Business leaders tour Europe on nuclear industry fact-finding mission

Stored nuclear waste taken from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

A DELEGATION of South Australian business leaders have travelled to Europe to learn how the state could protect its “clean, green” image and ensure safety if it becomes more involved in the nuclear fuel cycle.

Organised by the Committee for Adelaide, the two-week itinerary takes in sites in Finland, Sweden, France and England including an underground research laboratory, power plant and storage facilities.

The group of 10 will return the day before the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission is due to hand down its final report on May 6.

It includes Business SA chief Nigel McBride, branding expert Peter Joy, Liberal MP Adrian Pederick and representatives from the property, transport, waste management and legal sectors.

Committee for Adelaide general manager Matt Clemow said participants would be able to “make informed contributions” to the public debate that will follow the release of the final report.

“We wanted to establish an itinerary that allowed interested parties to get a clear understanding of the different facets of a deeper involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle,” Mr Clemow said.

“Travelling to Finland and Sweden is aimed to speak to local community groups about how the moral licence and social acceptance (for nuclear energy generation) was earned in those areas.

“We felt it was very important to travel to France given the understandable and natural concerns that have been raised about South Australia’s involvement (in nuclear) and how that sits alongside our clean, green GM-free image.

“We are taking lawyers and governance people who can glean a better understanding of what a future regulatory environment would look like.”

The industry tour will also cover training requirements to build a skilled workforce for a nuclear industry and the potential to extract further value by re-using nuclear waste.

Attendees have paid their own costs, of about $9000 each.

The Royal Commission was set up in March last year to consider the viability of uranium enrichment, nuclear power and waste dumping in SA.

In an interim report, released in February, Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarcerecommended multibillion-dollar revenue from storing the world’s high-level waste be ploughed into a state wealth fund, which his report estimated would generate more than $6 billion annually for at least 70 years — totalling about $445 billion.