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Opposition moves to investigate South Australia’s nuclear potential: Speirs, Patterson

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The Hon. David Speirs, Leader of the Opposition (SA), The Hon. Stephen Patterson, Shadow Minister for Energy and Net Zero (SA), Media Release, 12 April 2024

The Opposition has introduced a motion into State Parliament supporting an open-minded, non-ideological investigation into the potential for a civil nuclear industry – including energy generation – in South Australia.

Leader of the Opposition David Speirs introduced the motion to explore nuclear energy opportunities in South Australia in Parliament on Wednesday.

Despite strongly supporting AUKUS submarines being built in South Australia – which will be powered by nuclear reactors – Peter Malinauskas continues to flip-flop when it comes to his stance on a civil nuclear energy industry in our state.

While Peter Malinauskas said the nuclear energy sector is “absolutely central to being able to achieve decarbonisation” he continually refers to this as global ambition, refusing to embrace such a strategy for South Australian energy generation.

“We need to move on from the Premier’s weak rhetoric around nuclear energy and instead start taking mature steps towards investigating and planning for nuclear opportunities in South Australia,” said Leader of the Opposition, David Speirs.

“South Australians are paying some of the highest electricity prices in the country and every option to produce affordable and reliable power should be on the table.

“While Peter Malinauskas is more than happy to see the construction of nuclear-powered submarines at Osborne as part of the AUKUS agreement, he’s shown no interest in looking at the very real opportunities that could exist for South Australia to develop a civil nuclear energy sector.

“Right now, nuclear power plants are operating in more than 30 countries around the world with another 50 actively exploring it – and the reason for this is that nuclear power can provide zero-emissions, baseload electricity production, which in turn can keep prices down and keep the lights on.

“South Australia is already home to a quarter of the world’s uranium resources, and the economic possibilities of participating more fully in the nuclear fuel cycle could be enormous for our state.

“We need to have a mature conversation about nuclear energy production in South Australia, working with experts to understand the opportunities and engaging our community along the way.

“Peter Malinauskas needs to be clear with South Australians on what his position on nuclear energy actually is, and particularly whether he believes it forms part of our state’s future. If he’s not supportive of nuclear energy opportunities in South Australia, he needs to stop parading on the national stage pretending that he is a pro-nuclear Labor Premier.”

Shadow Minister for Energy and Net Zero, Stephen Patterson, questioned why the Malinauskas Labor Government is refusing to investigate the potential for nuclear power generation in South Australia.

“It’s quite unbelievable that on one hand Labor’s critical of small modular reactors because it’s an ‘evolving’ technology – yet they’re happy to forge ahead with a $600 million taxpayer funded experimental hydrogen plant they’ve admitted won’t lower household power bills,” Mr Patterson said.

“While the world moves forward with embracing nuclear energy as a clean and efficient power source, it appears Peter Malinauskas is still holding on to outdated fears and misconceptions.

“The Malinauskas Labor Government’s reluctance to explore nuclear energy options in South Australia is really doing our state a disservice when it comes to our economic prosperity and environmental sustainability.”

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