South Australians are facing a bigdecision In May 2016 a state Royal Commission into the nuclear fuel cycle recommended that South Australia openits doors and accept the world's most dangerous industrial waste.
It wants South Australia to develop a nuclear port and keep high-level international nuclearwaste above and below ground at multiple sites across the state, and itis prepared to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to get theproject up and running The proposal is for South Australia tobecome the final destination for much of the world's most dangerous andlong-lived nuclear waste This is material that needs to beisolated from people and the planet from communities and country for more than ahundred thousand years The proposal includes the constructionof a hundred-million-dollar deep water port to transfer high and intermediatelevel nuclear waste containers from ship to shore They want to import a hundred andthirty-eight thousand tons of high-level nuclear waste into South Australia overa 70 year period.
That's 200 to 250 tons of high-level waste every month The planned nuclear port would take afurther six hundred shipping containers per year of intermediate level nuclearwaste.
At the project's peak around 70,000 tons of high-level waste would be storedabove ground The final plan is for large volumes ofhigh and intermediate level nuclear waste to be buried in multipleunderground sites across South Australia.
Buried – but not dead – this wastewould be a threat to South Australia forever.
The scale of the proposal has beendescribed as by far the largest operation in existence and even thecompany employed by the Royal Commission to model the plan has warned that thisisn't a risk-free process.
There is a very significant risk.
The nuclear RoyalCommission has already cost South Australian taxpayers over 9 milliondollars.
The South Australian government iscurrently spending another million dollars on consultation and promotion,but this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the drain on the publicpurse.
The plan itself is estimated to cost 145billion dollars It's based on South Australian taxpayersspending between 300 and 600 million dollars up front before any contractswith overseas companies assigned or any site located.
The International AtomicEnergy Agency has noted that "no country has a geological repository for spentfuel storage or disposal neither have most countries decided on afinal destination for spent fuel.
" But there is a long list ofexpensive failed attempts around the world New plans are still years away fromcompletion and many face strong community opposition.
Community consent to such a risky andpermanent plan is absolutely essential but not at all guaranteed.
People need to know about the plan andto have the ability to say no to the proposal Nothing about nuclear waste is easy.
Australia's own 20 year search for national low and intermediate level nuclearwaste dump has seen every proposal target Aboriginal communities, and allhave failed or are failing.
Australia has not responsibly solved itsown radioactive waste problem so it makes no sense to open the door toa much more severe global problem.
South Australia means a lot to a lot ofpeople and there is a lot at stake.
Decisions we make today will affect allfuture South Australians.
We are the crossroads.
South Australiacould either become a global dump zone or the clean energy and advancedmanufacturing capital of Australia.
The jobs of the future will be in thesegrowth industries, not the decaying industries of the past.
People who saySouth Australia's best hope is to take the world's worst waste have got it badly wrong.
Social consent is critical for anynuclear project to proceed and the fundamental questions for SouthAustralians are, "do we consent, and can we consent on behalf of all futuregenerations?" The Greens believe that no amount of badeconomic news for South Australia could ever make importing nuclear waste a good idea.
South Australia is simply too good towaste.
Our future is renewable.