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Citizens Have Voted Against South Australia's Nuclear Storage Facility

A jury of 300 randomly selected people have declared the facility comes with too many unknowns.

by Katherine Gillespie
07 November 2016, 12:00am


Citizens protesting nuclear waste dumping in Adelaide in October 2016. Image via Flickr user Royston Rascals

A citizens' jury of more than 300 randomly selected people has voted against the storage of nuclear waste in rural South Australia, delivering a report to State Premier Jay Weatherill on Sunday night.

The report outlined several concerns about the long term depository of nuclear waste, including safety, cost, and the lack of consent from Aboriginal elders who are the traditional custodians of the land. It was suggested by jurors that Indigenous people had not been adequately consulted.

"To suggest that the indigenous community then has a unanimous position, without adequate consultation, is incorrect," the report stated.

"Many jurors believe we don't have the right to make a decision that will have such long term and irreversible consequences for future generations."

The report also questioned whether the plan to store nuclear waste was economically sound. "The long-term viability of the project is in doubt as it does not consider new technology providing alternatives for the use of the waste; this undermines the economics to the project," it said.

The South Australian Government's record of economic mismanagement, including its handling of building projects like the Royal Adelaide Hospital, also factored into the jury's decision.

Before the report was even delivered, an anonymous juror told the ABC that the jury had not been given adequate time to weigh up facts about nuclear waste disposal. Another juror, Fuzzy Trojan said nuclear waste storage had "too many unknowns and too many risks."

There are five uranium mines operating in the state, producing about eight percent of the world's uranium resources. The citizens' jury was formed after a Royal Commission report advised South Australia to create a waste disposal facility and relax restrictions on nuclear power production earlier this year.

Despite the negative outcome of the report, the State Government is yet to finalise its decision on the issue, and hopes to consult other members of the community.

"The status quo is no. This jury doesn't believe the present proposal should be taken forward but we need to take into account a whole range of other broad community views," Weatherill told the ABC.

"This is what we did this for to understand what exactly people were thinking and why they were thinking it, to assist us to make our decision."

The government will put its response to parliament before the end of the year.

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