The SA Royal Commission into nuclear: has the nuclear door been opened and what does it mean?

Tuesday, 16 June 2015
Matthew Moharich
Charles Gregory

In February 2015 South Australian Labour Premier Jay Wetherill announced the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

The draft terms of reference focus on aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle other than mining – enrichment (although not for military purposes), storage of waste and power generation. The Royal Commission is being conducted by South Australia but the impacts may be far wider. 

From the moment it was announced the Royal Commission has gained attention from people across the political spectrum. Liberal Prime Minister Tony Abbott described it as ‘a gale of common sense’. Former Labour Prime Minister Bob Hawke called the Royal Commission a ‘hell of a good idea’. Scott Ludlum a Greens Senator from Western Australia said ‘[i]f the Royal Commission brings a genuine spirit of independence and rigour, and is willing to take evidence on the nuclear sector’s performance in Australia and overseas, the report will provide a valuable contribution to domestic energy and industry policy’. 

This talk will look at the risks and opportunities for native title holders (and the holders of Aboriginal Land) arising from the Commission. Which areas of the country might be impacted, by what parts of the nuclear fuel cycle and what say might native title holders have?