The Submarine Institute of Australia (SIA) is convening a seminar next month to examine whether submarines could pave the way for the development of a nuclear industry in Australia. The aim of the seminar is to encourage a broader consideration of the role of nuclear power in Australia and is not intended to influence debate around the Future Submarine Program. The SIA continues to support the Attack Class program.
This forum builds on one held in 2019 entitled ‘A Nuclear Industry Future for Australia? Starting the conversation which looked at the possibility of a nuclear industry supporting both civil and naval requirements. It became evident through that discussion that many Australians with misgivings about nuclear power stations, may understand and support nuclear power for submarines. This next seminar will consider the outlook for Australia’s national security situation over the next few decades, the benefits of nuclear propulsion for submarines, the potential for Australian industry if nuclear powered submarines were acquired in the future, developments in nuclear reactors for non-military application and the relevance and impact of extant legislation regarding nuclear power plants for civilian or naval requirements. Australian submarines with nuclear propulsion could potentially be but the first step in a broader Australian nuclear power industry.
Specifically, the program will explore a range of topics including the commonality of nuclear industry to civil and naval applications, nuclear waste management, nuclear power and social licence, the implications for Australian from China’s growing navy, the prohibition of nuclear power in Australia as well as the development of small modular reactors in Australia and overseas.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott will present the Keynote Address. Speakers include Ted O’Brien MP, Chair of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment and Energy. Steve Ludlam (former CEO of ASC); Dr Joanne Lackenby (President, Australian Nuclear Association); Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce AC (former Governor of South Australia and Royal Commissioner into The Nuclear Fuel Cycle); Professor Hugh White (ANU); Sam Roggeveen (Lowy Institute).