25 NOVEMBER – PUBLIC SESSIONS – TOPICS 16 & 17

Day 27 review: Two topics were covered in today’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, with the conclusion of high level waste storage and disposal witnesses and the start of investigations into security and non-proliferation risks. The first session involved Dr Mark Nutt and Natalia Saraeva, from the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, USA. Formed in 1946, it is a multidisciplinary science and engineering research centre, integrating researchers and experts from industry, academia and other government laboratories. The research undertaken there seeks to understand and address issues of global significance in areas such as clean energy generation, environmental sustainability, technological innovation and national security. Dr Nutt is a Principal Nuclear Engineer in the Nuclear Engineering Division at Argonne. Natalia Saraeva is a nuclear engineer at Argonne and is also involved in the NFST, leading the Execution Strategy Analysis effort. They discussed:

  • Case study on the planned high level waste repository at Yucca Mountain
  • The planning process being used to develop an integrated transport, storage and disposal strategy for high level waste in the US

The next session turned to Topic 17 – security and non-proliferation risks. Professor Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Centre (NPEC), gave evidence from Washington, DC. NPEC seeks to promote an enhanced understanding of strategic weapons proliferation issues. Professor Sokolski also serves as an adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics in Washington DC. Between 2008 and 2010, Professor Sokolski served as a member of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation and Terrorism, which was established by the US Congress. He spoke on:

  • The effectiveness of the regimes in place to address nuclear proliferation risks
  • The implications of nuclear energy programs for international policy

The final witness today was Dr Robert Floyd from the Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office – the Commonwealth authority responsible for maintaining Australia’s commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Dr Floyd has held a number of senior positions in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet where he provided advice to the Prime Minister on policy issues including counter-terrorism, national security and counter-proliferation. Dr Floyd has been appointed as Chair of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Standing Advisory Group on Safeguards Implementation. His evidence covered:

  • The proliferation and security risks which arise during nuclear fuel cycle activities
  • Means and measures required to mitigate proliferation and security risks in the event of expanded nuclear fuel cycle activities in Australia

Video and transcripts of each session will be uploaded into the Public Sessions archive. The next public session is on Monday, November 30, 2015, in the Commission’s office, 50 Grenfell St, Adelaide. Click here for topic and witness list for this session which covers Topic 18 – Financing of and investment in nuclear infrastructure.