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SA premier not keen on nuclear referendum

AAP logoAAP 28/07/2016

South Australia's premier won't rule out holding a referendum on whether the state should host a proposed nuclear waste dump but says it's unlikely.

Jay Weatherill says unrest over Britain's decision to leave the European Union shows complex decisions shouldn't be reduced to a yes or no answer.

"I think a referendum wouldn't provide the level of nuance that's essentially necessary in this area," Mr Weatherill told a budget estimates hearing on Thursday.

"It tends to close down public debate rather than allow it to be developed.

"I think it's not capable of precise measurement. It is a qualitative assessment."

Mr Weatherill has promised to indicate by the end of the year whether the government plans to proceed with the controversial nuclear dump.

Officials will host informal meetings at more than 100 sites across the state over the next three months with the aim of receiving feedback on key issues identified by a citizens' jury.

A second jury of 350 people will then be convened to examine the feedback and present a final report to the government, which is expected to decide whether to proceed with the dump by the year's end.

Four key issues emerged from the first public examination of the proposed nuclear dump, including the question of safe transport of waste.

The jury of 50 randomly selected people said wider public consultation should also concentrate on the business case for the dump, the question of community consent before the proposal is approved and the need for transparent regulatory arrangements.

The proposal to consider building a dump was included in the final report from a royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle, largely because of the revenue it could generate.

But the commission said South Australia should not consider further enriching uranium or building nuclear power plants.

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