Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

South Australian Labor govt clings to its nuclear waste dream

Weatherill,-Jay-wastesNuclear roadblock warning but door still open, says Tom Kenyon http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/nuclear-roadblock-warning-but-door-still-open-says-tom-kenyon/news-story/e19a89bfb94a87bbe14d2a18d082da0a Adam Langenberg, Political reporter, The Advertiser November 15, 2016 A SOUTH AUSTRALIAN high level nuclear facility looks further off into the distant future after one of its most strident backers outlined a series of roadblocks before a statewide referendum could be held.
One of the first backers of a high level facility, Mr Kenyon told the Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle the plan was not dead, but said a referendum would be “quite a long time away” due to the bulk of information required.

“I think if you go to a population with a vague question, should we have a nuclear waste facility in SA, to be honest I think the result of that referendum would be not much better than what we saw from the Citizens Jury,” Mr Kenyon said.

“If it was ever going to happen firstly it would need bipartisan support to at least continue those investigations and continue discussions.

Then you would need to have quite a lot of information, and I would suspect you would need to know how much you were going to get paid and how much it was going to cost you to store and to know that you almost certainly need to know a site and you would need to have most likely an agreement of a community around a site.”

Asked if the Government could expect support of the Parliament to continue those discussions, Mr Kenyon responded “not at the moment”.

Liberal Treasury spokesman Rob Lucas, the first opposition MP to publicly air concerns about the proposal, told the conference the economic risks were “too great”.

   He also criticised Mr Weatherill’s decision to ever put the proposal before a Citizens Jury.

“I always thought it was a naive and ill informed view that you would ever get majority support, whether it be from a Citizens Jury or any other process.

“Frankly if you were going to take on this particular challenge it was going to be an issue of leadership where ultimately the government of the day and the Parliament would have to say, we think it’s in the best interests of South Australia and even though there’s a majority view against it; we’re prepared to support it in terms of the public interest.” http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/nuclear-roadblock-warning-but-door-still-open-says-tom-kenyon/news-story/e19a89bfb94a87bbe14d2a18d082da0a

December 5, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Kimba, South Australia, may rejoin the discussion on hosting a federal nuclear waste dump

poster-flinders-rangesFight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 30 Nov 16  TheNational Radioactive Waste Management Facility project team was invited to Kimba, South Australia, last week by the local group Working for Kimba’s Future.
The team discussed with locals the possibility of Kimba rejoining the process to nominate a site to host the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.
The team will visit Kimba again on December 6, 7 and 8.

Paul Waldon There always a politician behind something like this, you just have to look and you will find.
Steve Dale Kimba is close to the proposed Iron Road project. I’ve seen Jacobs name associated with that project. Cape Hardy port could be used for exporting ore and importing waste. Maybe the Flinders location was used as a distraction for the Federal election to take some of the heat off the local member.
Charlotte Alyce Jane Markwick Wouldn’t surprise me, they’re so calculating and dishonest 
Annette Ellen Skipworth Port hardy is located 60 kilometre north of port lincoln and there is a proposed rail line to the mine about 40 kilometres from the proposed nuclear dump site
 Steve Dale Any national dump in South Australia will be pushed into becoming an international dump – no nuclear dumps in South Australia.
Noel Wauchope Steve Dale The federal dump doesn’t have to be expanded to an international one. It would work to get the idea psychologically accepted that South Australia is THE PLACE for another dump, a global nuclear dump – heck a global nuclear hub – nuclear submarines the full nuclear chain etc.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/#

November 30, 2016 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Tiny outback town divided over plan for federal nuclear waste dump

a-cat-CANOne misapprehension in this otherwise excellent article.

