cycle well enough to hang on to power at the 2018 election.

The responses of the other political parties will be interesting. The smartest move for the SA Liberals would be to throw their support behind it in the interest of bipartisan support for positive economic development, which just about guarantees that they won't do that because they are, incredibly, so badly organised that they make the stagnant fourth-term Labor government look good! In the last couple of months, the SA Liberals have managed to lose the Fisher by-election to Labor (no fourth-term government should EVER be increasing their majority in a seat previously held by an Independent) and lose 75% of their majority in the by-election for the blue ribbon Liberal seat (now marginal Liberal seat) of Davenport.

It will be hilarious to see the Greens fumble around trying to use the National Security scare tactic in opposing it, given they haven't ever shown any sign of actually knowing anything about security in the past.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Did anyone notice that the SA state government is also looking at shifting our zoned time? Whilst conveniently overlooking the actual timezone that SA should be on? Weatherill must have something in the closet he doesn't want making it to the media...
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
In the last couple of months, the SA Liberals have managed to lose the Fisher by-election to Labor (no fourth-term government should EVER be increasing their majority in a seat previously held by an Independent) and lose 75% of their majority in the by-election for the blue ribbon Liberal seat (now marginal Liberal seat) of Davenport.
justapassenger
Whatever happened to the plan for Alexander Downer to tango on in and rescue the SA Liberals from oblivion? I suppose he just can't be bothered.
  JoppaJunction Chief Train Controller

Location: Banned
Did anyone notice that the SA state government is also looking at shifting our zoned time? Whilst conveniently overlooking the actual timezone that SA should be on? Weatherill must have something in the closet he doesn't want making it to the media...
Aaron

If SA changes timezones will that affect a change in the NT?

If SA adopts WA time then Broken Hill being on SA or Central time would they follow or go to NSW time?
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Did anyone notice that the SA state government is also looking at shifting our zoned time? Whilst conveniently overlooking the actual timezone that SA should be on? Weatherill must have something in the closet he doesn't want making it to the media...
Aaron
I certainly did notice that it seemed like nothing more than the usual scandal management tactics - see my previous post with my theory on which three scandals correspond to the last week's big three announcements.

The 'actual timezone' for SA is debatable - Adelaide is right on halfway between UTC+9 and UTC+9.5, so it would come down to whether more people live to to the east of Adelaide's longitude (i.e. closer to the current timezone of UTC+9.5) than the west (closer to UTC+9).

Ideally, the whole of Australia would be on the central time zone of UTC+9, halfway between eastern time and western time, and shift to UTC+10 (the current eastern time) for daylight saving during summer. If China can cope with one time zone for the whole country, so can a physically smaller country like Australia!

If SA changes timezones will that affect a change in the NT?

If SA adopts WA time then Broken Hill being on SA or Central time would they follow or go to NSW time?
BenGibbons
SA will certainly not move back 1.5 hours to WA time, the suggestion is that SA move forward half an hour from UTC+9.5 (UTC+10.5 with daylight time) to align with the eastern states on UTC+10/11 - which Broken Hill would certainly follow. Some people have tried to hijack the discussion (exactly what J-Wezza wanted - a debate he could start and others would carry on for him) and suggest that it would actually be the perfect chance to shift back half an hour to UTC+9.

Shifting back to UTC+9 would be better for the people in the western parts of the state, but of little consequence to people in Adelaide (the longitude of which is almost exactly halfway between the lines of longitude corresponding to UTC+9 and UTC+9.5) and worse for everyone living to the east of Adelaide - including people in western Victoria who find SA time to be more convenient for them than   Victorian time!

Shifting forward to UTC+10 would be good for the business lobby, the transport industry, the tourism industry and the media industry (specifically the lazy bastards at SBS) which would no longer face the choice of altering programming or delaying 'live' content for SA.

It would be up to the government of the NT to choose what to do - they could stay on UTC+9.5, move back to UTC+9 (halfway between eastern/western) or align with Queensland on UTC+10. At the time that SA shifted from GMT+9 to GMT+9.5, the NT did not have self-government.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
If SA changes timezones will that affect a change in the NT?
BenGibbons

I believe the NT are not interested in changing timezone.
If SA adopts WA time then Broken Hill being on SA or Central time would they follow or go to NSW time?
BenGibbons

I guess that would be something for the people of Broken Hill to take up with the NSW State Government.
http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2015/02/06/4175293.htm
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-09/little-consensus-on-whether-broken-hill-time-zone-should-change/6078862

Other reading:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-06/south-australian-time-zone-changes/6075924
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
If China can cope with one time zone for the whole country, so can a physically smaller country like Australia!
justapassenger
Actually the East-West width of a country determines how many time zones it spans, and China is only a little more than Australia at around 4,500 Kms, against Australia at 4,000 Kms.

China probably would not gives a rats about our concept of time zones anyway.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Whatever happened to the plan for Alexander Downer to tango on in and rescue the SA Liberals from oblivion? I suppose he just can't be bothered.
don_dunstan
I don't think he was ever interested in The Advertiser's $h1t-stirring campaign to get him involved in state politics.

