The Australian Conservation Foundation will today table to a South Australian Parliamentary committee information showing a key adviser to the state’s recent nuclear Royal Commission is a nuclear ‘true believer’ who was behind a failed attempt to open a global radioactive waste dump in Australia in the 1990s.

Charles McCombie, who was technical manager of Pangea Resources – a consortium that tried to advance a waste dump in Australia during the 1990s – is a foundation partner of MCM, a Swiss based firm contracted by the Royal Commission to model economic and technical information and analyse potential customer demand and economics.  

MCM’s report strongly influenced the Commission’s enthusiastic pro-dump recommendations.  Mr McCombie is also President of ARIUS, the Association for Regional & International Underground Storage.  MCM and ARIUS both aim to advance global radioactive waste disposal, raising questions about the independence and objectivity of the advice provided. 

MCM has stated that a positive state government response to the Royal Commission report would ‘change the worldwide paradigm of radioactive waste management’.

“In the late 1990s public outrage forced Pangea to abandon its dumping plan”, said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney.  “Today a pro-nuclear Royal Commission is using public funds so Pangea’s inheritors can re-write the proposal. South Australians deserve better.

“Understandably there is concern about commercial interests pushing a plan to ship, store and bury the largest amount of the world’s worst nuclear waste in South Australia.  

“The permanent risk of nuclear waste demands the highest level of scrutiny and transparency, not limited disclosure and insiders promoting a pre-determined agenda.

“Radioactive waste management is complex, contaminating and costly – and it lasts far longer than any politician or headline.  It needs real analysis, not industry assumptions.

“ACF urges Premier Jay Weatherill to seek an independent review of the Royal Commission’s research and recommendations and not to further advance this high risk plan based on a report that is compromised, deeply deficient and unfit for purpose.”

SA nuclear waste dump: Conservation Foundation questions MCM impartiality in key report (news story)

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