The writer assumes that the nuclear waste intended for this  Federal waste dump is “low level”  “medical waste”.  But that is not the real purpose of the dump.  “Medical radioactive waste?” – a  ridiculous idea! The vast majority of medical wastes are very short-lived – radioactivity having decayed in  a matter of hours or  few days. So these wastes are best disposed of near the point of use. (in fact, they are best produced near the point of use, in  anon nuclear cyclotron). No point in trucking them thousands of miles across the continent.
The real purpose of the Hawker area waste dump is to dispose of the nuclear reactor waste that was generated by the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, sent to France and UK for processing, and contracted to return to Australia. The Australian government classes it as “intermediate level”, but France classes it as high level.
The Australian government is lying about the nuclear waste dump – using the false medical argument to make it look healthy and respectable. But that is a fig leaf on the toxic nuclear industry.

Residents of Hawker say it has been incredibly confusing that the proposed intermediate-level facility in their community is being discussed at the same time as plans for future high-level nuclear storage elsewhere.

Despite the government saying that many of the jobs and development opportunities near Hawker will benefit the indigenous people at Yappala, McKenzie says they will continue fighting the proposal to the end.

poster-flinders-rangesAustralian nuclear waste dump divides tiny outback town
“This land is our past, present and future and we don’t want a nuclear waste dump on it.”,
Aljazeera, by , 29 Nov 16 
 Hawker, South Australia – The towering mountains of the Flinders Ranges stand imposingly against the hundreds-of-kilometres-long stretch of flat, desolate country.

While the mountains are named after the British explorer who trekked them in the early 19th century, the indigenous Adnyamathanha people have lived in the region for tens of thousands of years.

This arid and remote part of South Australia has become the unlikely centre of a heated public debate after it was named the preferred site for the country’s first nuclear waste dump. Continue reading

November 30, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

“Medical” uses do not justify Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, nor a Flinders Ranges nuclear dump

Solid forms of low-level waste include materials that have been contaminated – at Lucas Heights or in hospitals using isotopes, or in industrial firms using isotopes, and so on. Waste of this kind has accumulated at scores of places throughout Australia, but it amounts to only a tenth of all radioactive waste, the rest coming from Lucas Heights

A NEW REACTOR?  It’s the worst possible option! Nuclear Study Group  Sutherland Shire Environment Centre  1998 By R.D. (Bob) Walshe, OAM

Chairman, Sutherland Shire Environment Centre

  • Medical isotopes can be produced by non- reactor technology, such as cyclotrons, which are much cheaper and safer and are powered by electricity. 
  • Claims that a reactor serves Australia’s ‘national interest’ do not withstand scrutiny……

 

‘Medical uses’ don’t justify a new Reactor

Medical isotope production

Life-saving? In fact reactor-produced medicine won’t save many lives, if only because over 98% of it is used in diagnosis, not in life-saving therapy.

The Minister should have spoken more moderately. Reactor-based nuclear medicine is only one among many medical technologies used in diagnosis. The Minister didn’t explain why he was favouring it over all other diagnostic technologies by heavily subsidisingit through a new hugely expensive reactor. Nor, indeed, why a new reactor is needed when the bulk of nuclear medicine consists in the supplying of medical isotopes that can be obtained much less expensively from sources other than a Lucas
Heights reactor? Consider…

  • Most importantly, cyclotrons increasingly produce isotopes and so render a reactor unnecessary (see cyclotrons, p.13); they are cheaper and safer and produce only small quantities of low-level radioactive waste.
  • Nearly all countries in the world import the isotopes they need.
  • ANSTO, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, itself imports them when it shuts the reactor for maintenance.
  • ANSTO’s isotope operations are indeed heavily subsidised, and thus are not really competing economically with those of large overseas suppliers.
  • While ANSTO argues that its most-used isotope technetium-99m can’t be
    imported because it has a currency (technically, a ‘half-life’) of only six
    hours, ANSTO neglects to say that an equally effective, longer-lived
    isotope, molybdenum-99, is widely transported all around the world.

