13 August 2015
Nuclear is the wrong direction for SA: Environment groups enter submission to Royal Commission
Three leading environmental organisations - Conservation SA, the Australian Conservation Foundation and Friends of the Earth, Australia - have submitted a detailed joint submission to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission which forensically details an extensive series of nuclear myths and false assumptions.
“South Australia’s future lies in renewable energy, not nuclear. It’s cheaper, safer and quicker to roll out,” said Conservation SA Chief Executive Craig Wilkins.
“This week’s axing of hundreds of jobs from Olympic Dam should raise huge questions about growth potential in the nuclear industry.
“With renewables, we can be in charge of our own destiny, not dependent on decisions made in corporate boardrooms on the other side of the world,” he said.
“Much of the nuclear promotion in SA is premised on the idea of a global nuclear ‘renaissance’, said lead submission author Dr Jim Green. “In fact, the nuclear renaissance is stone cold dead.
“There are fewer reactors now than there were a decade ago. Nuclear fuel cycle markets for enrichment, conversion and fuel fabrication are oversupplied. And as the continuing job losses at Olympic Dam demonstrate, the uranium market is extremely weak and will remain so for years,” he said.
As well as highlighting the contested and constrained status of the current nuclear sector the 248 page report makes a compelling case that the industry’s future will be no brighter.
“So-called Generation 3 reactors projects such as the French EPR and Westinghouse AP1000 are in trouble, with multi-year delays and multi-billion dollar cost blowouts,” said Dr Green. “So-called Generation 4 reactors are decades away and, as a recent report by the French government concludes, safety claims made by Generation 4 advocates do not stand up to scrutiny.”
Many environment, public health and Aboriginal groups have expressed concern that the Royal Commission is being used by the nuclear industry as a Trojan Horse in an attempt to open national and international radioactive waste dumps in SA.
“Australia has yet to find a lasting, responsible solution to domestic radioactive waste so it beggars belief that some are promoting Australia as the solution to the world’s nuclear waste problems.
“Proponents of a deep underground nuclear waste dump in Australia have been coy about the fact that the world’s only deep underground nuclear dump – in the US state of New Mexico – has been shut down following a February 2014 explosion,” Dr Green concluded.
Attachment 1: Two page submission briefing.
Attachment 2: Joint submission to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission by Conservation SA, Australian Conservation Foundation, and Friends of the Earth, Australia.
Craig Wilkins: 0417 879 439
Dr Jim Green: 0417 318 368