Australian news, and some related international items

Citizen Jury says NO to nuke waste dump plan


The Citizen Jury set up to consider a nuclear waste dump for SA has comprehensively rejected the idea, with a thumping 2/3 majority saying no under any circumstances.

“This is a clear and comprehensive rejection by ordinary South Australians of the Royal Commission’s nuclear waste dump dream,” said Craig Wilkins, Chief Executive of the state’s peak environment body, Conservation SA.

“The nuclear industry likes to push a myth that the more people get to understand nuclear issues, the more supportive they are.  Well, 350 South Australians have spent over 40 hours hearing about a nuclear dump for SA and the more they heard about it, the less they liked.

“The Royal Commission has put forward a deeply flawed plan, and the citizen jury has comprehensively rejected it.

“The dollars don’t stack up, the safety concerns are enormous, Traditional Owners have said no, and now a citizen jury made up of randomly selected South Australians from across the state have well and truly rejected it as well.

“The message to Premier Weatherill is clear: it’s time to stop nuclear-wasting our time and money.

“Last month the Premier said:  ‘the most powerful force that we have in this state and this nation is the common sense judgment of ordinary, everyday citizens’

“Well, ordinary, everyday citizens have spoken and it’s time for the Premier to listen,” he said.

November 6, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

NO TO NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP ! South Australian Nuclear Citizens’ Jury Special

The South Australian Nuclear Citizens’ Jury has come up with a damning report – damning the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission South Australia’s (NFCRC’s)  plan for importing radioactive trash.

The Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission was a shoddy and biased affair with pro nuclear Commissoner Kevin Scarce.  Then came the Citizens’ Juries, who were given  loaded questions, with a few biased and ignorant witnesses ( especially in early sessions on the subject of ionising radiation), and some oversight by pro nuclear indiviuals, some from the NFCRC.

It is a tribute to the South Australian firm DemocracyCo that they still managed to run the process in a very fair way.

text don't nuclear waste Australia

However, despite the jury’s strong rejection of the plan, there was a minority report, calling for more economic modelling delay in the decision.

Premier Weatherill made it clear that the discussion will continue.

We can expect the pro nuclear camp – Labor and Liberal to now trash the whole idea of Citizens’ Juries (though if there had been a “neutral” or “yes” result, they would have praised it!)

And – let’s not forget, that other nuclear waste plan. The Federal government wants to impose a radioactive waste dump at Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges.  The pretense is that it is for the (very short-lived medical radioactive wastes). The reality is that it is for the radioactive trash that originated from the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney.

November 6, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | 1 Comment

A plea for the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury South Australia to be allowed to really act as a JURY

Citizens' Jury scrutinyTim Bickmore  Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia,  6 Nov 16 “What I would like to see happen tomorrow is every juror,at the start of the day, be given a small piece of paper and then asked to put where they stand on the paper, either NO or Yes or Maybe. then hand in the paper to DemCo. Results should be tallied, any vote with more than one word on it should be discarded as informal, and the results then revealed to the jury.
To me this is the only way to gauge the feeling of the entire group.
It will not happen of course.”

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

A Citizens’ Juror rejects the Nuclear Fuel Chain South Australia’s recommendations

thinkingTim Bickmore  Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia, 5 Nov 16, quotes from a juror 
“Dear Fellow Jurors
I have read the discussions but have not posted until now. I came to the Jury with an interest in being well informed on this issue and a mildly positive attitude towards the idea. I am now strongly against because
1. I reject the RC financial modelling because there are way too many unknowns.
2. The safety and financial risks for transport and above ground storage of high level waste without knowing if we have a suitable site, have consent from landowners, and can afford to dig the hole is just too great. We could end up being responsible for thousands of tons of high level waste to be managed at our cost and risk. Safety depends on rigorous regulation and I do not trust future governments not to privatise control or reduce funding to the regulator, resulting in accidents ( evidence WIPP for human error and sloppy regulation)
3. The aboriginal community are dead against the idea and will fight it to the high court, causing costs and delays even if they don’t win. Maybe it is time to honour their wishes on this important matter.
4. This scheme does not deliver jobs in great enough numbers or soon enough to be worth the risks. Better to invest in research and development of industries which contribute to employment , the health and wellbeing of the population and the state’s reputation as a clean food producer and a beautiful place to visit.
5. 120 years to completion is way too long. There will be developments that we cannot imagine in that time, including ways to deal with nuclear waste. IAEA will continue to work on that and a solution may well be found that makes this proposal redundant.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

Nuclear Citizens’ Jury to present report to Premier Jay Weatherill

Citizens' Jury scrutinyJury to present report on nuclear dump   on November 5, 2016, 

The 350-member jury will gather for the last time in Adelaide on Saturday and Sunday as they seek to answer the question of under what circumstances, if any, could SA store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries.

