The Australia Institute doesn’t really do “review”.
From the initial submission to the Royal Commission, to the pre-emptive attack on the work from Senator Edward’s office and now to the response to the tentative findings, there is not a reviewer with any knowledge of the nuclear sector in sight.
In two out of the three documents we have a sole author with no track-record I can locate in nuclear, one who is not even listed on the website as a member of staff. When I asked that individual whether anyone reviewed his attack on the work of Senator Edwards he said:
I didn’t have formal reviewers. I got some friends to read it to make sure it was readable. There was no input about technical or other detail.
Oh, I did chat to Dave Richardson about net present value calculations. The bulk of his response was laughter.
…and once again, how is this relevant? Why do you keep discussing trivialities? Who cares who saw the paper? Who cares what the picture is?
He remarked further:
I’m not relying on any appeal to authority. It stands or falls on its merit. Who reviewed it is irrelevant. I could have given Satan and advanced copy for comment, and it would make not the slightest difference what the report actually says.
So, they don’t get it. Review is not an appeal to authority, it’s a vital quality check, particularly when writing outside your speciality (which is a dubious thing to do anyway). In the event that Satan was well-informed about nuclear economics and had some feedback, I should hope it would make some difference in the final report. That’s the point of review.
In the most recent document with the punny title “Digging for Answers” the name Rod Campbell has been added. That’s prudent as I had pointed out that the “Director of Research” seems to be absent from all the research. According to him, he’s modest. I strongly suspect he literally had next to nothing to do with it.
It’s not that targeting an organisation is a goal of mine, however TAI is clearly seeking to create as much noise as possible on the back of shoddy work with no quality control in an issue of state, national and global importance in which they have no specific expertise. That matters.
In the most recent document, The Australia Institute finds themselves needing to address the work of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. Much of the issues raised are identical to those they brought up pre-emptively against the Edwards proposal. In other words, much of the Edwards proposal was substantially reinforced by the work of the Royal Commission and in several respects (larger facility, higher prices available) a raise on the assumptions we used.
I have been asked to take a look over it . Here is “Digging for Answers” with my sticky notes attached. Feel free to share this resource. The lack of criticism in much of the media shows it has become far too easy for “think tanks” to play a role in the public discourse without needing to work as hard as anyone else.
Download and save from this link to read the notes TAI Sticky notes