After the Kevin07 election, he resigned from the Federal Parliament to take up (on the recommendation of the ALP's foreign affairs minister) the UN post as the envoy to Cyprus. Last year he finished in that role and got appointed as Australia's current High Commissioner to the Court of St James. They both seem to be rather more distinguished posts than leader of the SA Liberals.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Actually the East-West width of a country determines how many time zones it spans, and China is only a little more than Australia at around 4,500 Kms, against Australia at 4,000 Kms.

China probably would not gives a rats about our concept of time zones anyway.
TheBlacksmith
The width of a country in terms of longitude, not kilometres, is what determines how many time zones it spans.

China spans five time zones, yet copes with the whole country operating on one.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Did anyone notice that the SA state government is also looking at shifting our zoned time? Whilst conveniently overlooking the actual timezone that SA should be on? Weatherill must have something in the closet he doesn't want making it to the media...
Aaron
You mean Business SA Razz
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Yes of course this announcement was timed to distract attention from the many failures of the state government, but in the long term it may be a good thing.

Only a Labour government could announce this, if (a very big if) the Libs ever stopped infighting, got their act together and managed to be elected, they couldn't announce this as both the "protesting class" and the inner city trendies would scream blue murder.

But S.A. could benefit from both facilities.

The state need s reliable BASE load power, for when the wind don't blow and the sun don't shine. At the moment this is supplied by limited gas reserves and abundant but low grade Leigh Creek coal. A nuclear power plant at the top of Spencer Gulf (but well away from Whyalla, Port Augusta or Port Pirie) could provide power to the energy intensive industries up there and also to Adelaide via a low loss, high voltage power line.

The spent nuclear fuel storage can be very lucrative, a real cash cow. The requirements are pretty basic but not found in many other places.
  • A remote and unpopulated area (like the outer parts of the Woomera Range)
  • Geologically stable and unlikely to ever have anything but the smallest earth tremors
  • No chance of flooding
  • A place that can be kept under high security
Whack it in some bit of gibber desert that is so barren, remote and godforsaken that not even the most ambitious graziers or aborigines have much interest in it, ring fence it with razor wire. Then run a couple of trucks a month to deliver spent fuel from all over the world to it, employ a small FIFO staff to run it and a few hard core mercenaries to protect it.


A facility like that could be run and protected very cheaply, yet it would be massively profitable for the state government. The extra money could be split three ways between tax reduction, debt repayment and extra state govt services like health, education, etc.

In short, (except for a few Latte-sipping, inner-city trendies who tend to be against everything anyway),
everyone in South Australia would win! Smile
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
(except for a few Latte-sipping, inner-city trendies who tend to be against everything anyway),
"Bogong"
There is a fixation amongst some posters, as exemplified here by Bogong. Could somebody please explain to me what it is about sipping a latte, which appears to convey a degree of opprobrium to these writers? Why not Twinings-sipping? Why not short black sipping? If sipping a latte is the way to identify a trendy, I must have seen tens of thousands of them, and they appear inoffensive to me.

And, whilst we're at it, what are the figures used by Bogong to justify his remark that inner city trendies "tend to be against everything." It must have been a very time-consuming survey to come up with this information.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Well Valvegear, you and I both live in wealthy suburbs in the inner north of Melbourne where a small, two bedroom, single story terrace house averages around $1 million. (I bought mine at the turn of the century for $292,500, no way I could afford to buy here now.) So just look at your neighbours to see the sort of person I'm talking about.

Not only are they wealthy, but they have a sense of entitlement, an unspoken belief that they (and their views) are much more worthy and perhaps superior to folk who live in less fashionable places. They tend to vote Green, but some vote Liberal or Labour. But all of them have that air of self righteousness that offends me so much. Yes, "latte sipping" is an inaccurate stereotype, most of them are more likely to indulge in short blacks or some obscure, insanely expensive, "single origin" tea.

But this is a South Australian discussion, so I don't need to point out that there are several Adelaide suburbs that are full of the same privileged, self righteous types who believe that anyone who dares to have a different opinion to them is not only wrong, but deserves to be vilified and chased out of any discussion.

*rant ends*
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Not only are they wealthy, but they have a sense of entitlement, an unspoken belief that they (and their views) are much more worthy and perhaps superior to folk who live in less fashionable places. They tend to vote Green, but some vote Liberal or Labour. But all of them have that air of self righteousness that offends me so much. Yes, "latte sipping" is an inaccurate stereotype, most of them are more likely to indulge in short blacks or some obscure, insanely expensive, "single origin" tea.
Bogong
Stereotype, yes, but even though not all city folk are like that, the ones that are stick out like the proverbial... Very Happy
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville


But this is a South Australian discussion, so I don't need to point out that there are several Adelaide suburbs that are full of the same privileged, self righteous types who believe that anyone who dares to have a different opinion to them is not only wrong, but deserves to be vilified and chased out of any discussion.

