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Nuclear waste dump could earn South Australia "billions of dollars": scholar

Building a nuclear waste dump in the Australian outback could earn the South Australian government “billions of dollars” in potential revenue, a leading nuclear physicist said on Monday.

Dr. Ziggy Switkowski, one of Australia’s most eminent scientists, said if the nuclear waste dump was approved and the South Australian government accepted and stored nuclear waste from Australia and abroad, then the economic benefits for the state would be huge.

Speaking on Adelaide radio on Monday, Switkowski also applauded South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill’s decision to form a royal commission to examine the future of nuclear power in South Australia.

The premier said in a news conference last week that South Australia’s continuing role in nuclear power over the last 25 years calls for discussion about the future, and how it can serve the state going forward.

“There is an awful lot of toxic radioactive material from civilian and nuclear programs that is being stored probably imperfectly around the world,” Switkowski told 891 ABC radio.

“The feeling is that if a business case could be developed and a repository could be built in the right place, then there’s the potential there for billions of dollars, I suspect, of revenue.

“But it would be some time away.”

Switkowski hailed the Australian outback as one of the best places for nuclear waste.

“Australia has always seen to be a very attractive repository because we are a sophisticated country, the technology we use is very good, we have very strong regulatory regimes and our geology is perfect,” he said.

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