On November 6th, to the surprise of all, South Australia's Nuclear Citizens Jury came up with a report that overwhelmingly rejected the government's plan for importing and storing high level nuclear waste. Over four days of witness hearings, and deliberations, the 350 members of the jury were tasked with producing an answer to this question:
Under what circumstances, if any, could South Australia pursue the opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries?
The jury's answer:
Under no circumstances should South Australia pursue opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries for reasons of consent, economics, trust and safety.
An over-riding consideration was the lack of Aboriginal consent:
We believe that the government should accept that the Elders have said NO and stop ignoring their opinions. The Aboriginal people of South Australia (and Australia) continue to be neglected and ignored by all levels of government instead of respected and treated as equals.
An equally strong consideration was Economics:
It is impossible to provide an informed response to the issue of Economics because the findings in the Royal Commission Report are based on unsubstantiated assumptions. This has caused the forecast estimates to provide inaccurate, optimistic, unrealistic economic projections. We remain unconvinced by estimates relating to the cost of infrastructure. South Australia.
Their 48 page report explained the jury's processes, and went into detail on their reasons. They also reported on the proposal to change South Australia's nuclear law, concluding that:
The Jury strongly recommends that there be no further amendment to the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act at this time.
Many in the Jury felt strongly that if the nuclear waste proposal is to go ahead no further public money should be spent at this time. Any further analysis should be conducted and funded by key players within the industry.
Weakening or repealing this law is the first goal in the nuclear lobby's plan set out in the report by Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission South Australia.
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