Except they aren't uninhabited. They're somebody's country. Traditional owners are still pretty miffed about being nuked by the British in the 1950s and '60s. Good luck getting agreement for anything remotely nuclear.
Not as much as you might think. You'll probably find the quality a bit of a disappointment as well.
Thorium has been touted for the better part of a century. There's no reason to suppose that all the problems will be resolved any time soon, if at all. I've read that the lead-time for a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor is estimated at 40 to 70 years.
Meanwhile, the traditional nuclear power industry is going bankrupt. When the market speaks, it's generally wise to listen. When it speaks so loudly, it's difficult to ignore.
First, we need leaders.
Many bullets, many battles, in a campaign that won't necessarily end.
Government, we have. Leadership, we lack.
I look to the Snowy Mountains Scheme. Begun under Labor's Chifley, most construction was completed under the Liberal's Menzies. Whatever we might think of the environmental effects, it was a nation-building project that took vision to begin and courage to complete.
Compare that to telecommunications. John Howard betrayed the nation when he privatised infrastructure that had been built by the community over the better part of a century. To maximise short-term profits, the private sector neglected the network. Eventually, government had to step back in. The government that stepped in was Labor. The Liberals didn't like that so, when the opportunity presented, they set about sabotaging what the others had begun. That's what passes for government in Australia these days. Leadership, it isn't.
I've come this far, so what's my solution? No magic bullet, just a nation-building project on a scale that will have current-generation politicians fouling their nappies. Make that inter-nation-building. There are good reasons for involving our near neighbours.
Turn the entire nation into one coordinated mass of generation and storage. Extend that to our near neighbours, which have significant tidal, hydro and geothermal resources.
The Tasman Sea, for example, is about 2,000 kilometres wide. Modern HVDC transmission lines typically lose about 3% per thousand kilometres. Transmitting power harnessed from New Zealand's geothermal resources to Australia's east coast would therefore be more cost-effective than storing Australian-produced power (full-cycle storage losses are typically about 20%). That's far from the full story, but it's the scale we need to consider.
Papua New Guinea and parts of Indonesia are also in the picture. While harnessing their resources, we could lift the living standards of their populations. How's that for a win-win? Of course, the concept can be pushed further. Australia might be the start, but there's no reason for it to be the end.
Given that I've already mentioned telecommunications: while we're building a power network, why not incorporate telecommunications? Most of the cost is in the digging, so it makes economic sense. Optical fibre cable is dirt cheap. The job done by copper that the PMG used to buy for (the equivalent in today's dollars of) $10,000/kilometre can these days be done by fibre cable costing less than $300/km. It adds complexity and (a little) cost but, if we're going to do it, why not go boots & all?
The grand vision is Australia and regional neighbours with the most reliable power and telecommunications at the lowest possible cost.
Hmmm ... that sort of got out of hand. Sorry!