New expert report on dump causes major problems for Weatherill

Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today a new expert study into the nuclear waste dump will cause major problems for Mr Weatherill as it raises significant concerns and questions about the financial assumptions of the project.

The report by international nuclear experts Nuclear Economics Consulting Group was released today by the Joint Parliamentary Committee and makes it clear that the claimed revenue of $257 billion and costs of $145 billion by the Weatherill Government cannot be relied upon.

“This report is a severe embarrassment for Mr Weatherill as it makes it clear the Weatherill Government leaks to the media on the weekend were selective, deceptive and an attempt to grossly mislead the public,” said Mr Lucas.

The report notes: 

  • That ‘under some Project approaches” South Australian taxpayers might have to spend even more than $600 million and still decide not to proceed with the dump. 
  • The Jacobs report doesn’t even consider the costs of some important issues which “have significant serious potential to adversely impact the Project and its commercial outcomes.” 
  • Assumptions about price are “overly optimistic” and if that is the case “project profitability is seriously at risk”. 
  • The 25% cost contingency for delays and blowouts is likely to be a significant underestimate. 
  • The assumption the Project would capture 50% of the available market had “little support or justification”.

Almost every page of this expert report lists further questions and concerns about the critical assumptions underpinning the projections.

“Whilst the report finds that the project could be profitable ‘under certain assumptions’ it then raises serious questions about most of those assumptions. It also concluded that ‘informed decision making will require a more extensive assessment that includes what was explicitly excluded in the Jacobs report.’

“It is now clear that weekend claims by the Weatherill Government that this report had ‘verified’ the Royal Commission’s figures and “backed Commission findings of $257 billion in revenue are a grotesque distortion of the report.

“In fact, this report ‘blows a hole’ in Mr Weatherill’s vision of a nuclear waste dump future for South Australia and backs Liberal concerns about the financial assumptions of the Project.”