Witnesses provide expert nuclear overview

Posted 29 October 2016

The nuclear Citizens’ Jury has today heard from 32 expert witnesses on four key topics – trust, safety, economics and consent – as they discuss the state’s potential future involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle.

The jury took part in panel discussions during the day, having the opportunity to listen to witnesses and then engage in question and answer sessions.

Evidence was heard from stakeholders representing a broad range of interests and sectors, including the Australian Conservation Foundation, Australia Institute, Friends of the Earth, Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO), World Nuclear Association, Australia Youth Climate Coalition and French national radioactive waste management agency ANDRA.

The discussions during the day highlighted the key issues being considered by the jury, including liability, the economic modelling assumptions, how consent is measured and concerns about transporting radioactive waste through regional South Australia.

The afternoon session was dedicated to hearing indigenous community perspectives, with around 20 Aboriginal people - many travelling to Adelaide from rural SA - attending to share their experiences with the jury.

The group heard from Aboriginal representatives, including Karina Lester, Vivienne McKenzie, Vince Coulthard and Enice Marsh who discussed the effects of the Maralinga testing in 1950s and past campaigns to protect Aboriginal land from radioactive material. They spoke of their cultural concerns about the safety, health impacts and damage to traditional lands from past nuclear activities, as well as their worries about any potential future storage and disposal plans.

The jury is spending a total of six days answering the question: ‘Under what circumstances, if any, could South Australia pursue the opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries?’

Around 350 jurors, representing a broad cross section of the South Australian population, are considering all the facts and feedback from the three-month community consultation program, and deciding on their own perspectives, on the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Report. 

The jury sat today, and will reconvene tomorrow to start gathering together their insights. They reconvene next weekend to finalise a report, which will be presented to the Premier Jay Weatherill on Sunday, November 6.