Australian news, and some related international items

Queensland government rejects any nuclear waste dump plan

Queensland--antinukeQueensland says ‘no’ to national radioactive dump plan February 3, 2016 senior reporter The Palaszczuk government has ruled out supporting any plan to build a national radioactive waste storage facility anywhere in Queensland.

That includes Oman Ama, the small town on the Cunningham Highway between Inglewood and Warwick, where a private landowner had put forward his property as a potential radioactive waste site.

Information from the Australian government project confirms intermediate-level radioactive waste would be “temporarily” stored at the chosen facility for many years, while the majority of radioactive waste would be low-level.

The International Atomic Energy Agency says intermediate-level radioactive waste “contains higher radioactivity levels than low level waste. It requires shielding when handled. Intermediate level waste – generated during operation of a nuclear power plant – consists mostly of ion exchange resins used to clean the water circulating through the reactor.”

Queensland has now written to the Australian government and asked that all potential Queensland radioactive waste storage sites be removed from the Australian government’s shortlist of six potential sites.

This was revealed in a letter on January 25, 2016, written on behalf of State Development Minister Anthony Lynham, to one of the opponents of the proposed radioactive waste dump.

Private land holder Gordon Donovan – who owns land at Oman Oma, suggested his property as a radioactive dump. The federal government has offered $10 million for the community which is eventually chosen to accept the waste.

The January 25 2016 letter, from Dr Lynham’s policy advisor, says the Queensland government will not support “in any circumstances” a radioactive waste storage facility in Queensland.

I wish to advise that the Queensland government does not support, in any circumstances, anywhere in Queensland being utilised for radioactive waste storage,” the letter says.

“Minister Lynham has specifically written to the Honourable Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, asking that he remove Queensland sites from the Australian government’s shortlist for the storage of radioactive waste.”

The decision was welcomed by Bob Morrish, from the lobby group Friends of Oman Ama which is effectively southern Darling Downs grazing land with a single service station.

“It is very heartening to us to see that the state government will back their legislation dating back to 2007; that’s their Prohibition of Nuclear Facilities Act,” Mr Morrish said……..

February 5, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics, Queensland, wastes | Leave a comment

Community opposition stops nuclear waste dump: U-turn by MP John Cobb on nuclear policy

Protest-No!Hill End nuclear waste dump ruled out due to community opposition, ABC News 29 Jan 16 By Nick Dole

A nuclear waste facility will not be built at Hill End in central-west New South Wales because community opposition to the proposal is so strong, the Federal Government has said.

The site at Hill End, north of Bathurst, was one of six being considered for a nuclear waste facility.
It was offered up by a local landowner, who could be paid four times the land’s market value.

At a packed public meeting on Saturday, dozens of residents spoke against the concept, telling representatives from the Federal Government that Hill End was a “totally inappropriate” location.

Many residents expressed concerns about potential water contamination or the risk of transporting radioactive material.  Local resident Kerri Burns said Hill End should be removed from the selection process immediately.
“We’ve been polite, but if this goes further, the gloves are off,” she said.

The audience was told Hill End would remain on the shortlist for now, due to a legislated consultation process.

But the Member for Calare, John Cobb, said he had already communicated the community’s view to Minister Josh Frydenberg.

“I said, ‘We are not going to be building this at Hill End’ and he looked at me and I said ‘The community is against it and they are not going to change their mind’,” Mr Cobb said……..

January 31, 2016 Posted by | New South Wales, opposition to nuclear, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Anti nuclear atomic physicist is South Australia’s Senior Citizen of The Year

Oliphant, Monica copyAustralia Day: Scientist Monica Oliphant powers on to realise renewable energy vision, ABC News, By Nicola Gage  25 Jan 16,  Age seems to be no barrier for pioneering scientist and South Australia’s Senior Citizen of the Year Monica Oliphant. After more than half a century dedicating her life to the renewable energy sector, she has hardly slowed down, at a time when clean energy has become very much mainstream.

“There’s no limit almost to what they can be used for,” she said. “Power generation, charging electric vehicles, charging up your mobile phone, lots of applications.”

But when the passionate physicist began working in the sector, all of those applications were just a thought bubble.

So too were women in science. In the early 60s, Ms Oliphant was the only female in her class to complete her honours in physics. That is where she met her husband Michael, the son of Australia’s pre-eminent scientist and former South Australian governor, Sir Mark Oliphant. She said her father-in-law pushed her to continue with her work.