So, by using two cheaper alternatives – importation of some isotopes and production of others in cyclotrons – Australia would save itself the huge expense of this new reactor. It’s as simple as that. And safer too……

ANSTO has been stockpiling such waste for 40 years, and there it sits at Lucas Heights….

Not that ANSTO and the Federal Government haven’t tried to get rid of all this embarrassing waste. They have continually invited any and every state government to set up a dump-site (a ‘repository’) for it. But until 1998, no government would have it.

Only in February of 1998 did one government, that of economically troubled South Australia, hesitantly indicate it might accept it, at a site it considers to be ‘remote’ – but Aboriginal communities have expressed opposition. If established, such a dump would soon become ANSTO’s dump for all levels of its waste.

The long failure of the Federal Government to find a remote dump-site for radioactive waste is conclusive proof – though proof is surely not needed – of the dangerous nature of nuclear waste. So why go on creating such waste? No community wants to be saddled with the burden Sutherland Shire has carried for 40 years.

Three ‘levels’ of waste – and all dangerous

There are three general categories of radioactive waste. First, the high-level kind, chiefly the highly radioactive spent fuel rods; second, intermediate-level waste, such as results from reprocessing of spent fuel rods; third, low-level waste, such as the continual gaseous and liquid discharges from nuclear plants, and contaminated materials like gloves and instruments.

But ANSTO chooses not to follow this high-intermediate-low classification, arguing that high-level waste comes only from nuclear power-generating reactors, and since Australia’s reactor is the ‘research’ kind, its operation results only in intermediate-level and low-level waste. This is a semantic quibble which puts ANSTO at odds with US and Canadian terminology.

More than 1600 of the spent fuel rods, high – level waste, have accumulated at Lucas Heights in the past 40 years. ….. the resulting waste will be  returned to Australia as ‘intermediate-level waste’, which will again constitute a problem here. Such shipments are never trouble-free: they involve safety, health and environment risks; they spark anti-nuclear protest along the route, resistance from residents around the destinations, and charges of unethical behaviour for dumping what should be one’s own responsibility onto others…. Continue reading

November 28, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Why dump nuclear reactor waste in Flinders Ranges? Lucas Heights is the best place.

poster-flinders-ranges

Regina McKenzie to Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA November 26 

If any thing does go wrong, which they say won’t, they have all the expert in one place …… why then do they want to put it in remote area if its so safe ? why is it such a no no for the urban sprawl? if it is so safe let Sydney keep it, Lucas Heights makes the waste, then they can keep it, don’t go destroying my cultural landscape, don’t mentally abuse my region with “oh its hospital waste and its so safe, you or a relative have needed cancer treatment and you should take it” NO is a very simple word ….. please some one translate to the feds NO
Steve Dale Jacobs wrote the waste plan for the Federal government. They want the government to create a dump that could potentially take the vitrified waste from Sellafield as well – if they could do this, Jacobs and their “partners” would save billions. If Australia does have a nuclear dump, it needs to well away from railway lines and ports to ensure some future government doesn’t turn it into an international high level waste dump. Lucas Heights is still the best choice. How far is Wallerberdina from the railway line?

November 27, 2016 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

How radioactive is the nuclear waste we got back from France?

radioactive trashSteve Dale to Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 26 Nov 16 

How radioactive is the waste we got back from France? From the Greenpeace investigation we know it is 1.1Giga Becquerels per gram. To put it more simply, the waste from France is:

44,000 times more radioactive than the Uranium Yellowcake we export

13,750,000 times more radioactive than typical Olympic Dam ore

(Yellowcake = 25,000 Bq/g, Olympic Dam ore = 80 Bq/g)
Sources:
Greenpeace report_BBC Shanghai and its nuclear waste cargo report.pdf,
odxEisAppendixSUraniumAndRadiation.pdf,
Guide-to-Safe-Transport-of-UOC.pdf

November 25, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

The saga of the South Australian nuclear waste import plan continues – Michele Madigan

highly-recommendedOpposition growing to SA nuclear plan https://www.eurekastreet.Madigan, Michele
com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50250#.WDIQoNJ97Gg
  
Michele Madigan |  16 November 2016

We are not a dump is SA, we want to keep it beautiful’ — Umoona Community. ‘We’ve got to think about the country’ — Ceduna. The last 30 days have seen some big developments in the ongoing attempts of SA Premier Weatherill’s plan to import high-level and intermediate level radioactive waste into South Australia.