By Sunday afternoon, the group will present its report to Premier Jay Weatherill which is expected to summarise the key themes and considerations discussed by the jury over their six sitting days.

In its deliberations the jury has heard from experts, has considered the recommendations from the royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle and has also examined feedback from three months of community consultation.

The state government has pledged to make a decision on the the dump issue by the end of the year but to proceed much further will require a change of Labor Party policy at both a state and federal level.

Last weekend the state Labor conference voted to put the issue to a special convention.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

A Nuclear Citizens’ Jury member thinks about CONSENT

thinkingTim Bickmore    Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia, 5 Nov 16 quotes from a Jury member ,  “….. I want to be assured by the government that any report drafted during this process will not be considered to substitute or abrogate the rights of other citizens who were not able to participate in this process. We have not been told how social consent will be obtained and the Premier has expressed opposition to a referendum, which has historically been used when significant legislative amendments which affected the rights of citizens have been proposed. How can I say go ahead and change the laws on behalf of other citizens? It is my strongly held view that I cannot, and indeed should not.

Our ability to give or withhold consent goes to human dignity, which is a fundamental human right. Much more needs to be done to obtain it, before any more South Australian public money is laid down by the government on this issue. ”

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

The Nuclear Royal Commission will be remembered as a hypocrisy

Tim Bickmore  0750/ Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia, 4 Nov 16 

CJ Message Board Nov4 by Yuri Poetzl “Any One Game to Touch This One? When this Nuclear Royal Commission saga gets reviewed down the track, I anticipate snippets of this footage will be featured in documentaries.

I know you are all busy, but you might want spare a couple of minutes and watch this you-tube clip of Kevin Scarces  2014 Investigator Lecture – Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN Rtd

At the 39 minute mark ol’ mate Kev starts talking about expanding SA’s nuclear involvement. At the 47.30 mark he seems to admit being an advocate for the nuclear industry!

This was filmed before he was selected as Royal Commissioner and seems to contradict his later claims of impartiality. Does this diminish his credibility?

Under the Royal Commissions Act:   Royal Commissions are obliged to act with procedural fairness. This includes observing the rules of natural justice, which require an unbiased Commission…

Have the SA public received natural justice?

Have we been issued a fair and unbiased assessment of the Nuclear Industry, or have we been issued an extensive and expensive sales brochure?

The Royal Commission was over seen by Attorney General John Rau. Mr Rau has previously labelled community groups as “morons”.

I wonder what he thinks of citizen’s juries?”

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

Port Lincoln nuclear jurors mull over Citizens’ Jury report

November 4, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Nuclear Citizens’ Jury – a sophisticated exercise in manufacturing consent

The danger here is that the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury is being presented as a neutral process, when in reality it is designed to manufacture the outcome the Premier wants.

  • The question the jurors have been asked to answer is a leading one. As one juror put it to me: “This is a ‘yes’ question.”
  • the purpose of the amber can only be one: to nudge jurors towards the middle-of-the-road option: the “yes but”. That is, the “proceed with caution” desired by the Premier.
  • why call it a jury? Why not call it a “focus group” or a “citizens’ inquiry”? Because “jury” appeals to our notions of citizenship and predisposes participants towards trust and good faith. “Jury” implies a trusted verdict.

this process is arguably the most sophisticated illustration of manufacturing consent in the history of South Australia.

Citizens' Jury scrutinyManufacturing consent for SA’s nuclear program The SA government has turned to a “citizen’s jury” to manufacture trust in its nuclear policy. But the process is far from independent, writes University of Adelaide politics lecturer Benito Cao.

This weekend the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury is expected to deliver a report to South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill that will shape the future of the nuclear industry in this country. But although the jury is presented as a non-partisan body able to make a decision in the state’s best interest, the Premier has designed it so it will return the result he wants.