“I was in awe of him but he did inspire me to always say your mind and to not be frightened of saying what you think,” she said.  It was advice she held on to throughout her 18 years at South Australia’s Electricity Trust, when renewables were viewed with suspicion…….

Renewable energy vision becomes mainstream

Slowly, she worked her way out of the corner, with her research helping to prove the worth of solar panels, as the sector became more financially viable.

“I would think that the big break was the German-introduced feed-in tariff,” Ms Oliphant said.

“South Australia was the first to pick up in Australia and that has helped reduce costs and it has taken off since then…….

Last year she travelled overseas to help with a renewable energy project in China.

Ms Oliphant considers herself a tree-hugger and despite beginning her career in atomic energy, she said there was no need for South Australia to invest in nuclear energy.

A royal commission is currently underway into the state’s nuclear fuel cycle.

“For South Australia, with 41 per cent of intermittent renewables on our energy mix, we just don’t need nuclear energy,” Ms Oliphant said.

She said from the beginning, she was confident renewable energy would one day move from the fringe, to the mainstream. “I was sure that it would eventually, not sure why, but I was sure and I wanted to be with it all the way,” she said….

January 28, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Australia | 2 Comments

Campaign against Oman Ama nuclear dump site is gaining momentum

Protest-No!Group steps up campaign against Oman Ama nuclear dump  21st Jan 2016 THE Friends of Oman Ama are continuing to grow their grassroots campaign against the nuclear waste facility proposed for their community.

From hitting the streets of Inglewood to reaching thousands of people online, the group is doing what it can to get its message across. Placards, banners and signs have been displayed across the area, while leaflets have been distributed to every home in Inglewood. The group’s information street stall in Inglewood is also gathering momentum.

Information street stall group members Vanessa Grady and Rechelle Privitera said they believed the overwhelming mood on the street was people did not want the nuclear waste facility. While some were hesitant about signing the petition, street stall members claimed people were happy to sign once they read the information available.

So far the Friends of Oman Ama’s petition has gathered several hundred signatures. The group is encouraging people to have their say on the issue as the consultation continues.

Resident Sue Campbell said the proposal had challenged the community. “I feel we need to come together as a community and determine our own future,” she said. “We need to decide what we want this community to look like in 10, 20 or 30 years time.”

Community consultation on the issue ends on Friday, March 11, at 5pm.

To have your say visit

People directly involved in the Oman Ama proposal will be given an opportunity to take a tour of the proposed property tomorrow afternoon.

January 22, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Queensland | 1 Comment

Queensland’s Oman Ama residents reject nuclear waste dump

Queensland--antinukeOman Ama residents reject proposal for nuclear waste disposal site  January 4, 2016 – Drew Creighton A group of residents of the tiny Darling Downs hamlet of Oman Ama has banded together in a bid to prevent Australia’s first permanent nuclear waste disposal facility from being built near their town.

Oman Ama was one of six sites shortlisted by the Federal Government and announced in November as a possible location for the facility.

The group has written to federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg ’emphatically’ rejecting the proposed nuclear waste dump.

The proposed site is roughly 90 kilometres from Warwick on Bennets Gully.

Friends of Oman Ama member and local doctor Dr Colin Owen said in a statement he was not convinced the proposal was risk free.”Mishaps have occurred in such facilities around the world, including at Lucas Heights in Sydney,” Dr Owen said.

The facility he referred to is the Lucas Heights reactor that produces nuclear medicine. Dr Owen is convinced there have been mishaps in the past 10 years at the reactor.

In 2010 a whistleblower alleged there had been a series of safety breaches at Lucas Heights.

Dr Owen said the proposed site was just a few kilometres north of Murray-Darling tributaries such as the Condamine. “The big concern is that if it leaks into there, the whole murray darling water way will be compromised,” he said.

Safety is not the only concern the residents have. Mental health nurse Susan Campbell had a list of worries including devaluation of land, risk to tourism initiatives and anxiety levels in locals.

Not all locals are against the proposal and one resident has offered their property as a potential site for the facility.

Another medical practitioner from Oman Ama, Dr Bob Morrish, is concerned with what has been called ‘obfuscation’ by the government. “The Government people have not been clear about the difference between storage and disposal, particularly in relation to the so called ‘interim’ storage of intermediate level radioactive waste,” Dr Morrish said. “They have refused to define ‘interim’ but suggested it could be as long as 30 years.”

The group is also pressuring the landholder to withdraw his application for the proposed site of the nuclear facility.

