THE Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission held a public forum session last Friday in Ceduna as part of a regional tour to determine the positives and negatives of starting a nuclear industry in South Australia.
The Royal Commission's regional engagement manager Jon Bok delivered a presentation discussing the opportunities and risks of South Australia possibly entering into a nuclear fuel cycle.
Mr Bok ensured this initial part of the community consultation process was "only an information session with no agenda".
The Royal Commission will consult with an expert advisory committee of industry professionals who support and question the use of nuclear energy and conduct relevant inquiries in Australia and overseas to form a report of recommendations.
Mr Bok said the main answers sought by the commission were: is there an option for a nuclear fuel cycle in South Australia and if so can it be done and should it be done?
"The risks and opportunities need to be looked at extensively before any recommendations are put forward," Mr Bok said.
"Whether or not the whole process is viable and safe will be determined by the findings," he said.
The Royal Commission has produced four issues papers intended to generate community and industry discussion on aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle.
The four topics vary and include research into the viability of a temporary nuclear waste storage facility in South Australia and the effects of varying levels of waste disposal on the environment.
"If it cannot be done safely it simply won't be recommended," Mr Bok said.
"We are also considering the expansion of uranium mining in South Australia and looking at if the enrichment process for nuclear reactors can happen here; as it stands Australia currently does not process nuclear fuel," he said.
Among the recommendations to be presented to the commonwealth government will be the characteristics of suitable sites for exploration, based on geology and infrastructure.
"The Royal Commission will not be making recommendations for particular sites, just the suitability, in other words what needs to be available to enable a nuclear site as well as operating safely," Mr Bok said.
"I have had a number of people ask if we are possibly looking at Maralinga as a particular site, however as I said before we are in no shape or from recommending particular sites, just the characteristics required," he said.
The consultation process from here to form the report will entail Mr Bok returning to Ceduna at the end of July for an evening meeting.
"We understand that the late notice and morning session has not allowed everyone to attend, therefore we will return in late July for a meeting time more suitable," he said.
Issues papers and closing dates are available at nuclearrc.sa.gov.au.