On Sunday 6 November came the surprising decision of the Premier-initiated Citizens Jury. By the end of their six day deliberations, the 350 second round jurists showed a decided shift in opinion. Their 50 page report, presented to a somewhat discomfited Premier, had a strong two thirds majority declaring the international nuclear dump was not to go ahead ‘under any circumstances’.

Contrary to expectations, my own included, the jury, realising the bias of the royal commission and other government initiated forums, had insisted on their own choice of counter experts. Continue reading

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, wastes | 1 Comment

Sunday Mail survey reveals opposition to nuclear waste dump

bad-smell-nuke A poll* commissioned by the Sunday Mail reveals that only one-third of South Australians support Premier Jay Weatherill’s plan for a high-level nuclear waste dump in SA and that public support has fallen by 14 percent in the space of just two months.

Respondents were asked to pick which nuclear facilities SA should build and they were invited to choose as many options as they liked. Of the 3702 respondents, only 35% supported an international nuclear waste repository in SA.

Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said: “The Sunday Mail poll finds that just one-third of South Australians support Jay Weatherill’s plan to turn SA into the world’s high-level nuclear waste dump. The results are consistent with the findings of the Citizens’ Jury. One-third of the Jury members gave conditional support to the proposal while two-thirds concluded that SA should not pursue a high-level nuclear waste dump under any circumstances.”

“A September 2016 poll** commissioned by The Advertiser found 49 percent support for the nuclear dump. Thus public support has fallen sharply from 49 percent to 35 percent in the space of just two months. If support continues to fall at that rate, Jay Weatherill may be the only South Australian supporting a nuclear dump by the time of the next state election. Even Business SA chief Nigel McBride acknowledges that the dump plan is ‘dead’ yet the Premier keeps trying to revive it.

“A majority of South Australians and a majority of SA political parties oppose Weatherill’s waste dump. South Australians opposed to the nuclear dump will be spoilt for choice at the next state election with the Liberal Party, the Nick Xenophon Team and the Greens all strongly opposed to the plan.

“The Sunday Mail survey also found that only 39.8 percent of South Australians support the establishment of a national nuclear waste dump in SA. The Premier should abandon his efforts to turn around public opposition to an international high-level nuclear waste dump in SA. He should instead defend SA against Canberra’s plan to impose a national nuclear waste dump in the Flinders Ranges and support Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners who are fighting the plan,” Dr Green concluded.

* www.surveymonkey.net/results/SM-FV2558KN/

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Legal obstacles – State,National, and International, to Australia importing nuclear wastes

legal actionNuclear waste debate re-emerges in Australia. Moulis Legal 17.11.16

“…….A long history of talk but with little “legal” support

South Australia’s proposal to encourage the world to export its high-level nuclear waste to Australia is in stark contrast to the previous positions of both the Federal and South Australian Governments. Moreover, significant reform to State laws and to existing Federal practice would be required to facilitate the proposal, none of which has been formulated.

