Time for Premier Jay Weatherill to Dump the Dump

Friends of the EarthRegarding plans to import nuclear waste to South Australia, Friends of the Earth Australia notes that the Community Views Report released today is overwhelmingly negative and calls on SA Premier Jay Weatherill to abandon the proposal.

Key findings of the Community Views Report are noted below.

The Community Views Report follows major developments over the past week:

  • Two-thirds of the members of the Citizens’ Jury concluded that the proposal should not be pursued “under any circumstances”.
  • SA Liberal Leader Steven Marshall has clearly stated his opposition to the proposal and said it will be the “defining issue for the 2018 state election” if the Premier refuses to dump the dump.
  • Business SA chief Nigel McBride acknowledges that the proposal is “dead”.
  • Aboriginal communities across the state have repeatedly voiced their strong opposition to the proposed nuclear dump and their views are clearly reflected both in the Citizens’ Jury report and in the Community Views Report released today.

Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, said: “The Community Views report reinforces the deep scepticism and opposition revealed by the Citizens’ Jury process. The 53 percent opposed to importing nuclear waste far outnumber the 31 percent supportive of the proposal. Far more people oppose further consideration of the proposal than support further consideration. Opposition from Aboriginal people is overwhelming. Only 20 percent are confident that nuclear waste can be transported and stored safely. An overwhelming majority of people lack confidence in the SA government’s ability to regulate any new nuclear industry activities. Sixty-six percent are not confident that a nuclear waste dump would bring significant economic benefits to SA.”

“The people of South Australia have spoken. Aboriginal Traditional Owners ‒ who have always borne the brunt of the nuclear industry ‒ have spoken. Opposition Leader Steven Marshall has spoken. The Citizens’ Jury has spoken. Jay Weatherill must listen. It is time to dump the dump,” Dr Green concluded.

Contact: Jim Green 0417 318 368


Key Findings of the ‘Community Views Report’.

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency, November 2016, ‘Community Views Report’.


Page 19: The report states: “Over thirty per cent (31%) of South Australians interviewed in the three rounds of telephone surveys supported the storage and disposal of nuclear waste from other countries in the state, while 53% opposed the proposal and 16% were unsure or didn’t know enough.”

Page 18: The report distinguishes ‘representative feedback’ (participation in telephone surveys and focus groups by random selection) from self-selected feedback (feedback forms, online survey, conversation kit). In the representative feedback (4016 people), 43% of people supported or strongly supported continuing to explore the nuclear waste dump proposal, while 37% were opposed or strongly opposed. In the self-selected feedback (4499 people), 64% of people opposed or strongly opposed continuation, more than double the 29% who supported or strongly supported continuation.

Adding the figures together (which the report does not do):

1727 + 1305= 3032 people support continuing to explore the proposal

1486 + 2879 = 4365 people oppose continuing to explore the proposal

Page 34: Within the structured channels of feedback forms and telephone and online surveys, 198 people who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander provided feedback. In terms of support for continuing to explore the establishment of a nuclear storage facility for international waste in SA, 34% of Aboriginal people in the representative sample (total 56 people) were supportive and 50% were opposed, compared to 16% supportive and 73% opposed in the self-selected feedback (total 138 people).

Combining the figures (which the report does not do):

Support continuing to explore the proposal: 19 + 22 = 41 people

Oppose continuing to explore the proposal: 28 + 101 = 129 people

The report states (page 9): “Many [Aboriginal] participants expressed concern about the potential negative impacts on their culture and the long-term, generational consequences of increasing the state’s participation in the nuclear fuel cycle. There was a significant lack of support for the government to continue pursuing any form of nuclear storage and disposal facilities. Some Aboriginal people indicated that they are interested in learning more and continuing the conversation, but these were few in number.”

Page 22: How confident are you that nuclear waste can be transported and stored safely?

Confident or very confident 20%

Not confident or not at all confident 70%

In four places the report produces survey results regarding what the next steps should be. In all cases the most common response was that the nuclear waste dump proposal should be stopped. In three of the four cases, stopping the proposal was vastly more popular than the second most common response:

p.23: 28% stop the proposal vs next most common response 7%

p.26: 18% stop the proposal vs next most common response 17%

p.29: 25% stop the proposal vs next most common response 8%

p.31: 28% stop the proposal vs next most common response 8%

Page 24: Self-selected feedback channels showed that confidence that the government would consider community views in its decision was low at 20%, with 70% not confident.

Page 28: Asked about confidence in government’s ability to regulate any new nuclear industry activities in South Australia, 43% of the representative sample (total 4016 people) said they were not confident, compared with 38% who were confident. Of the self-selected feedback (total 3330 people), 74% were not confident and 18% were confident.
Combining the figures (which the report does not do):

Confident: 1526 + 599 = 2125

Not confident: 1726 + 2464 = 4190

Page 30: On the question of confidence that a nuclear waste disposal facility would bring significant economic benefits to SA, 66% of the people who submitted online surveys, feedback forms and conversation kits (self-selected feedback) were not confident.

1 thought on “Time for Premier Jay Weatherill to Dump the Dump”

  1. Just a quick update on the “work” of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, headed by (biased or bought) pro-nuclear retired Royal Australian Navy Rear-Admiral Kevin Scarce, who treated Dr Caldicott with utter disdain and total lack of respect during her courageous testimony to the Commission.

    Wikipedia has an article on the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. From the Wikipedia article, we conclude that:

    1. The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission cost South Australian taxpayers at least Au$ 7.2 million – enough money to build a hospital.
    2. Basically, the final report from the Commission recommends that further uranium mining activities be developed in SA, and that a high level nuclear waste dump be constructed, at the astronomical cost (born by SA taxpayers) of Au$ 145 billion. Surely enough this last part must have gotten some contractors salivating. The Commission also recommended less regulation for nuclear industry activities in South Australia – unsurprisingly.

    Note that just the planning stage of the high level nuclear waste dump would cost South Australian taxpayers Au$ 600 million – even if the project never generates a single dollar in revenue.

    As for the uranium mining part, this is more driven by economics than by political wishful thinking or industry lobbying – and the price of uranium yellow cake has been below its mining and production costs for the last 3 years, during which Australian uranium mining companies lost Au$ billions (but they apparently haven’t learned the lesson yet as uranium mining continues unabated).

    However, it’s more the international context for the entire nuclear industry that is changing and will make Rear-Admiral Kevin Scarce’s dreams of a nuclear-friendly South Australia impossible. Westinghouse and Areva, respectively the largest and second largest Western nuclear reactor companies, are both bankrupt. South Korea is abandoning further internal development of its nuclear industry. France will be shutting down 1/3 of its nuclear reactor fleet in the coming 10 years. Japan is not likely to ever restart at least half of its fleet of nuclear reactors. Etc.

    In summary, Au$ millions of South Australian taxpayer’s money have been wasted by politicians paid by the nuclear lobby – for nothing. The question remains whether they’ll keep trying and waste more taxpayer’s money, or just give up and be gone.

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