The other five sites on the shortlist are Sallys Flat in NSW, Hale in the Northern Territory and Cortlinye, Pinkawillinie and Barndioota in South Australia.

The government’s consultation process is expected to take until March, with a final shortlist of three sites announced later this year. A final determination of the site will not be announced until after this year’s federal election.

January 4, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Queensland, wastes | Leave a comment

Lithgow concerned about transport of radioactive trash

radiation-truckCalls for clarity over nuclear waste transportation plans
The Federal Government is being urged to provide more details about the planned route for a proposed nuclear waste dump in the central west. 
The government is considering housing the waste at Sallys Flat near Bathurst and federal MP John Cobb has said regional roads would be upgraded to support heavy vehicle movements.

But Lithgow City Councillor Wayne McAndrew says it is highly likely the material will be transported through Lithgow to get to the site.

He said residents had raised concerns about the potential health impacts if a truck was involved in an accident.

“It’s not just a matter of the roads, it’s the icy conditions during winter coming down the Mount Victoria pass,” Councillor McAndrew said.

“That’s still a long way off from being resolved, the Victoria pass in relation to new roadworks, so it’s not just an issue of the roads it’s an issue of our long winter months and some of the dangers that poses for us.”

Sallys Flat near Hill End is one of the six sites shortlisted by the Federal Government.

Councillor McAndrew says there is little information about the planned route for transporting the waste.

December 16, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, opposition to nuclear, safety | Leave a comment

Store nuclear waste at Lucas Heights -no need to rush to outback site

text-wise-owlAlice Springs public meeting told Feds must stop rushing decision on new nuke dump sites    December 10, 2015 SCIENTISTS, traditional owners, politicians and campaigners spoke to a crowd of almost 100 people at a meeting about a proposed nuclear waste dump to be housed at Hale, 80km from Alice Springs, on Monday night.

Dr Hilary Tyler, from Alice Springs Hospital, used the platform to urge decision-makers to “stop the rush” towards cementing plans for a waste facility, which is currently being chosen from six short-listed sites across the country.

She claimed there was 10-20 years of storage space remaining at the Lucas Heights facility near Sydney, Australia’s only nuclear reactor, rendering the need for a rural site as unnecessary.

radiation-truckShe showed the crowd photographs of large barrels being transported by road, carrying a cargo of nuclear waste reportedly brought to Australia by ship at the weekend.

“Transportation should be minimised,” she said.

The site at Hale, the Aridgold date farm, was an unsuitable location for such a dump, she claimed, due to the distance the waste would need to travel, the lack of access for experts in case of any problems, and proximity to underground water aquifers. CSIRO scientist Dr Fiona Walsh said she believed the decisions were being made by people in distant locations with no understanding of the geology of Central Australia.

“We live in one of the most unpredictable environments in the world,” Dr Walsh said.

Labor candidate for Namatjira and councillor Chansey Paech also spoke at the event, and said the decision should be “based on science rather than political expediency”.

A consultation process into the viability of the waste dump is currently underway, with meetings between officials and Aboriginal traditional owners in Santa Teresa to take place next week.

Due to sorry business in Titjikala, the other nearest community to the proposed site, a meeting with traditional owners from this area will take place early next year.

A decision on where the dump will be housed is expected to be made following the federal election in the second half of 2016.

December 16, 2015 Posted by | Northern Territory, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Bathurst – oldest inland city – No to ‘newest nuclear waste dump’ !

Protest-No!Bathurst business group concerned about nuclear dump proposal By Gavin Coote A Bathurst business group says it is unconvinced of the economic benefits being touted for a shortlisted nuclear waste site in the district.

Dozens of people packed a hall in Hill End yesterday to hear about the Federal Government’s proposal to store the material at nearby Sallys Flat.

The Bathurst Business Chamber says the $10 million sweetener on offer to the selected community would not offset the potential economic losses.

The president Stacey Whittaker said there could be ramifications for the local tourism and agriculture sectors if the proposal went ahead. “I don’t think it’s bringing anything positive to the region,” Ms Whittaker said. “We’ve got a lot of small businesses by way of farming out in the that area which I think are certainly more important and have put more back into the community and the area than a nuclear waste dump will ever do.”

Sallys Flat is one of six sites shortlisted for the facility, and government officials have told the forum it would not pose a safety threat.

Ms Whittaker said the stigma surrounding nuclear waste could draw unnecessary negativity to the area. “Certainly from the local business side of things in town itself of Bathurst, people are a bit concerned.