In 1998, the responsible Federal Minister condemned a recommendation by nuclear waste management consortium Pangea Resources for a repository for international high-level nuclear waste in the Western Australian outback. He reiterated Australia’s long-standing bipartisan opposition to such a development:

…no high level radioactive waste facility is planned for Australia and the government has absolutely no intention of accepting the radioactive waste of other countries. The policy is clear and absolute and will not be changed. We will not be accepting radioactive waste from other countries.1

Continue reading

November 19, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, reference, wastes | Leave a comment

Liberal Party united in opposition to a nuclear waste import industry

logo-LiberalSteven Marshall: The Liberals are united in our decision to oppose a nuclear waste industry but the Weatherill Labor Government is not Steven Marshall, The Advertiser

November 19, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Europe’s new rules about exporting nuclear waste are RELEVANT TO AUSTRALIA

Under the new law, export to countries outside the EU will be allowed but only under strict and binding conditions.  

antnuke-relevantThe third country must have a final deep geological repository in operation when the waste is shipped.

At present, such deep geological repositories do not exist anywhere in the world nor is a repository in construction outside of the EU.

Europe Adopts Long-Term Nuclear Waste Storage Law  http://ens-newswire.com/2011/07/19/europe-adopts-long-term-nuclear-waste-storage-law/     BRUSSELS, Belgium, July 19, 2011  For the first time, the European Union has committed itself to the final disposal of its nuclear waste. Heads of government today adopted the radioactive waste and spent fuel management directive, “in order to avoid imposing undue burdens on future generations.”…..

The directive will enter into force at the latest in September of this year. Member States will have two years to transpose its provisions into their national laws.

By 2015, governments must submit their first national programs to the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, which will examine them and can require changes……

 

Some 7,000 cubic meters of high-level nuclear waste are produced across the EU each year. Most Member States store spent fuel and other highly radioactive wastes in above-ground storage facilities that need continuous maintenance and oversight and are at risk of accidents, such as airplane crashes, fires or earthquakes. Hungary and Bulgaria currently ship nuclear waste to Russia.

In its most controversial provision, the new law allows export of nuclear waste to countries outside the EU. In its initial proposal, the Commission had advocated a complete export ban.

On June 23, 2011, the European Parliament in its plenary session voted in favor of a complete export ban as proposed by the Commission. In a close vote, MEPs backed a ban on exports of nuclear waste to non-EU countries, with 311 votes in favor, 328 against and seven abstentions.

However, the European Council today approved a version of the directive that allows export. Continue reading

November 19, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, wastes | Leave a comment

Jay Weatherill’s nuclear political suicide

weatherill-martyrJim Green: Jay Weatherill willing to commit political suicide with push to turn South Australia into world’s nuclear waste dump, Jim Green, The Advertiser November 15, 2016 PREMIER Jay Weatherill previously said that “there’s no doubt that there’s a massive issue of trust in government … that’s why we started the whole citizen’s jury process” into the nuclear waste import proposal.

Yet the Premier has now overturned the SA Citizens’ Jury on Nuclear Waste’s verdict with his decision to continue to promote his plan to import high-level nuclear waste. His overturning of the jury’s verdict will worsen public distrust of government.

The citizen’s jury was emphatic in its rejection of the proposed nuclear dump – 70 per cent argued that it should not proceed “under any circumstances”.They clearly explained their reasons, including respect for Aboriginal traditional owners, scepticism about fanciful economic claims, concerns that the royal commission and the government downplayed environmental and public health risks, and distrust that the government could deliver the project on time and on budget.

The Premier justified his decision to overturn the jury’s verdict by referring to a ‘Community Views Report’ released on Sunday, reflecting the results of a statewide consultation process.

But his take on the report was extremely selective.

The Premier noted that 43 per cent of people questioned in surveys and focus groups supported further consideration of the nuclear waste dump proposal whereas 37 per cent were opposed.

He failed to note that many other people made their voice heard during the community consultation process.

  Overall, 4365 people were opposed to further consideration of the proposal while only 3032 supported further consideration.
 The Premier completely ignored the other findings of the Community Views Report. Fifty-three per cent of respondents opposed the plan to import high-level nuclear waste while just 31 per cent supported the plan.

Over three-quarters of Aboriginal respondents opposed the plan.

The community consultation process found that only 20 per cent of respondents were confident that nuclear waste could be transported and stored safely, while 70 percent were not confident.