The jury has been asked to answer this question: “Under what circumstances, if any, should South Australia pursue the storage and disposal of high level nuclear waste from other countries?”

If, as expected by the Premier, the report recommends to “proceed with caution“, the South Australian government will feel legitimised to embark on the gradual expansion of the nuclear industry in the state. The answer, however, will have implications for the whole of Australia.

The Nuclear Citizens’ Jury was established as the centrepiece of the community consultation instituted by Weatherill. In his opening address to the Citizens’ Jury on day one, the Premier presented the jury’s work as “a contribution to democracy” and “a better way of citizens coming together and answering complicated questions”.

However, his words also reveal what is at the heart of this matter: trust. The Premier has said that the Citizens’ Jury was set up because people don’t trust government, and that an independent process was needed to address the complex and contentious issue that is the potential expansion of the nuclear industry in South Australia. Continue reading

November 4, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

A “Minority Report” from South Australia’s Nuclear Citizens’ Jury?

Citizens' Jury scrutinyTim Bickmore Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia   2 Nov 16

There will be a ‘Minority Report’ & this is being actively collated by a designated juror who volunteered for the task. It’s focus will probably be upon alternate projects which would enhance the SA Great brand & demonstrate better options for the future direction of the SA economy.

 Nov 2 snippet “I felt that the idea of a nuclear waste dump was a stepping stone in acquiring a nuclear reactor and the bogey man appeared straight away after the mood of the jury had been felt. I wondered why certain people were so keen to establish the waste site it would have been better to be upfront with everyone and declare their intentions we are aware of the tactics used.”
… “Re changing the legislation
The advice we were given at the table was that the legislation does not prohibit the next stages of investigation that are needed to fill the gaps identified in the extremely dubious case for this project. But even if they did this legislation applies only to spending public funds. If this project is such a financial bonanza as some proponents keep insisting it is then maybe the industry should fund the next stage of the feasibility study – and there is absolutely no barrier to spending industry rather than public funds to do this .

One juror gave me the question I’ve been searching for in all of this: Would you want to invest your superannuation funds in this project? If so please feel free to do so – I wouldn’t and I suspect most people with any financial nous (or sense of financial responsibility) wouldn’t either.” Australia  

November 2, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

Nuclear Waste Importing: latest comments for Citizens Jury on Your Say site

text-cat-questionThe South Australian government set up this site for comments on the plan. Comments close at 5 pm today (30 October).  I wonder if the Citizens Jury members will have managed to see them –  the vast majority  of comments were very negative about the plan Here are some of the most recent:

Claudio Pompili  28 Oct 2016

I was shocked to read in 26 October’s InDaily:
Jay spruiks nuclear expansion as an agent of economic change

Jay Weatherill has told a nuclear industry forum in Adelaide he is personally convinced of the potential for an expansion of South Australia’s role in the fuel cycle, framing the push as part of his ambition to forge a “new economy”.

It appears that Premiere Weatherill has at last come out and played his pro-nuke card. So much for his publicly-avowed position that he would make up his mind when the whole process of the RC has been undertaken. It’s patently clear that he’s been captured by the nuclear industry and foisted an expensive sham of a royal commission onto the SA public, which overwhelmingly has repeatedly been opposed to expansion of nuclear in this state.

The Royal Commission process and the biased ‘findings’ of its subsequent Report are deeply flawed on a range of issues from the dubious economics right through to the non-existent risk assessment. No project of this magnitude, scope, cost and risks into the far-distant future, should be entertained without a comprehensive Risk Assessment Plan. The Report does not meet the criterion in the Terms of Reference to present “the risks and opportunities associated with establishing and operating those facilities” It does present the supposed opportunities but dismisses the risks and assures us that risk assessments will be done in due course. Continue reading

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury, South Australia | Leave a comment

“Your Say” comment on Safety of Nuclear Waste Importing

 Noel Wauchope  30 Oct 2016 I trust that the Nuclear Citizens’ jury has noted the fact that there are text-Price-Anderson-Actonly two situations under which any commercial nuclear reactor could ever be built.

The first is the situation for democracies , such as the United States. They set the pattern by passing the Price Anderson Act, ensuring that the tax-payer would cover the monumental costs of any serious accident.

The second is for totalitarian states such as China and Russia. Here the taxpayer pays for the whole lot, from nuclear construction to waste disposal.

