Teams from the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission have completed five days of public meetings across South Australia following the release of the Commission’s Tentative Findings earlier this week. Meetings were held in Adelaide, Port Pirie, Port Augusta, Whyalla, Port Lincoln, Mount Gambier, Oak Valley, Ceduna, Umuwa, Coober Pedy and Renmark. “It was pleasing to see so many people attend the meetings and to get such a broad range of questions and views expressed,” Commissioner Kevin Scarce said. While the public meetings were principally intended to inform the community of the key Tentative Findings, Mr Scarce said the process had reinforced a number of areas of importance for the Commission’s final report to the State Government, including:

  • Safety: There was interest in the long term safety of used fuel in deep geological disposal facilities. As outlined in the Tentative Findings, the Commission explained at the meetings how this had been analysed. In its final report, it will explain the safety analysis in detail and provide information of other projects and the analysis undertaken with respect to proposed deep geological disposal facilities overseas.
  • Social and Community consent: These considerations were identified in the Tentative Findings as a necessary element of any successful proposal. This issue – including processes – was of considerable interest to those attending meetings. It has reinforced the Commission’s intention to further explain the key principles used in international approaches to obtaining social and community consent in its final report.
  • Economic benefits: The community was interested to understand how potential benefits from any activity might be secured for future generations and shared among the community.

Although outside the Commission’s Terms of Reference, the Commonwealth’s process for the selection of a site for low level waste repository generated considerable discussion at the public meetings. The Commission will consider this feedback as it frames its findings and recommendations for the potential approaches to obtaining social and community consent.   The five-week period for responses to the Tentative Findings document is open until 5pm Friday 18 March 2016.