The consultation process found that the number of people confident in the government’s ability to regulate any new nuclear industry activities in SA (2125 people) was barely half the number who were not confident (4190 people).

The consultation process found that 66 per cent of respondents were not confident that a nuclear waste import project would bring significant economic benefits to SA.

November 16, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Pro nuclear Royal Commissioner Scarce still pushing the barrow for the industry

Scarce poisoned chaliceNuclear discussion not finished yet, says ex Royal Commissioner, Chief Reporter Paul Starick, The Advertiser, November 14, 2016  SOUTH Australia has already invested money in investigating the significant opportunity posed by a high-level nuclear waste repository and should properly finish the discussion, former royal commissioner Kevin Scarce says.

Speaking just after Premier Jay Weatherill said the only way forward was through a referendum at an unnamed time, Rear Admiral Scarce issued veiled criticism of the citizens’ jury process.

Rear Admiral Scarce declared that the discussion had been rushed and the community needed more time to work through issues…..

“I think the next step would be for the government to satisfy itself that it’s got sufficient support to continue forward,” Rear Admiral Scarce said….

Rear Admiral Scarce said more analysis was needed of costs and revenue, but emphasised any agreement to accept waste would be made as a treaty between two nations, even if a private operator was contracted to run the facility. He rejected claims of blanket opposition from Aboriginal communities, saying some had privately said they were prepared to consider a proposal but stressed any final site had to have community approval. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/nuclear-discussion-not-finished-yet-says-ex-royal-commissioner/news-story/163094d541fe87bdbf67eea2d6358f70

November 16, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australian Treasurer Koutsantonis sulking about “elites” influencing Nuclear Citizens Jury

wicked-elitesNuclear fuel cycle: ‘Silent majority’ over ‘elites’ telling people what to think about waste dump http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-16/’silent-majority’-want-sa-nuclear-dump-koutsantonis-says/8030816  A “silent majority” of South Australians want the investigation into a nuclear waste dump to continue, the State Treasurer says, citing a comparison with US voters who elected Donald Trump as their next president.

This week the SA Government announced the proposal for a high-level nuclear waste dump would only go ahead after a state-wide referendum, with bipartisanship and approval from the Indigenous community where the dump was planned.

Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said there were South Australians who wanted further discussion on the proposal. Two thirds of a citizens’ jury concerning the project did not want the state to store waste “under any circumstances”. The Government’s own community consultation report found of those surveyed randomly, 37 per cent were against the idea, while 43 per cent wanted more discussion on the issue.

There’s a silent majority that want to talk about this a bit further,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

“We saw that now in the United States with Donald Trump, we’ve seen what happens when the elites tell the people how to think.

“I think a referendum is a great way of having South Australians actually talk about this, but in the end we can’t have a referendum without the consent of the Parliament.”

Premier Jay Weatherill released a statement this afternoon stating the Liberal Party was holding back the nuclear debate by “engaging in a series of pathetic stunts” and questioning the binding nature of of a referendum.

“Without bipartisanship, there is no way can meaningfully progress this discussion,” Mr Weatherill said.

“The Liberal Party wants to shut down this debate entirely, they think they know better than the South Australian people.

“We trust the South Australian people to make the right choices in the state’s best interests.”

Economic modelling described as optimistic

Meanwhile, the Opposition has seized on a report which questioned the royal commission’s economic modelling showing there would be a $257-billion windfall for the state from a nuclear storage facility.

In the independent report provided to Parliament, the modelling was described as optimistic.

Opposition spokesman Rob Lucas said the modelling was based on “vague” assumptions.

“There are very significant questions and concerns being raised by these international experts, independent international experts, about the financial assumptions which underpin the project,” Mr Lucas said.

“They mirror the concerns, some of the concerns that we have expressed in the past.”

