Australian news, and some related international items

South Australian Liberal Parry guru pushed for the nuclear industry and waste dump

Tweedle-NuclearLiberal policy guru urged SA to go nuclear Tom Richardson The state Liberal Party’s new policy director is a long-time nuclear advocate who personally called for the establishment of a nuclear waste dump in a submission to the Scarce Royal Commission. Steven Marshall’s Opposition has staunchly rejected any further investigation of a potential high-level repository.

But Richard Yeeles, a former corporate affairs manager with BHP Billiton and Western Mining Corporation who has recently run his own advisory firm, struck a very different tone when the State Government sought submissions on its royal commission proposal early last year.

“I commend the South Australian Government for initiating this inquiry,” wrote Yeeles, who has also previously worked as a chief of staff for Liberal leaders Dale Baker, Dean Brown and John Olsen.

In his lengthy 270-plus page submission to the subsequent inquiry, he urged the Government to “offer to host a national facility for storage and disposal of Australia’s own low and intermediate-level radioactive waste with the ultimate aim of securing Federal Government support for hosting an international radioactive waste management facility in South Australia”.

This, he said, would be “a first step” to “demonstrate its strong interest in, and commitment to the further development of, a safe and sustainable Australian nuclear industry”.

“At present, it seems to me that the greatest potential for further South Australian involvement in the nuclear industry is in hosting an international repository to dispose of waste generated in the nuclear power industry overseas,” he wrote in his initial submission, which emphasised his credentials working “in the nuclear industry in Australia for almost 20 years”.

“South Australia, in particular, offers… significant local nuclear industry knowledge and expertise [and] suitable geological and environmental conditions in remote areas of low population,” he wrote.

“The opportunity to lead international participation in radioactive waste management would make a significant contribution to expanding Australia’s global influence.”

Yeeles continued by speculating that “as any international radioactive waste management repository established in Australia would likely be located on land in which Aboriginal People have an interest, there would be the opportunity for income generated by the facility to support the community development of Aboriginal People in areas such as education and health as well as offering significant employment opportunities”.

Yeeles started working in Marshall’s office as the Opposition’s senior policy director only this month, replacing long-time advisor Andrew Coombe.

Marshall last week unilaterally abandoned any further support for exploring the nuclear waste dump option ahead of yesterday’s partyroom meeting, where he said the position was universally endorsed.

A spokesman for Marshall said he was aware of Yeeles’ submission, arguing it was consistent with the Liberal leader’s stance of examining the evidence for a repository before forming his current view “that economics of a high-level nuclear waste dump don’t stack up”.

November 16, 2016 - Posted by | politics, South Australia

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