Australian Institute Doubts Economics of Nuclear Waste

South Australia

The economics behind the proposal to build a nuclear waste storage facility in of South Australia has been questioned by a Think Tank.

The Australia Institute said the cost calculations on the project seemed too optimistic. The Think Tank, funded by Conservation SA, conducted a detailed analysis of the waste storage proposal mooted by the preliminary findings of SA’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

“If you get into the waste disposal business in the way proposed at the moment, what you’re going to get is a big loss to taxpayers in the short term and the potential, but not certain, benefits in the future,” the institute’s chief economist Richard Denniss told The ABC.

He said the projections are based on optimistic prices that the world has to pay for building a nuclear waste facility. He said the stored waste may create many future worries and wondered what would happen if the project ran into economic problems.

“The question is what happens to SA if, after stockpiling high-level nuclear waste above ground for 20 years, what happens if the project falls over after you’ve imported all the waste?” he said.

Denniss said the nuclear waste will not create more than a few hundred local jobs. Nigel McBride of Business SA said the Royal commission’s role was not to analyse the economics in detail.

“We never saw the royal commission as doing a fully costed, comprehensive investigation of the business case for a nuclear repository,” he said.

Reacting to the comments, a Royal Commission spokesperson said: “The commission will not be making any public remarks about any specific responses at this stage.”

Meanwhile, an opinion poll suggested that SA Premier Jay Weatherill will need more support from his Labor voters and women voters if he has to make further progress in the building of an international nuclear waste facility in the state.

According to the opinion poll, almost 60 percent of women and most Labor voters are opposed to the global nuclear waste facility in the state.

The ReachTEL Poll interviewed 1,077 SA residents on March 10 and found that 37 percent of voters supported the nuclear waste dump while 48.5 percent opposed it and 14 percent said they are undecided.

Australia Institute executive director Ben Oquist noted that South Australians are quite aware of the risks from the nuclear waste project and the damage it would do to the state’s reputation, reports Adelaide Now.


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