Australian news, and some related international items

Citizens’ jury questions safety concerns surrounding dump proposal

Nuclear royal commission: Citizens’ jury questions safety concerns surrounding dump proposal, ABC News, By Daniel Keane, 10 July 16  A grassroots report into a proposal to build a high-level nuclear waste dump in South Australia has identified safety as a major concern.

The report by a citizens’ jury of 50 randomly selected South Australians also found “significant additional research” is required before residents can make an “informed decision”.

The report, presented to Premier Jay Weatherill on Sunday afternoon, followed four days of intense discussions and meetings with experts both for and against the proposal.

Timeline: SA’s nuclear dump debate Plans for a national nuclear waste dump have been on the agenda for decades, and for much of that time SA’s outback has been touted as a possible site.

“The jurors recognise there are potential economic benefits, but there are also substantial risks to consider,” the report stated. “There is a degree of uncertainty around both the benefits and risks associated with establishing such a facility…….

Nuclear radiation a concern to people, environment

The citizens jury was formed to decide which elements of the royal commission’s recommendations need to be discussed in more detail.

In the nine-page document the jury put forward four themes that future discussion should centre on, including trust and accountability and the economics of the proposal.

The jury’s report also identified safety as a major priority.

“Safety is an important consideration because of the potential impact from radiation to people and the environment and the long timescales involved,” it said.”The considerations include but [are] not limited to geological, seismic, acts of terrorism, health, and transport.”

The report concluded that the type of waste storage facility proposed for SA was unlike any in operation “anywhere yet in the world, but sites are being developed in Finland, Sweden and France”.

“The public needs to be confident in an independent, transparent regulator, particularly in light of regulatory failures both internationally and locally,” it stated.

‘Our challenge is to build trust’

Another key topic for the jurors was the economics of a nuclear industry, with the report questioning one of the key claims made by Mr Scarce.

“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 report said.

The report will help set the agenda for a three-month public consultation period, which will begin later this month.

“Our challenge is to build and maintain trust by avoiding repeating past mistakes,” it said.

The document concluded with a series of questions, including how South Australian tourism and trade might be affected by a potential dump.

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

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