Australian news, and some related international items

Citizens Jury exposed the bias and vested interests in Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal commission South Australia

 No way! South Australians reject international nuclear waste dump  Jim Green, The Scarce poisoned chaliceEcologist, 9 November 2016  “……Bias exposed The Citizens’ Jury produced a raft of evidence to justify its distrust of government. The SA government’s handling of the current nuclear waste debate is a case in point. The government repeatedly said it wanted a balanced, mature debate on the issue.

 But the government chose a nuclear advocate to head the Royal Commission, and the Royal Commissioner stacked his Expert Advisory Committee with three nuclear advocates and just one critic.

 The Royal Commission relied on just one economic report, written by Jacobs MCM, a consultancy with deep links to the nuclear industry. The lead authors of the report were Charles McCombie and Neil Chapman from ARIUS, the Association for Regional and International Underground Storage.

 ARIUS is a lobby group promoting nuclear waste dumps (which it calls ‘multinational facilities’) and nuclear power. As the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) noted, ARIUS’s motto is: “The world needs nuclear power – nuclear power needs multinational facilities.”


 ARIUS is the successor to the infamous Pangea Resources, an international consortium that secretly developed plans to build an international high-level nuclear waste dump in Australia. Pangea’s existence wasn’t known until a corporate video was leaked to Friends of the Earth in 1998. Pangea set up an office in Australia but gave up in 2002 – A$600 million poorer – in the face of overwhelming public and political opposition.

 Charles McCombie, co-author of the Jacobs MCM report, was heavily involved in Pangea Resources. Likewise, former Pangea chief Jim Voss is heavily involved in the current push for SA to accept foreign nuclear waste, as an ‘Honorary Reader’ at UCL Australia and a member of UCL Australia’s Nuclear Working Group.

 In the late 1990s, Voss denied meeting with federal government ministers when he had in fact met at least one minister – Wilson ‘Ironbar’ Tuckey (‘ironbar’ because he once assaulted an Aboriginal man with a steel cable). A Pangea spokesperson said at the time: “We would not like to be lying … we very much regret getting off on the wrong foot.”

conflict-of-interest Nuclear advocates employed as ‘independent consultants’

 Needless to say, the conflicted economic report produced by Jacobs MCM predicted that South Australia would become filthy rich if the state agrees to import vast amounts of nuclear waste.

 The farcical and dishonest engineering of a positive economic case to proceed with the nuclear waste plan was neatly exposed by ABC journalist Stephen Long on November 8:

“Would you believe me if I told you the report that the commission has solely relied on was co-authored by the president and vice president of an advocacy group for the development of international nuclear waste facilities? Charles McCombie and Neil Chapman of the consultants MCM head the advocacy group ARIUS – the Association for Regional and International Underground Storage.

“They prepared the report in conjunction with Jacobs, a global engineering and consulting firm which has a lucrative nuclear arm and boasts of its ‘more than 50 years of experience across the complete nuclear asset cycle’.

“When I interviewed the royal commissioner last week, he initially denied that the consultants who prepared the modelling – that is the sole basis of the commission’s recommendation in favour of a nuclear waste dump – faced any conflict of interest.

“He then said there would have been a conflict of interest had it been the only material the commission had relied upon, but said it was ‘reviewed by our team of experts and found to be an appropriate estimation of what the costs, risks and benefits might be if we were involved in the storage of waste.’

“That is the same ‘team of experts’ who, apparently, recommended the consultants in the first place.”

 Economic projections based on ‘unsubstantiated assumptions’

 The Citizens’ Jury was deeply unimpressed by the economic propaganda produced by Jacobs MCM and promoted by the Royal Commission and the SA government. The Jury’s report said“It is impossible to provide an informed response to the issue of economics because the findings in the RCR [Royal Commission report] are based on unsubstantiated assumptions. This has caused the forecast estimates to provide inaccurate, optimistic, unrealistic economic projections.”

 South Australian economist Prof. Richard Blandy said“I congratulate the Second Citizens’ Jury on their overwhelming decision against the proposed nuclear dump. They have shown courage and common sense. A large majority could see that the bonanza that the dump was supposed to bring to the State was based on very flimsy evidence. They saw that the real path to a better economic future for our State is based on our skills, innovative capabilities and capacity for hard work, not a bizarre gamble based on guesses. I am proud of my fellow South Australians on the Jury – including those who were in the minority. I would like to thank them all for their efforts on behalf of their fellow South Australians.”


November 10, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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