*rant ends*
Bogong
I assume they would be in the suburbs next to ones where the the drunk, wife bashing, redneck bigots live Razz
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Shifting forward to UTC+10 would be good for the business lobby, the transport industry, the tourism industry and the media industry (specifically the lazy bastards at SBS) which would no longer face the choice of altering programming or delaying 'live' content for SA.

It would be up to the government of the NT to choose what to do - they could stay on UTC+9.5, move back to UTC+9 (halfway between eastern/western) or align with Queensland on UTC+10. At the time that SA shifted from GMT+9 to GMT+9.5, the NT did not have self-government.
justapassenger
From a business perspective South Australia (sorry more Adelaide) has a lot to gain, by aligning It's time with Victoria and NSW.

NT should be the same as South Australia !

Queensland (well South East Queensland) seam cluelessly on a different page when It comes to not adopting day light savings
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
From a business perspective South Australia (sorry more Adelaide) has a lot to gain, by aligning It's time with Victoria and NSW.

NT should be the same as South Australia !

Queensland (well South East Queensland) seam cluelessly on a different page when It comes to not adopting day light savings
At work I deal with clients and suppliers in the Eastern states, New Zealand and Western Australia (and occasionally some in Europe). I find that you accept the time differences and make allowance for them.
It's not that hard!
The 30 minute difference to the eastern states is minimal, and frankly if other businesses find it hard to cope with, then frankly their mentality is sadly lacking.
How the hell do the easterners deal with the westerners and vice versa?? Neither will change their time zones to make life easier!

If people can't deal with calculating a half hour time difference then maybe SA should change to the GMT +9 hr zone

I find it amazing how some so easily suggest a time change without considering what it would entail.
Changing SA to EST would mean the sun rises and sets 30 minutes later,
In Adelaide during mid winter - for the office worker (9am starter) no big deal, but for the blue collar worker (7am starter) it means commuting and starting work before sunrise ... in some cases trying to work outdoors in the dark! (how does that effect OH&S ?)
In mid summer sunset in Adelaide would be between 9 and 10PM
Or out at Ceduna on the Eyre Peninsula sun set AFTER 10:30pm (Lets hear the business mans wife scream about getting the kids to sleep!)

Now as far as the NT and Queensland (and northern WA) are concerned. The closer you move towards the equator, the less the difference between night and day becomes, and surprisingly the need for daylight savings diminishes.
There is a lot more to consider than just how it effects me or you.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
GMT +9 makes better sense for the west cost like Pt Lincoln and Ceduna - half an hour is a pain in behind to work out at times. However it's obviously not the most important issue right now.

After the Kevin07 election, he resigned from the Federal Parliament to take up (on the recommendation of the ALP's foreign affairs minister) the UN post as the envoy to Cyprus. Last year he finished in that role and got appointed as Australia's current High Commissioner to the Court of St James. They both seem to be rather more distinguished posts than leader of the SA Liberals.
justapassenger
I can't imagine anyone would be particularly interested - the only other person on that side of politics I can possibly think of is Amanda Vanstone and she's on the same sort of consulate junky wheel that Alexander Downer is on too.

Who else could they shoe-horn in to rescue the SA Liberals?
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Well Valvegear, you and I both live in wealthy suburbs in the inner north of Melbourne where a small, two bedroom, single story terrace house averages around $1 million. (I bought mine at the turn of the century for $292,500, no way I could afford to buy here now.) So just look at your neighbours to see the sort of person I'm talking about.
"Bogong"


The neighbours in my block eh? A semi retired grandmother, a buyer for a fashion house, a bloke on drug rehabilitation, a guy who does contract work, a woman in her 30's who works in high-vis overalls at a food plant,  two students, another student and his retail assistant girl friend, a mid-40's lady and her 87-year-old mother - daughter is trying to run her own fashion business, and a semi-retired engineer. Next door, a 70's Yugoslav couple. The people I see at the shopping centre are much the same sort of mixture. There are a couple of expensive streets nearby, but they're the stand out rather than the rule.

It was written some years ago that there were two types of inner suburban Melbourne trendy. The first type wore hand made, cable knit white sweaters and patent leather shoes, and were named Gavin and Penelope. The other type wore kaftans and Handicrafts of Asia dresses and leather sandals, and called their children Eros or Zuk. They're both fairly rare species.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
You know perfectly well what I mean, Rolling Eyes ... but I'll rephrase things. ...

Just look at the average person who has bought a terrace house in North Fitzroy in the past decade for, wealthy, self righteous people with a sense of entitlement and very little tolerance for people in less fashionable areas who dare to think differently than they do.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Queensland (well South East Queensland) seam cluelessly on a different page when It comes to not adopting day light savings
Nightfire


Wait, what? Queensland had daylight saving over 20 years ago and it only succeeded in annoying the crap out of everyone.

The closer you move towards the equator, the less the difference between night and day becomes, and surprisingly the need for daylight savings diminishes.
There is a lot more to consider than just how it effects me or you.
Pressman


...and the more annoying it is.

The only time I enjoy daylight saving is when I'm on holidays further from the equator and want to stay out late. :beer:

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