Former SA governor to lead nuclear inquiry

File image of uranium extraction plant at the Olympic Dam mine site near Roxby Downs in South Australia.

The man appointed to lead an inquiry into South Australia's nuclear energy mix says he has no preconceived views on the issue.

Former South Australian governor Kevin Scarce will lead a royal commission into the role of nuclear power in the state's energy mix.

Premier Jay Weatherill has revived debate on whether SA should embrace the production, enrichment and storage of nuclear power to boost its lagging economy.

He said Mr Scarce, who served as governor of SA from 2007 to 2014, was a strong communicator who was well-placed to lead the contentious debate, despite his lack of legal expertise.

Mr Scarce, who was last year appointed Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, said he expected the work of the royal commission to be completed within a year.

"I come to this with no preconceived views," he told reporters on Monday.

"I actually want a public debate on what the opportunities and what the risks of this industry are for South Australia.

"I think it's timely. I think we need to get on with it."

The premier has said that a nuclear power plant is unlikely to be built in SA but there was potential for remote parts of the state to host a nuclear waste deposit.

He said the federal government had offered its support and promised the co-operation of agencies.

Business and mining lobby groups have welcomed the inquiry but environmentalists said the state's clean energy credentials would be in tatters if the government allowed nuclear waste dumping.

The Liberal opposition has offered bipartisan support but criticised the timing of the inquiry after the government last week confirmed plans to close several hospital emergency departments.

Source AAP

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