Bizarre Nuclear Dream or Panacea

Posted by Des Menz in Economic Development

6 May 2016

The South Australian government seems to be searching for ANY big project that might have a positive impact on the state economy. And it sure does need a shot in the arm. 

Let’s go back a couple of steps. The first injection was the announcement in August 2015 by then Prime Minister Abbott, that the $39 billion Future Frigate program would be constructed in Adelaide. This was announced again by Prime Minister Turnbull on 18 April 2016. 

But, as is clear in this ABC news announcement, only $8 billion of the build would actually be sourced in SA.

Then there’s the submarine project that will be based in Adelaide. Announced by PM Turnbull in April 2016, this one is $50 billion. SA’s share, or rather Adelaide’s - because that’s all that politicians and others refer to - is likely to be about $8 billion. Better than nothing, but with all the ploticking and fanfare that’s been going on you’d think that Adelaide has won a grand final!

So, will these projects save the SA economy? All sorts of perspectives emerge at times like these, such as in The Conversation article, or this one about Arrium at Whyalla. 

There’s something very disconnected going on in South Australia right now; it’s been creeping up on us for the past decade. Today, all the chatter from politicians, and business leaders, is about “the new economy” and how technology will drive “jobs and growth” into the future. Well, what about the old economy, the one that is totally connected to the environment? 

Here are a couple of articles I wrote several years ago. These are about creating real jobs at the same time as fixing up the environment..

Revegetation and a Climate Fix

A Proposition for Change

Whilst all the "jobs and growth” hoo-hah has been going on, there’s something of far greater social and environmental impact on the horizon.


The Next “Big Thing”?

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission was establsihed by the South Australian government and began in March 2015 to investigate a range of matters about all things nuclear. Mining, exploring, storage of wastes. Ah, that last one. Storage of nuclear waste.

We need to be very clear about one thing. Here we have a state of the federation of Australia taking on an investigation at the expense of the taxpayers of South Australia for what should be a federal government responsibility. The cost to the SA taxpayer is $9.1 million (to date) and could be much more than this. There is another issue about spending this sort of money when the general environment is continuing on a downward spiral, and the environmental budget is slashed from year to year.

The issue of establishing a nuclear waste facility to receive medium and high level radioactive waste from around the world is of vital national interest, not just South Australian interest, but the whole nation.

For reasons beyond the curious, the South Australian Labor government decided to go alone, and put up its own taxpayers’ money to investigate what, in the end, has been touted as “the great economic opportunity for the state”.

Every South Australian citizen should have participated in one way or another in the year-long community consultations that occurred. I suspect that few did. 

But a state with less than 1.7 million people, and with 85% of its land area in semi-arid and arid (desert) status, it is running out of options for the future. Or is it?

South Australia has been accused of being mendicant - in other words, one that lives on “charity” and “begging” and central government handouts. In a sense there is some credibility in this accusation. The recent bemoaning from the state Treasurer, following the 2016 federal budget, about how little federal government money was coming into the state for infrastructure projects, is a case in point.

But consider this. A state that refuses to change course and correct the environmental destruction from 130 years or more of devastating land clearance and species extinction, whose rural regions are facing terminal decline and looming threats from climate change, and decision-makers who ignore the great opportunities in designing a truly sustainable regional economy, will collectively result in a continual decline of the state.

Nuclear waste dumping is not the answer for South Australia.

Click this link —> my submission to the Royal Commission

And by the way, it was not included on the Tentative Findings submissions page. I have asked for an explanation, but I’m not likely to get one. But I reckon I know why my submission has been withheld. It is because I likened the Royal Commission to what the central theme is of this research paper  . . .  On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-profound Bullshit


What the Royal Commission has avoided to say

On 5 May 2016, just one day before the Royal Commission hands its final report to the Weatherill government, this glowing piece from InDaily conceals the real truth. The people who have toured the nuclear waste storage facilities in Finland, France, Sweden and the UK, have just one thing in their eyes … $$

In my submission, I quoted from that research paper On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit. I could not help but think that there a strong whiff of BS about this whole nuclear storage caper. Read this paper for yourself, and let me know what you think.

But there’s one final aspect I didn’t cover in my submission. And it is what the Royal Commission has also avoided - well, to date it has, and perhaps in the final report it may have mentioned …

South Australia has a law that prohibits nuclear waste storage anywhere in the state

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 4.52.07 pm


So for any change to happen in terms of nuclear waste storage in South Australia, this Act would need to be repealed first, with the consent of both houses of parliament.  

Interesting times are coming. We need to all get off our backsides and find out wqhat really is going on. Don’t let a clique of people control the destiny of South Australia.

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