Keynote Speakers

Ben HeardBen Heard

Founder and Executive Director
Bright New World

Ben Heard, is recognised as a leading voice for the use of nuclear technologies to address our most pressing global challenges. It certainly didn’t start that way.

Back in the day he was a member of environmental NGOs and shared their basic objection to nuclear technologies. Being serious about the environmentalism stuff, he undertook a Masters in Corporate Sustainability at Monash University, beginning in 2004. His work threw him into the deep end of sustainability, with stakeholder consultation for issues like native and plantation forestry industries, legacy toxic waste sites and transport infrastructure.

He started working in major projects in climate change adaptation (managing the risks from the change) and mitigation (slowing the change down). This led to the establishment of his own small consulting firm in South Australia. Around about then, the apparent futility of work was getting him down…the projects were great but there was just no solution on offer to match the scale of the problems at hand. So instead of continuing his objection to nuclear technology he shut his damn mouth about it for a couple of years and did some learning. The result was a presentation entitled Nuclear Power: From Opponent to Proponent, delivered in 2011 to the South Australian Technology Industry Association. That was the start of pathway of writing, presenting, advocating and ever more learning about how we can reinvent the future using all our knowledge and ingenuity. Through his blog, Decarbonise SA, Ben tracked this journey and helped to build a growing international community.

Ben is undertaking doctoral studies at the University of Adelaide, where he examines clean energy supply with a focus on nuclear technologies. His first published paper won the 2016 Publication Medal from the Royal Society of South Australia and he has presented his research findings at conferences around Australia and the world. Founding Bright New World takes Ben back to his NGO beginnings, using what has learned to give environmentalism and sustainability a reboot for the 21st century.

Dr Paul HeithersayDr Paul Heithersay PSM FTSE FSEG

Deputy Chief Executive
Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Government of South Australia

As Deputy Chief Executive, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Dr Heithersay leads the Minerals, Resources and Energy divisions. These divisions manage the State's mineral, gas, petroleum, energy, and investment sectors on behalf of the people of South Australia.

Paul also heads the Resources Infrastructure and Investment Task Force, a specialist team that works to secure investment in state significant projects involving mineral resources and downstream processing. The Task Force emerged from the Olympic Dam Task Force, which was originally established to facilitate the proposed open-pit expansion of BHP Billiton's underground copper-gold-uranium mine near Roxby Downs. Its team members and partners have since been responsible for delivering innovative solutions to major project challenges through the work of the Port Pirie Transformation Task Force and the Steel Task Force. The team has also overseen the development of South Australia's Copper and Magnetite strategies.

Before joining the Public Service in 2002, Dr Heithersay spent more than 20 years in the mining industry in Australia and Southeast Asia and China for North Ltd and its predecessor Geopeko.

In June 2012, Dr Heithersay was awarded a Public Service Medal for his outstanding public service to the growth and development of the mineral resources sector in South Australia and in November 2012, elected to the Fellowship of the Fellows of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences (ATSE). In October 2013 Dr Heithersay was awarded the prestigious Legend in Mining award for his role in guiding South Australia's transformation into a major destination for investment in mineral resources and energy.

In 2014 the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) appointed Dr Heithersay as the 2014 International Exchange Lecturer. This is the Society's lectureship that is intended to bring leading economic geologists to lecture venues worldwide, in order to interact with economic geology professionals and students, and act as an ambassador for the profession and SEG.

Agneta RisingAgneta Rising

Director General
World Nuclear Association

Agneta Rising became Director General of the World Nuclear Association on 1 January 2013, having previously held the position of Vice President Environment at Vattenfall AB. In this post Ms Rising headed a pan-European department focused on energy, environment and sustainability. Previously, Ms Rising was Director for Nuclear Business Development at Vattenfall Generation. 

Ms Rising joined Vattenfall AB (then Swedish State Power Board) in 1980. Her career there centered on radiological protection. Within the Vattenfall Group, Rising was the leading specialist on nuclear energy and the environment.

Agneta Rising became chairman of the Uranium Institute in May 2000, and presided over its transformation into the World Nuclear Association in 2001.

Ms Rising is co-founder and former president of Women in Nuclear (WIN). During her WIN presidency, the organization quadrupled in size. Ms. Rising has also been president of the European Nuclear Society and president of the Swedish Nuclear Society.

Over the past two decades, Agneta Rising has been appointed by the Swedish government, the EU Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency to several significant expert and advisory positions relevant to the safety and future development of nuclear power. Among these, Ms Rising served for four years on the IAEA’s International Nuclear Safety Group. She was awarded the Atoms for Peace Prize in 2013

Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN (Rtd)Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN (Rtd)

The University of Adelaide

Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN (Rtd), born in Adelaide and educated at Elizabeth East Primary School and Elizabeth High School, was the 34th Governor of South Australia from 2007 to 2014. He served in the Royal Australian Navy from 1968, retiring in 2004. His appointments included service on HMAS Sydney during the Vietnam War, postings in Washington and London, Commanding Officer of HMAS Cerberus and Flag appointments as Naval Training and Naval Support Commander.

Kevin also specialised in military logistics and procurement, rising to the rank of Rear Admiral and Head of Maritime Systems at the Defence Materiel Organisation. After retirement, as Head of the South Australian Defence Unit, he led a government team that contributed to ASC winning the contract to build air warfare destroyers for the Australian Defence Force.

Kevin was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in 1994, the Knight of Grace in the Venerable Order of Saint John in 2007 and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2008.

Rear Admiral Scarce completed a Bachelor of Financial Administration from New England, Masters of Management Economics at the University of New South Wales (Australian Defence Force Academy campus), and a Masters Degree in National Security Strategy at the US War College (National Defense University) in Washington, DC. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Flinders University in 2009 for distinguished service to the public of South Australia and an Honorary Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) from the University of New England in 2014.

In addition to his role as 16th Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, Rear Admiral Scarce was recently appointed Chair of Cancer Council SA and President of Novita Children's Services. He is a Director of a number of public and private companies, a Governor of the Coopers Foundation and joint Patron, with his wife Liz, of Anglicare SA.

Kevin was appointed on 29 March 2015, as the Commissioner of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. The Commission delivered its findings in June 2016.

Daniel Zavattiero Daniel Zavattiero

Executive Director
Minerals Council of Australia

Mr Daniel Zavattiero was appointed as Executive Director – Uranium in October 2013 to manage uranium specific issues following the integration of the Australian Uranium Association into the Minerals Council of Australia. 

Daniel has over 24 years management and marketing experience in the resource sector, spanning multiple commodities including iron ore, base metals and uranium in Australia, Singapore and the Netherlands.

Mr Zavattiero has a Bachelor of Economics with Honours from Monash University and a Graduate Certificate of Corporate Management from Deakin University.