“You know Bathurst, oldest inland city in Australia and first nuclear waste dump. “That’s not a real good title, is it?”

November 30, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

3 South Australian sites picked for nuclear trash toilet, but locals resist

The indigenous group Adnyamathanha Camp Law Mob says while the property is governed by a perpetual lease, meaning no native title claim can be lodged over the area, Aboriginal heritage legislation does apply.

“We demand that the Federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg publicly declare who he has consulted regarding these nominations, and who has the authority to nominate these si­tes,” spokeswoman Jillian Marsh said in a statement.

Cortlinye and Pinkawillinie KIMBA is known as “the Gateway to the Gawler Ranges”. But some residents fear the township would become known as “the Gateway to the National Nuclear Waste Facility” should it be selected as the future site to store radioactive waste. Local farmers Toni Scott, Sue Woolford, Helen Harris and their families have vowed to fight any move to build the facility in their district.

“They’re saying this is a voluntary process but how is this voluntary?,” Mrs Scott said.

“We’re not volunteering, we don’t want any money and we don’t want to live next to it.’’

The group vowed to be vocal during the Federal Government’s consultation in Kimba next week

Nuclear waste repository in SA: What do the locals think? The Advertiser, 22 Nov 2015 BRYAN LITTLELY, PAUL STARICK and MEAGAN DILLON   PICKING a site for a nuclear dump is as contentious a decision as you will find. Whichever of the six Australia-wide candidates that is chosen to be the nation’s nuclear repository will acquire a degree of notoriety.

South Australia nuclear toilet

South Australia is home to three potential dump locations. Continue reading

November 22, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, opposition to nuclear, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Queensland govt joins community in ‘major concerns’ over nuclear waste facility at Oman-ama

Queensland-nuclear-freeQueensland Government says it has ‘major concerns’ over nuclear wasteradioactive trash facility at Oman-ama RENEE VIELLARIS FEDERAL POLITICS THE COURIER-MAIL NOVEMBER 20, 2015

THE State Government could team up with a local com­munity to stop a proposed nuclear dump. A landholder at Oman Ama, 250km southwest of Brisbane, is competing against five other locations across Australia to become the nation’s first ­nuclear dump site.

The news shocked local residents throughout the Darling Downs, with some fearing terrorists attacks and worried for their long-term health.

The Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Science sent repre­sentatives to meet with resi­dents at Inglewood this week.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the State Government was given limited information about the Turnbull Government’s recent announcement about its preferred sites.

“Queensland currently prohibits the construction of a facility to hold nuclear waste, under the Nuclear Facilities Prohibition Act. The Government has no plans to alter the legislation,” Mr Bailey told The Courier-Mail yesterday.

“The Queensland Government has major concerns that a nuclear waste dump could be located so close to a community.”…….

November 20, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Inglewood residents tell govt – “No nuclear waste dump here”

text-NoResidents tell officials they don’t want nuclear waste, ABC Radio PM Annie Guest reported this story on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 DAVID MARK: Residents of the southern Queensland town of Inglewood have told Government officials they don’t want Australia’s first permanent nuclear waste facility in their community.
About 150 people attended a community meeting in the town today. They met with officials who are overseeing the selection of one of six sites for the waste dump.

Most residents say they were worried about safety risks and property values declining, but one woman said the waste from the nuclear medicine that saved her husband’s life must be stored somewhere.

Annie Guest reports from Inglewood…….

November 19, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Queensland | Leave a comment

Public meeting in Oman Ama vents opposition to nuclear waste site proposal

radioactive trashSouthern Queensland community Oman Ama vents fears over potential nuclear waste site, ABC News, 18 Nov 15  Residents of a Queensland southern border community earmarked for a nuclear waste dump have gathered for a public meeting to voice concerns about the proposal.

Oman Ama, near Inglewood, is one of six sites shortlisted to host the country’s first permanent nuclear waste dump.

It comes with a $10 million sweetener but that is not enough to convince many local residents of the small rural community……The Federal Government wants one site in Australia and is due to make a decision by the end of 2016, with the site operating by 2018, or 2020 at the latest.

Government experts are trying to allay their fears with claims the dump will not be built anywhere if there is an environmental risk.

Oman Ama locals mainly asked about the risk if the waste escapes, how long it took to break down, what happens in a flood and how can they be sure it is safe.

Some yelled out their opposition, which drew claps from the audience.

Gavan Lahey said he was concerned the local catchment would be polluted……..

