South Australia: Nuclear Citizens’ Jury given biased information

citizen jury

Submission to JOINT COMMITTEE ON FINDINGS OF THE NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE ROYAL COMMISSION Makes the case that Australians are being denied the bigger picture, and the NFCRC was deliberately or negligently selective in their assessment of evidence received

 Submission prepared by Dan Monceaux.
[Below are short excerpts from this detailed and thoroughly referenced submission]

“………I believe that the South Australian people have a right to know about the implications of all relevant nuclear materials handling processes and their consequences for human health and the environment in advance of making or influencing any government decision to accept or reject spent nuclear fuel.

 The brevity of the Final Report’s discussion of these topics presently betrays the public interest. In
 fact, matters of the environmental and occupational hazards presented by reprocessing activities
 (using existing or future processes) were not explored in the Royal Commission’s Final Report at

I am concerned that the Citizens’ Jury currently tasked with simplifying the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission may not comprehend the full extent of the Commission’s recommendations- that is, that they are seeking to enable currently prohibited industrial activities across the whole nuclear fuel cycle.[1] Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, Government of South Australia, ‘Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Report’, 2016: pg. XV. . Accessed 2016-07-01……..

3. the question arises: how selective or otherwise was the process of assembling its Final Report and recommendations? Why was certain information received not included in the Commission’s final report?

 If jurors are denied access to relevant information related to nuclear hazards (by their omission from
 the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s Final Report) this could be considered a dereliction of
 duty by the Commission. The report, since passing into the hands of the Department of the Premier
 & Cabinet in May 2016 has become the South Australian government’s central reference as it prepares
 a lengthy series of outreach activities around the state. Aside from brief oral presentations
 provided by called witnesses, this as I understand it, will be the only document considered in any
 detail by the Jurors………

4. the first Citizens’ Jury did not hear from a presenter who was appropriately knowledgeable on matters of radio-biology and the pathways and effects of exposure to nuclear materials in environmental or occupational contexts (with respect to uranium and nuclear fuel). The only medical professional to address the jurors for any significant length of time was Associate Professor Michael Penniment.

 Penniment’s ten-minute presentation to jurors offered almost no information on nuclear hazards,
 biological effects, uranium or nuclear fuel. He spoke instead of the need to manage medical wastes
 better,[14] and neglected to inform people of the actual risks posed by exposure to ionizing radiation……

It is my opinion that by not providing fundamental information about the connection between radiationexposure and the development of cancers and leukaemia, the Department of the Premier andCabinet is preventing the jurors from being able to adequately consider risks, which being bombarded by the opportunity of waste storage, and the numerous mechanical processes which would need to occur to enable it………

CHERNOBYL In his presentation to the jurors, Penniment went on to describe the consequences of Chernobyl incorrectly, stating that only 28 people died as a result of the incident, and that those were the first responder clean-up workers. This misinformation conflicts with all recent accounts of the disaster, including those published in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s own Final Report. No-one present in the room was able to correct him……

I supplied evidence to the Commission for its consideration demonstrating the different approaches taken to measuring and estimating the human health consequences of Chernobyl in my submission to the Tentative Findings. I had hoped that the Commission would compare these with its own references to UNSCEAR and the WHO. No such comparisons were reflected in the Final Report…….

FUKUSHIMA In the case of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the Commission’s final report fails to reflect the gravity, extent of harm and technical complexities related to the incident and the response thus far……

6. [On the health effects on nuclear workers]

The Commissioner’s response to my question and correction demonstrate that the Commissioner was at that time unaware of the problematic nature of the elevated risk of cancers and leukemias experiencedby nuclear industry workers, despite my submissions. This also confirmed that the evidence I provided to the Commission was ignored, either wilfully or negligently. I reach this conclusion with confidence, given Chad Jacobi’s recent admission that all submissions were read by the Commission, and by him personally.[11]

I have received further confirmation from the Royal Commission’s Chief of Staff, Greg Ward that Chad Jacobi was the chief author of the final report. If Jacobi read all of my submissions, what cause did he have to ignore the evidence that I provided?

 How many other people or organisations provided information from reputable sources which was
 similarly omitted from the final report? Is this outcome acceptable? To what extent was the Commission
 working for or against the public interest in the conduct of their inquiry?

NUCLEAR FACILITY EFFLUENT & EMISSIONS In my submissions to the Commission, I drew attention to several studies which identified or analyses  clusters of leukemias in close proximity to nuclear facilities…….. The Commission chose not to include this controversial subject in its final report, despite a preliminary search revealing a substantial number of peer-reviewed medical research papers exploring this topic……..

NUCLEAR FUEL LEASING The Final Report refers to the prospect of establishing a nuclear fuel leasing scheme in South Australia, contingent on the establishment of a permanent storage facility for spent nuclear fuel. The report then goes on to say that such a program could provide a competitive advantage capable of improving prospects for the development of additional uranium processing activities in South Australia……..This process of gradual expansion into enrichment and fuel processing is summarised….

By my assessment, these statements reveal the broader intent of the Commission’s recommendations, yet this information is buried deep inside the body of the Final Report. The Commission suggests that South Australia work with established nuclear industrial players to add value to the currently exported product: uranium oxide concentrate.

 Regrettably, the first Citizens’ Jury’s report doesn’t reflect the apparent ‘big picture’ plan, which
 leaves me concerned that South Australians more broadly will continue to debate the merits or otherwise of high-level nuclear waste transportation, receipt, storage and disposal, without understanding further reaching implications of expanding into further processing activities…….


 In conclusion, I wish to recommend that…
 1. The deficiencies of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s Final Report be acknowledged and corrected
 2. Previously omitted, reliably-sourced evidence provided to the RC via submissions be revisited and synthesised into a 2nd edition of the Final Report (or addendum)
3. All prospective industry partners and beneficiaries of nuclear industrial development (public and private sector) be disclosed in the public interest
4. The commencement of the second Citizens’ Jury be postponed until the 2nd edition of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s Final Report has been published

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