The Appearance of Bias – Not a Good Look

Friends of the EarthMedia Release by Friends of the Earth Adelaide, 5 November 2015

Today the Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle will be hearing oral evidence from London based insurance company Nuclear Risk Insurers, on the subject of insuring against a nuclear accident.  On October 2015, Dr Timothy Stone, member of the Royal Commission’s Executive Advisory Committee, was appointed director of this company.

“How critically will evidence given by this company be treated, when a member of the Executive Advisory Committee is also one of its directors?” asked Nectaria Calan of Friends of the Earth Adelaide.

On Friday 30th October GE Hitachi gave oral evidence to the Royal Commission on their new PRISM reactor design.  GE Hitachi is a global nuclear alliance between General Electric (US) and Hitachi (Japan).  Hitachi is the parent company of Horizon Nuclear Power, a UK energy company developing new nuclear power stations, of which Dr Stone is also a director.

“Dr Stone’s connections with these companies highlights the broader issue here, which is his direct involvement in the nuclear industry, regardless of whether companies he’s employed by are giving evidence. He also owns Alpha-n Infrastructure, an elusive company with a partially built website which promotes nuclear power. This interest has not been disclosed by the Royal Commission on its website,” said Ms Calan.

Dr Stone is not the only Royal Commission member directly involved in the nuclear industry. Julian Kelly, its Technical Research Team Leader, is currently the Chief Technology Officer of Thor Energy, a Norwegian company focusing on the use of Thorium in nuclear reactors.

“If you’re directly involved in the very industry the Royal Commission is considering expanding, you potentially stand to gain something if a recommendation is made that this industry expand.  At the very least there is an appearance of bias here that will undermine the credibility of the Royal Commissions findings,” said Ms Calan.

Details on today’s public session can be found here:

For comment contact:

Nectaria Calan
Friends of the Earth Adelaide
0432 388 665

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