If South Australia is foolish enough to set up a waste import and disposal industry, South Australia will be following the Russian and Chinese examples. Not being a private enterprise job, I guess they won’t need a Price Anderson Act. I do hope that the Citizens’ Jury members are aware of this.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

“Your Say” comment on Trust in South Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission

Noel Wauchope .30 Oct 2016

Trust – hmmm How can anyone trust a process that began with the charade of the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission South Australia?

Scarce poisoned chaliceFor a start – what a strange topic for a Royal Commission (RC) . RCs are called when there is an urgent problem, ?scandal to address.- child abuse, Aboriginal deaths in custody, detention of juveniles. I know of no other RC called to study a commercial enterprise. RCs are up until now, chaired by persons of legal knowledge and a legal background, generally retired judges. They are not chaired by military men. In this case, the Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce is a person of defence industry background and clearly a previous promoter of the nuclear industry – clearly biased choice for a clearly unsuitable topic for a Royal Commission.

The Weatherill government then set up a State wide blanket of promotion, (despite the law prohibiting such spending taxpayers money on such a nuclear promnotion. Then set up the Citizens’ Jury process – designed to delay decision, and get some sort of claim to community support. The Citizens’ juries were given loaded questions, designed to prevent any verdict, and to produce a veneer of support. Some of the witnesses were poorly informed and biased, especially in the First Jury sessions, on the subject of ionising radiation and health.

At the very worst, the Juries are expected to produce a report that says “Further discussion is needed” and certainly, by the wording of their questions – not able to produce a “NO to Nuclear Dumping” answer.

The surprising factor in all this, is – as far as I can see, the Weatherill government, the nuclear lobby, and the shonky Nuclear RC have underestimated the intelligence of the jury members. The took it seriously, and asked inconvenient questions.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

Your Say comment on Consent to Nuclear Waste Importing

questionNoel Wauchope 30 Oct 2016   How on earth can consent be given to the plan to import and store and dispose of nuclear wastes when nobody knows where they will be put? Do we have the majority of South Australians, and of course the majority of Australians, too.l consenting too have nuclear wastes dumped on the land where only a minority live?

The only way that I can imagine consent ever being given for this is if that happens – and the minority is outvoted. Or perhaps the Aboriginal people can be expected to accept massive financial bribes? We all know damn well that if it’s to put not exactly on Aboriginal land, it will be put next door to Aboriginal land – with all the risks to land, groundwater, sacred sites involved in the transport of wastes etc. Well, bribing the Aborigines has been tried for over 20 years, for radioactive trash dumping on their land. It has never worked, and won’t work this time.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

“Your Say” comment on Economics of Nuclear Waste Importing

scrutiny-on-wastes-sa-bankruptJohn Collins 30 Oct 2016

While, for me, the risks of irretrievable environmental disaster are paramount, the purported ‘economics’ are also relevant.
Firstly the RC Report states: “There is no existing market to ascertain the price a customer may be willing to pay for the permanent disposal of used fuel.” (p.93)

It goes on, “the baseline scenario assumes that 50 per cent
 of the accessible quantities of used fuel and intermediate level waste will be stored and disposed of in South Australian facilities” (p.292 – see also p.98 and p.298)

To assume that a start-up venture for what is made out to be a highly profitable, low-risk undertaking will be able to capture a 50% market share seems most unlikely noting that the report itself acknowledges; “(i)t should be underscored that there is significant potential for other countries to develop a domestic solution …” (p.97)

The RC Report states: “The modelling assumed the establishment of a reserve fund to provide for the costs of decommissioning, remediation of surface facilities, closure, back fill of underground facilities and the ongoing, post-closure monitoring phase.” (p.301) The report also acknowledges that; “(t)he consequences of human error and ‘normal’ accidents must be anticipated, expected and planned for in system design and operation.” (p.91) It appears that the costing for these eventualities (noting the life of the dump is “at least 10 000 years and up to a million years” (p.85) has not been taking into account.
It seems to me that at very best the figures are ‘rubbery’.

And again I would ask the basic test question, ‘if importing high level waste is so straightforward, safe and so very, very profitable why are no other countries (or Australian States or Territories) doing so already?’ Noting that ‘other countries’ that could consider such a project are entrepreneurial, technically advanced, and, most importantly, experienced in handling nuclear waste (unlike SA). Such countries include, China, USA, Russia and the Scandinavian and EU countries.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment