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Nuclear dump 'too complex for SA jury'

AAP logoAAP 6/11/2016 Rick Goodman and Marnie Banger

The proposed nuclear waste dump in South Australia is too complex and technical for a citizens' jury to make an informed decision, a business leader says.

A jury member has agreed, although she still believes the outcome of the process reflected the community's negative feelings towards the idea.

The citizens' jury has rejected the proposal to build a nuclear waste dump, which a royal commission found could earn the state some $100 billion.

The jury presented its final report to the state government on Sunday with 70 per cent of its 350 members unwilling to support the idea for a dump under any circumstances.

Business SA chief executive Nigel McBride says the jury format is better suited to local issues like speed limits, not something "extraordinarily complex" like a nuclear waste storage facility.

He said such complex projects usually take years for communities to understand, not weeks, and so the jury's decision should not be considered as conclusive.

"The organiser admitted this was the most complex and ambitious jury process they had ever undertaken," Mr McBride said on Tuesday..

"There was no way, in that time frame, that ordinary people without any kind of technical background could come to a truly informed decision."

Jury member Caroline Moran tended to agree, saying the jury format might work better for smaller-scale projects like parks and bikeways.

But she said the process, despite its shortfalls, still achieved what it set out to.

"The whole point of it was a community litmus test. For the government to gauge what the community's gut feeling was," she told AAP.

"And it achieved that. So I don't think it was a failure."

But Ms Moran, a clinical researcher, said the jury had difficulty understanding the technical details of the proposal, with many not reading the royal commission report thoroughly beforehand.

"It's really technical, scientific stuff," the 28-year-old said.

"If the government wants it to go ahead they've got to explain it a bit more I think."

She said the jury was largely made up of people with more free time, such as retirees and students, and many were instinctively turned off by the idea of handling nuclear waste.

"That slightly older generation has memories of Maralinga and Fukushima and Chernobyl," she said.

"People are terrified about nuclear. They freak out."

Premier Jay Weatherill said his cabinet would take the verdict of the jury on board, but will also consider the views of more than 50,000 people who provided feedback to the government.

SA Chamber of Mines and Energy acting chief executive Nigel Long hoped the government would keep the conversation on the proposal going.

"If we gave up on this now, I think we would probably miss out on what could potentially be a wonderful opportunity for the state," he said

But the No Dump Alliance said the jury's decision was strong as the community had studied the royal commission report and heard from experts.

The SA government has pledged to make a decision by the end of year.

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