Nuclear expert: Enrichment plant nothing to fear

NO THREAT: Adelaide University chemistry professor Stephen Lincoln said residents had nothing to fear about SA Nuclear Energy Systems’ proposal for a $7 billion uranium enrichment plant in Whyalla.
NO THREAT: Adelaide University chemistry professor Stephen Lincoln said residents had nothing to fear about SA Nuclear Energy Systems’ proposal for a $7 billion uranium enrichment plant in Whyalla.

Adelaide University chemistry professor Stephen Lincoln said residents had nothing to fear about SA Nuclear Energy Systems’ proposal for a $7 billion uranium enrichment plant in Whyalla.

Nuclear advocacy group, SA Nuclear Energy Systems has developed a $20 billion blueprint for a nuclear industry in the state.

Mr Lincoln, who is on the board of SA Nuclear Energy Systems, said nuclear was “mysterious” to many people and he anticipated communities would be sceptical about the proposal.

“As far as these enrichment plants go, they don’t pose a radioactive threat. You’re not enriching it to weapons grade or anything like that.”

Adelaide University chemistry professor Stephen Lincoln

“I can understand people having fears,” he said.

“As far as these enrichment plants go, they don’t pose a radioactive threat.”

Mr Lincoln said there was nothing “sinister” about the draft plan and the dangers of an enrichment plant were no greater than a steel factory.

“You’re not enriching it to weapons grade or anything like that,” he said.

Resident Jo-Anne Waters strongly opposes nuclear in Whyalla and said she was not sold on the safety of the industry.

“I don't think there's any place for it,” she said.

“If it is so safe, then do it in their neighbourhood.”

Mr Lincoln said he believed attitudes towards nuclear were changing and greater understanding would continue to shift public opinion.

Mr Lincoln said he hoped the royal commission would give people the facts.

SA Nuclear Energy Systems has been lobbying the state and federal government to remove legal and political roadblocks to create a nuclear industry in the state.

Under its proposal, in addition to an enrichment plant in Whyalla, a nuclear waste storage facility would be established at Maralinga and would bring in more than $1 billion a year.

Modular reactors would also be set up on the Eyre Peninsula.