As the South Australian Government’s second nuclear “citizens’ jury” gets underway this weekend, it’s essential that participants aren’t denied important facts about global nuclear waste, says Mark Parnell MLC, Parliamentary Leader of the SA Greens.
Here are eight inconvenient truths that the citizens’ jury needs to hear:
1. The much-heralded Finnish underground nuclear waste facility (visited by the Premier recently) does NOT yet have a licence to accept nuclear waste, will not open for at least six years and has been three decades in planning. It is also 20 times SMALLER than the facility proposed for SA by the Royal Commission.
2. The nuclear industry is without peer in terms of cost blow-outs and time over-runs. This is likely to eliminate any anticipated profit for South Australia – which is the sole rationale for the proposed SA dump.
3. According to the Royal Commission’s own consultants, it could cost South Australia more than $600 million before we even know whether the project is viable.
4. The main client countries anticipated to send nuclear waste to South Australia, including South Korea and Japan, are already exploring domestic solutions to their nuclear waste problem and are not considering overseas solutions.
5. The world’s only operating underground nuclear waste facility, in New Mexico, USA, closed in 2015 following a chemical explosion brought about by human error. It is still contaminated and yet to re-open.
6. The most advanced nuclear nation on Earth, the USA, is yet to come up with a permanent solution for waste from its nuclear power plants. The proposed underground nuclear dump in Yucca Mountain, Nevada, has been stalled by community opposition and may never go ahead.
7. Whilst it may be the best idea so far, nobody knows if deep geological disposal of nuclear waste will work in the long term, because it has never been done before.
8. South Australia is not unique in its geology and has regular earthquakes of magnitude 4 and above.
Without all the facts, the citizens’ jury can’t possibly make an informed decision.
NOTE: Mark Parnell MLC is a member of the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee that is investigating the Royal Commission’s findings. Mark and other Committee members recently returned from inspecting nuclear waste facilities under construction in Finland and France, as well as failed facilities in the United States.