Inept and unconvincing – South Australia’s rush to a Nuclear Royal Commission

SA nuclear royal commission a farce, Independent Australia 22 February 2015 The South Australian government’s royal commission into our nuclear future is a farce, and a dangerous farce, warns Noel Wauchope.

FIRST OF ALL, it is not the province of one State to determine by a State royal commission that a nuclear industry should be introduced in Australia. That is a protected issue as a ‘A Matter of National Environmental Significance’ under the National Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Secondly, this royal commission would be a mammoth waste of money for South Australia The cost would run into hundreds of $millions. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was allocated over $434 million in 2013 for its first four years of operation. Given that nuclear issues are the province of national law, not South Australian, this is a totally unnecessary expense.

Thirdly, the ‘public involvement‘ in the terms of reference for this royal commission is a farce in itself. Just look at how this was dealt with by the South Australian government:

8 February:

The announcement was made. Despite the fact that this whole initiative is clearly of national importance, it has received minimal publicity outside Adelaide. The Adelaide Advertiser ran a poll. The Adelaide Advertiser is pretty much regarded as the nuclear lobby’s free propaganda vehicle. No surprise if their readership turns up the required positive result.

9 February:

Consultations began on the Terms of Reference for the royal commission. Premier Jay Weatherill touted nuclear power for climate change action, though he said it was not economically viable. The better options, he said, were importing and storing radioactive waste, and uranium enrichment.

Pro-nuclear former governor, Kevin Scarce, was appointed as “independent” head of the inquiry. No mention of what scientists, etc. might be on the panel.

16 February:

(closing day for comments on the Terms of Reference for the royal commission)

There is no need for a royal commission into the nuclear industry for Australia. Nuclear proponent, Ziggy Switkowski, concluded in the 2006 Switkowski Report that the industry is not economically viable here. Nuclear reactors often far exceed their construction budgets. The last nuclear power plant built in Canada cost AUD$15.1 billion.

Mr. Switkowski predicted the capital cost at $4-6 billion for our first 1000MWe reactor.

However, we already know that, despite some pious statements by Jay Weatherill about nuclear power’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, action on climate change is not the motivator for this new inquiry.

According to a report by The Australian on 10 February 2015:

‘He [Premier Jay Weatherill] said he was open to the prospect of remote parts of the state hosting a nuclear waste deposit but played down the prospect of a power plant being built.

“I think that’s the least likely outcome of the royal commission,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

“I think what’s most likely is that it will be regarded as not viable for either the state or the nation.” ‘

In the same interview on ABC’s The World Today, Weatherill’s enthusiasm for storing the world’s nuclear waste is clear: ……..https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/sa-nuclear-royal-commission-a-farce,7399

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