The South Australian Labor government has called for Australia’s first royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle, raising questions about the use of nuclear power. Royal commissions are mostly held to explore issues and events that have already taken place, so it is unusual that a royal commission has been appointed to analyse the case for nuclear power. Why a royal commission? And is that really the proper forum to investigate the potential use of nuclear power?

Why is a royal commission being used instead of a normal inquiry process?

A royal commission is a form of "public inquiry" where government-appointed bodies provide advice on or investigate an issue. Royal commissions are used to analyse issues of high importance or controversy, and they can last for several years.