Australian news, and some related international items

Jay Weatherill dithering on when to make a decision about nuclear waste importing for South Australia

Weatherill glowDaniel Wills: Final decision on nuclear waste repository in South Australia could be years away, Daniel Wills, The Advertiser, September 16, 2016 “………A year and a half ago, Mr Weatherill stunned the state and turned decades of Labor orthodoxy on its head by calling the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

Four months ago, it delivered a final report that concluded an almost unimaginable amount of wealth could be bestowed on SA if it chose to take high-level nuclear waste from around the world and store it for all time.

If a decision to proceed is eventually taken, it would stand as second only to the arrival of whites on this land 180 years ago as the most dramatic moment in SA’s living history.

The first key date will be December this year, because Mr Weatherill has said the Government will reveal a position to State Parliament before the Christmas break. This week, some flesh was put on the bone about what that will be. Likely, a decision to keep talking, if everyone agrees.

A business plan attached to the Royal Commission report laid out an ambitious 10-year timeline from its release to the first arrival of waste from countries like Japan, Taiwan or Korea.

Along the way are a string of key points at which the proposal could be stopped in its tracks.

Failure to find a site, customer, social licence, or political agreement would all be deal-breakers.

The point of no return may not come for 15 to 20 years, if a first barrel of waste does arrive.

Speaking to The Advertiser ahead of his departure this week, Mr Weatherill said he was leaning towards a “proceed with caution” decision this year, which he likened to an amber traffic light, that would trigger a much deeper analysis of the potential costs and benefits.

“One of the next phases will be to carry out much more detailed work in relation to exactly the technology that would be used, where would it be sited and with whom would we be having international partnerships,” he said.

“That’s the work that is going on between now and the end of the year. There’s a pretty important threshold question of do we even get to that stage.

“My sense of it is that there is a growing willingness to at least have a discussion.”

The first test will be a meeting of Labor’s state convention expected next month, where internal tensions that have been hidden are likely to spill over for the first time.

SA Unions and Labor backbencher Steph Key are beginning to raise concerns.

Even if that hurdle is passed, the federal division of the Labor Party could prove even tougher to convince as it fights off challenges from the Greens in eastern states seats…….

A string of a thousand “yes” calls must be looped together. A single “no” will bring it to a screeching halt. The likelihood of everything coming together is much higher than it was two decades ago when the idea was first raised, but still probably less than likely……..


September 17, 2016 - Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes

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