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SA premier in Finland to see nuclear dump

AAP logoAAP 16/09/2016

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has left for Finland to visit the world's first deep disposal facility for used nuclear fuel as his government continues to grapple with the idea of establishing its own nuclear waste dump.

The facility at Eurajoki is still under construction and is due to open in the early 2020s.

Mr Weatherill says he wants to see what a deep geological facility looks like and gain a better understanding of safety, regulation and community consent from the Finnish experience.

"There were valuable lessons to be learnt from Finland's open and transparent community engagement program, and its focus on safety and regulatory management," Mr Weatherill said.

The idea of building a nuclear waste dump was suggested in a report from SA's royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle which looked at whether the state should expand its role in the nuclear industry.

The commission also recommended against building a nuclear power plant or enriching uranium but said valuable income could be earned from storing the world's high-level nuclear waste.

Since then the government has been taking community feedback with a second citizens' jury to be held next month.

Mr Weatherill has pledged to outline the government's final position on the proposal by the end of the year.

Greens MP Mark Parnell said as the premier visits the Finnish facility he should note that it is already nine years behind schedule and 300 per cent over budget.

Mr Parnell said the dump was also 20 times smaller than the one proposed for SA and was not designed to make a profit as it will only take Finland's own waste.

"Having already wasted $10 million of taxpayers' money on this folly, the premier needs to seriously consider at what point he allows economic reality rather than fanciful dreaming to enter this debate," Mr Parnell said.

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