Family First Senator Bob Day today welcomed the South Australian Government’s move for a Royal Commission into the nuclear industry, saying the decision has enhanced prospects for submarines to be built in South Australia.
“Two big obstacles fell yesterday,” Senator Day said, “First, the Coalition agreed to an open tender on the submarine contract. Second, the State Premier agreed to consider a nuclear industry for South Australia.”
“On nuclear-powered subs, since 1 July in Federal Parliament I’ve been urging the Senate to follow the example of the late Norm Foster, the former Labor MP who had the courage to cross the floor to support uranium mining at Olympic Dam. Now the Government is going a step further to investigate how the nuclear industry would benefit South Australia.”
“This opens the door to nuclear submarines. I’ve been an advocate for nuclear submarines for many years, and the former Defence Minister welcomed my ‘opening the nuclear submarines debate’ during Question Time late last year [video]. One of the major obstacles to Australia considering nuclear submarines has been the absence of a domestic nuclear industry.”
“Expert opinion tells us that Australia needs 12 new submarines – 6 conventional, and 6 nuclear-powered (not nuclear-armed). Nuclear submarines, like the British Astute class, have by far superior range and potency than diesel-powered conventional submarines like the Collins class.”
“We could rotate our engineers and workforce through the UK to learn from them, with a view to eventually building those submarines here. The opportunity to lower cost, ensure the latest technology and build our domestic skills capacity would all be enhanced by a joint venture.”
“The Minerals Council said yesterday that South Australia has 80% of the nation’s uranium – it only makes sense, as the Premier puts it we are ‘part of the fuel cycle’, to see how we can get further involved in that fuel cycle.”
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