November 18, 2015 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, opposition to nuclear, Queensland | 1 Comment

Bathurst residents rally to protect Sallys Flat from nuclear waste

protestResidents rally to protect Sallys Flat from nuclear waste Residents in a Bathurst district village are rallying to fight Federal Government plans to store nuclear waste on a local property. Dozens of people have attended a public meeting at Hill End yesterday to discuss the proposal to house the material at nearby Sallys Flat.

Local resident Ross Brown says more than two-thirds of the community attended and all were opposed to the waste being dumped in the area. He said they were getting advice from environmental groups and federal MPs on how to stop Sallys Flat being selected by the government.

“It’s not a place where we want it to be, at Hill End or Sallys Flat,” Mr Brown said.”We want to know how best to object to it being at Sallys Flat or Hill End.

“Most people see that if the facility is here it will devalue their land. “They’re not really happy with the process of how it was selected.”

A committee is being set up as part of the community’s efforts to stop Sallys Flat being chosen.Mr Brown said locals would do everything they could to protect the area. “They’ve all offered methods in counteracting this proposal and show that the local community are (sic) entirely against it.”

November 18, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Central West New South Wales wants consultation on nuclear waste dump plans

radioactive trashCalls for central west to consulted over nuclear waste plans A Bathurst environment group says a number of central west communities could be put at risk from plans to store nuclear waste in a local village.

The Federal Government has shortlisted six sites including Sallys Flat near Hill End, to house the material that is used in medical procedures and is currently stored at Lucas Heights in Sydney and in hospitals.

The Bathurst Climate Action Network says the impact of the local community and capacity of the road network need to be carefully considered before any decision is made.The president Tracey Carpenter said there were several questions that needed to be answered.

“Apart from the residents, Hill End being a national park, and the thriving community and a tourism attraction and the stigma that would come from being a nuclear waste dump, it needs to transported along our roads, through our centres,” Ms Carpenter said.

“That’s putting all our communities at risk.”

Bev Smiles from the Mudgee District Environment Group said it was not just people around Sallys Flat and the Bathurst district who would be concerned.

“Road accidents with nuclear waste are a highly relevant concern for people and the idea of having nuclear waste buried in your backyard, is something that I think people in a large area of the central west would not be comfortable with,” Ms Smiles said.

Ms Carpenter said it remained to be seen whether the local state MP Paul Toole supported his federal counterparts.“Politically it’s a really interesting issue because the local member Paul Toole opposed wind farms in our region on the grounds that it was divisive to the community,” she said.

“This would certainly be the ultimate division for a community.”

The ABC has contacted Mr Toole for a response.

November 16, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Danger in transporting radioactive trash to Queensland

radiation-truckGoondiwindi mayor raises issues over transport of nuclear waste to Queensland, ABC News 13 Nov 15  The Mayor of a southern Queensland region shortlisted to store nuclear waste is concerned about how it will be transported, but is keeping an open mind to the proposal.

Oman Ama, 250 kilometres southwest of Brisbane,is one of six sites earmarked by the Federal Government, including three in South Australia, one in New South Wales and one in the Northern Territory. Goondiwindi Mayor Graeme Scheu said he did not want to jump to conclusions.

“The main question around it would be transportation, where it goes, so, so many questions that we don’t even have an answer for and the facts,” he said……..

The Federal Government is offering sweeteners to the community that agrees to house nuclear waste…..

Transporting waste to Queensland ‘total lunacy’

National secretary of the Australian local government nuclear free zones secretariat, Ipswich councillor Paul Tully, said “total lunacy” had overtaken the Federal Government.

Mr Tully said the federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg will put major cities across southeast Queensland under threat with hundreds of trucks a year carrying nuclear waste across the region.”They will be transporting nuclear waste from the Lucas Heights reactor west of Sydney and other parts of Australia to Queensland,” he said.

“We don’t want Queensland to become the dumping ground for dangerous waste from NSW.”

He said similar plans in 1989 for a radioactive waste dump at Redbank in Ipswich had been thwarted after major environmental concerns were raised.

Kirsten Macey from the Queensland Conservation Council said regional communities should not be used as the scapegoat for a “dirty” nuclear industry. She wants the waste left in Sydney.

“We believe that where the regulator is – where they have the capacity to store it and monitor it, that’s where the nuclear waste should be stored,” she said. “That’s at Lucas Heights where the nuclear waste is being generated.”

November 13, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Queensland, safety, wastes | Leave a comment


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