South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission has named its first witnesses who represent a broad cross-section of expertise on climate change and energy policy.

Commissioner Kevin Scarce will open the first public session at 9am on Wednesday, September 9 at The Science Exchange Building.

The public sessions – which will be held throughout September, October, November and December – represent a significant information-gathering phase of the Commission.

The sessions will delve into topics specific to the Terms of Reference, with each witness asked to provide answers to particular questions across fields such as science, technology, economics, environmental management, planning, public administration, health, safety and regulation.

Some witnesses will be from overseas and will appear via video conferencing facilities.

Topics to be covered in the first few sessions include climate change and energy policy, the National Electricity Market, geology and hydrogeology in SA and low carbon energy options, including nuclear power.

Key witnesses confirmed for the “Climate Change and Energy Policy” public sessions include:

  • Professor Ross Garnaut, Professorial Research Fellow in Economics, Faculty of Business and Economics, at the University of Melbourne.
  • Ms Anna Skarbek, CEO, ClimateWorks Australia, an independent, research-based, non-profit organisation committed to catalysing reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in Australia.
  • Professor John Quiggin, an Australian Laureate Fellow at the School of Economics within the University of Queensland, and a member of the Climate Change Authority.
  • David Swift, Executive General Manager, Corporate Development, and Nicola Falcon, Group Manager, Planning, at the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
  • Associate Professor Mark Diesendorf, Deputy Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of NSW.
  • Professor Graham Nathan, founding Director of the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Energy Technology.
  • Dr Robert Dickinson, Member of the Centre for Energy Technology, at the University of Adelaide.
  • Professor David Karoly, Professor of Atmospheric Science in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne, and a member of the Climate Change Authority.

Later this year, witnesses will be called on other topics more specific to the nuclear fuel cycle, including the lessons learned from past activities in South Australia, the threat posed by radiation to humans and the environment, the storage and disposal of waste, regulatory oversight and best practice in community engagement.

All public sessions will be streamed via the Commission’s website. While most of the public sessions will be held in Adelaide, some will also be scheduled for major regional towns later in the year.

The early sessions will be held at The Science Exchange Building, 55 Exchange Place, Adelaide, ensuring interested members of the public can attend.

The majority of the other sessions will be held in the Commission’s Hearing Room, Level 5, 50 Grenfell Street, Adelaide. A public viewing area has been set up near the Hearing Room, with limited seating.