South Australian Royal Commission starts (for a nuclear chain around our necks?)

Dennis Matthews 20 Mar 15 The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission is full of contradictions and political spin

Surely if there was a fuel cycle then we wouldn’t need a nuclear waste dump. In fact it is a nuclear fuel chain; dig it up, process it, use it, then dump the wastes in some cash-strapped state.

The terms of reference explicitly state that the military use of uranium is excluded. Yet a former high-ranking member of the military who is sympathetic to the nuclear industry is the commissioner.

The commissioner has urged people to keep an open mind but the terms of reference state that the commission can’t do that because it can only look at expanding the nuclear industry and not the opposite.

It is claimed that the commission will not recommend sites for a nuclear dump but it will investigate whether South Australia has suitable geography. So it won’t be in your backyard but it might be in the valley down the road.


The royal commissioner said any consideration of reducing nuclear industry involvement had been ruled out by the SA Government.

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission makes formal start in SA ABC News 19 Mar 15 Public hearings in remote Aboriginal communities are expected to be part of a royal commission in South Australia into nuclear energy issues. Governor Hieu Van Le has signed off to mark the official start of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, which is expected to make its recommendations to the SA Government by May next year.

Scarce,--Kevin-glowIt will examine a range of issues including whether the state should have a nuclear power station or
nuclear waste dump.

Former governor Kevin Scarce will head the inquiry.

The Government changed two terms of reference from its initial draft, to let Mr Scarce consider environmental issues of past nuclear experiences and likely economic flow-on effects to other industries if SA advances its nuclear involvement.

Premier Jay Weatherill said Mr Scarce intended staging a very open and inclusive investigation.

“That would involve visits to various areas of the state, of course it will involve Aboriginal communities and other land owners that might be situated near the mining or the other potential areas for further involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle,” he said……

Part of the state’s north-west has been identified as possibly suited for a waste dump.

Anangu woman Karina Lester said that had prompted concern among some Indigenous people.

“My concerns are that Anangu people, and these are Aboriginal people of South Australia and in the western desert region, haven’t been engaged and haven’t been consulted on this issue,” she said.

The British government set off seven atomic bombs at Maralinga in the state’s outback during its testing program in the 1950s and 60s.

“My father, he lost his sight from that,” Ms Lester said.

“We need to learn from these people who were there at the time when the ground shook and that black mist rolled.

“People were there, the fear that came across them, the anxiety that people felt … Anangu people had no understanding of what was happening in their backyard.”………

Greens leader Mark Parnell said the final terms of reference for the inquiry had a glaring omission.

“Despite the Premier’s assurance that he has an open mind, the most fundamental question of South Australia’s role in the global nuclear industry won’t be considered at all,” he said.

“The royal commission is only charged with considering new, additional involvement or expanding our existing involvement.

“It won’t be looking at whether South Australia should extract itself entirely from the nuclear cycle.”

The royal commissioner said any consideration of reducing nuclear industry involvement had been ruled out by the SA Government.

“The Government has made it pretty clear that the existing mining operations should continue,” Mr Scarce said.


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