South Australia’s biased Nuclear Royal Commission

20 Apr 15  The SA government’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission kicks off in Mount Gambier  today Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Australia, said:

“Kevin Scarce promised a ‘balanced’ royal commission but three of the five members of his ‘expert panel’ are pro-nuclear, with just one critic. There’s nothing wrong with including nuclear advocates on the panel but there should be balance.

“One way or another Kevin Scarce needs to act to restore credibility to the Royal Commission. Otherwise it will be treated with the same ridicule as the Switkowski Review, which was comprised entirely of ‘people who want nuclear power by Tuesday’ according to comedian John Clarke.”

Despite its bias, the 2006 Switkowski Review was sceptical about proposals to expand Australia’s role in the nuclear fuel cycle, as was BHP Billiton in its submission to the Switkowski Review (see attachment below). Conditions are no more favourable now than in 2006. Despite the hype about a nuclear ‘renaissance’, the number of reactors has declined over the past decade.

Dr Green said: “Presumably the Royal Commission sees Mount Gambier as a potential site for a nuclear power reactor. The local community should consider the legacy of high-level nuclear waste that would remain in the Mount Gambier region indefinitely since there is no disposal site for high-level nuclear waste in Australia − or anywhere in the world for that matter. The only deep underground nuclear waste repository in the world − in the US state of New Mexico − has been shut down following an underground chemical explosion that spewed radiation to the outside environment and contaminated 22 workers.
“Nuclear power is incredibly thirsty − a single reactor requires 35−65 millions litres of cooling water daily. The huge water intake pipes destroy marine life by the tonnes.”

The local community should also consider scientific research linking nuclear reactors to increases in childhood leukemias. UK radiation biologist Dr Ian Fairlie notes that over 60 studies have examined cancer incidence in children near nuclear power plants and more than 70% of those studies found increased cancer rates. Dr Fairlie concludes that “the matter is now beyond question, i.e. there’s a very clear association between increased child leukemias and proximity to nuclear power plants”.1
“The community of south-east SA also needs to consider the small risk of a catastrophic accident. The costs of the Fukushima disaster in Japan will probably exceed $500 billion − more than enough to ruin not only the local economy but the entire state’s economy,” Dr Green concluded.

Contact: Jim Green 0417 318 368, jim.green@foe.org.au

  1. www.ianfairlie.org/news/childhood-leukemias-near-nuclear-power-stations-new-article/
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