November 16, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury, politics, wastes | 1 Comment

South Australian Premier Weatherill – apolitical martyr for the nuclear lobby

Weatherill glowStubborn Weatherill risks fallout from nuclear referendum, Crikey, 15 Nov 16 
Significant opposition from all sides hasn’t been enough to deter the Premier, write InDaily journalists Tom Richardson and Bension Siebert. 
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has dramatically stared down his cabinet waverers and laid down the gauntlet to the Liberal opposition, vowing to continue down the nuclear path — with the question to be determined by a referendum……..

Weatherill was widely expected to drop any further pursuit of the nuclear option in the face of significant opposition — including within his own party. However, as forecast in InDaily, he has opted to forge ahead in a move that will put his leadership — and his party’s re-election hopes — dramatically on the line.
While royal commissioner Kevin Scarce had indicated the need for broad community consent, he had explicitly rejected a referendum as a “snapshot” poll. However, it is perhaps the only remaining way forward for a process upon which the Premier had staked his “bold” vision for the state.

“I believe continued public debate about SA’s role in the nuclear fuel cycle is important and ultimately it is a matter that the people should decide, not political parties,” Weatherill said…….

The move effectively returns serve to Marshall, whose Liberals expected Labor to be backed into a corner by the public reaction to the divisive waste dump proposal.

However, it also means Weatherill will now become a key advocate, having resisted the overwhelming pressure to remove the issue from the political agenda altogether.

Crucially, Weatherill said local indigenous groups would be given a “right of veto” over any proposed dump “if a proposed facility would impact upon their lands” — a key factor in the citizens’ jury’s rejection……

The Premier said he had “reached out to the Liberal Party” to re-establish a bipartisan approach, saying: “There’s no point in promoting a referendum that has no chance of success.”

[Citizens’ jury decision spells nuclear disaster for Weatherill]

However, Marshall poured cold water over the prospect at a late afternoon media conference, saying: “Jay Weatherill is a desperate man trying to cling to some tiny shred of an economic framework.”

“Jay Weatherill’s entire leadership is on its last legs … I think we’re seeing the last weeks, the last months of [his premiership],” Marshall said.

“The people of SA don’t want this project, the Liberal party room in SA is against this.” Marshall emphasised that despite his unilateral move last week to “dump the dump”, the position was “passed without dissent” at yesterday’s party room meeting.

“The Liberal Party is 100% behind me,” he said.

“We do not support a referendum … if Jay Weatherill is so wedded to this, he can take it to the next election.”

The referendum proposal will need crossbench, if not opposition, support to pass Parliament, but Weatherill has indicated it can only proceed as a jointly sponsored proposal — a move that will now ramp up the political brinkmanship ahead of the state election in March 2018.

The Premier’s gambit will be met with incredulity from conservation campaigners who had all but declared the dump a dead issue.

“Most of state Parliament have said ‘no’, the Citizens’ Jury have said ‘no’, economists have said ‘no’, ordinary South Australians have said ‘no’, and most importantly, traditional owners have very clearly said ‘no’,” Conservation SA chief Craig Wilkins said today.

“There is clearly no support or consent for this investigation to continue.”

Greens MLC Mark Parnell said the “remarkable announcement … defies belief and shows a government completely out of touch with the public”.

“What the experience of the last few months shows is that if you give citizens more facts and allow them access to all sides of the debate — they vote no … that’s what the citizens’ jury delivered,” he said.

“With almost every other political party in state parliament declaring they are opposed to a nuclear waste dump, it is hard to see how the necessary legislation for a referendum would get through both houses of Parliament … a statewide referendum would be throwing good money after bad.

“The government has already wasted more than $10 million on this project and a referendum would cost tens of millions more … if the Premier wants this to be an issue for all South Australians, then he should go to the March 2018 state election with a nuclear waste dump as part of Labor’s platform — that would test public opinion.” https://www.crikey.com.au/2016/11/15/weatherill-referendum-on-sa-nuclear-dump/

November 16, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment