Australian news, and some related international items

Citizens jury concerned about economics of nuclear waste dump plan

Jury (1)Citizens’ jury questions economics of SA nuclear dump THE AUSTRALIAN  JULY 11, 2016   The bid to establish a nuclear waste storage facility in South Australia has suffered a further setback, after an independent “citizens’ jury” raised concerns about the economic viability of the project.
A citizens’ jury of 50 people met over two weekends to discuss the nuclear royal commission ­report, handing a nine-page summary to Premier Jay Weatherill last night.

But after hearing from experts, the jury questioned the economic underpinnings of the commission’s findings.

“There were varying views ­between expert witnesses on the economic viability of this project and therefore questions remain relating to the economic modelling by the royal commission ­report to feel comfortable progressing to further involvement,” the jury report said.>Mr Weatherill accepted the ­report from the jury, describing it as “commonsense”.

But he confirmed there was extra work to be done on the estimated size of the economic benefit. “They want some more work on the assumptions so they can be clear on what the benefits are and those assumptions are really what is the actual price an overseas country is prepared to pay for storing their waste in our country and that will only be known if we undertake that work,” Mr Weatherill said.

“That will require expenditure and they are asking us to also change the legislation to undertake that work, so it’s a commonsense recommendation and one we will work on.” Another 350 people will meet in October in another citizens’ jury to look at feedback from the statewide consultations………The South Australian Labor government’s examination into the merits of engaging in the nuclear fuel cycle has so far cost the state’s taxpayers $11.8 million.

This is despite Labor’s national platform, updated last year, strongly opposing establishment of nuclear power plants and any stages of the nuclear fuel cycle, other than uranium mining, in Australia. The platform states strong opposition to the importation and storage of ­nuclear waste from overseas.

In his opening speech to the citizens’ jury, Mr Weatherill said the group was not meant to arrive at a decision but “to actually ­arrive at a decision about whether the government can make a ­decision”……..Varying expert views on the economic benefits of storing nuclear waste have already prompted the government to review work already undertaken by its $7.2 million royal commission.

Opposition spokesman Rob Lucas questioned the value of the citizens’ jury to government. “If that is all there is it has been a massive waste of money which hasn’t clarified anything or progressed the debate at all.”

Mr Weatherill has committed to providing a response to the royal commission by the end of the year. The report royal commission’s recommended pursuing a waste dump.

July 10, 2016 - Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, politics, South Australia

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