Nuclear Storage Seen Generating A$100 Billion for Australia

  • Commission says waste site in South Australia an economic boon
  • Revenue would be generated over 120 years, commission finds

A nuclear waste disposal site in South Australia could generate more than A$100 billion ($74 billion) in income over 120 years and the state government should pursue such an economic opportunity, a royal commission said in a report Monday.

The state can safely increase its activities in the sector, although it will need to build public support to proceed, said the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

South Australia, where BHP Billiton Ltd. operates the Olympic Dam mine, set up the commission last year to look at the role the state should play in the nuclear industry -- from mining and enrichment to energy generation and waste storage. While Australia is home to the world’s largest uranium reserves, it has never had a nuclear power plant.

The commission found it wouldn’t be commercially viable to develop such a plant in South Australia beyond 2030 under current rules, though recommended the state government lobby at a federal level to remove restrictions on nuclear power generation.

Premier Jay Weatherill said his government will respond to the report by the end of this year.

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