Jay Weatherill, Premier of South Australia:
ON Purpose of the Citizens Jury “Its purpose is not to arrive at a decision, but to arrive at a decision that the government can make a decision”
On The job of the Citizens Jury: “You are producing a guide to the Royal Commission Report. You work out how to summarise that and how to publish it to the broad community”
“Brexit is a gold example of the ordinary people deciding, rather than having the politicians, movie stars, celebrities, telling people what they should think”
“First Jury produces a guide to the report” (Second jury – I couldn’t hear this) Third Jury summarises the report for the public. Final jury – decides if the information is now good enough for the government to make a decision”
Question. “The nuclear Royal Commission said that ball of its recommendations were evidence based. There is no evidence to call upon for the underground storage, because nobody has done it yet”
Answer from Greg Ward (of the Nuclear Royal Commission) “There is one. In the USA the WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant) has done so.Other countries have been studying deep underground storage for decades – running tests for decades”
Question on the results of the study of radiation effects of radiation on Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing survivors.
Answer from Greg. Lengthy answer, including – “A cloudy area – right now we are all exposed to background radiation…..Some argue that small amounts of radiation are actually beneficial. There is no universal agreement at this point. [actually the World Health Organisation and health institutions world -wide hold to the principle that there is no safe level of radiation – the Linear principle]. ….Geraldine Thomas gave evidence to the Royal Commission. She has been involved in long term study of populations in Europe, post Chernobyl” [ Geraldine Thomas is a well-known propagandist for the nuclear industry]
Moved into a detailed discussion of technical aspects of the Royal Commission’s recommendations.
I particularly liked the argument from “Lucy” of the Royal Commission, on assessing the risks of nuclear power:
” based on what we understand from Chernobyl, Fukushima and Three Mile Island , does this mean that nuclear power should be ruled out? No. A lot of lessons have been learned from these accidents. Based on these expert studies, design changes have been made, and nuclear power can be safely managed. It is not beyond South Australia”
Greg: “Don’t take nuclear off the table. What is needed is to remove the legislative restrictions. In particular, small nuclear reactors may be feasible, and commercially available in a decade” [my own reading has found that this would be many decades away]
Question from the Citizens Jury audience: “How many thousands of tons of nuclear waste would be needed to be imported to make it commercially viable?”
Answer from Greg: “138000 tons by 2090 “
Greg on economics: “Profits could be invested in infrastructure at about 4% return. There could be a sovereign wealth fund, half the profits go into the fund, half to theTreasurer. The fund would continue to grow in perpetuity, benefiting not just our generation, but for generations forever… We found in all analyses that it is likely to be highly successful and viable.”
Greg on impacts on other industries: “We looked at impacts on other industries. We found no evidence of adverse impacts”
At the end – a remarkable question from a man in the audience:
“You make it clear that the Commission has no responsibility to educate the community at large. In this Citizens Jury, there is a lack of scientific knowledge. It seems that our job is greater than that of the Commission. Who is going to support and fund the necessary education of the public?”
Greg answers: “it is a big challenge. I think you will enjoy the process. You will need to focus on the real issues and the facts. I’m sure that you will provide the right advice”
SELECTION OF WITNESSES.
A whole heap of witnesses selected, but very few women- There was Leslie Dewan – about 30 years old, top spruiker for the Small Nuclear Reactor lobby. In the section Impacts on Aboriginal Communities, there were three women – Cecilia Woolford (?) Eunice Marsh and Wanda Miller(?). I am unsure of two surnames here. This gender imbalance is not the organisers’ fault. The suggestions came from the Citizens’ Jury members.
I hope I’ve got this wrong, but it appears that Greg Ward and Chad ? from the Nuclear Royal Commission are going to be allowed to be members of the Citizens’ Jury – “to help with questions” – or to monitor the jury.