It is essential that appropriate environmental and human safeguards remain, and that uranium mining and milling remains within the definition of “nuclear actions” for the purposes of the EPBC Act. There is a clear need for federal oversight to ensure clear and consistent implementation of these measures
Medical Assocation for the Prevention of War (MAPW) SUBMISSION ON FEDERAL REGULATION OF URANIUM MINING, by Dr Margaret Beavis April 2013 The uranium mining industry is attempting to remove federal overview of uranium mining. MAPW Vice-President Dr Margaret Beavis has prepared this submission to the Productivity Commission arguing that federal oversight should remain, and noting that as risks to health and the environment become more apparent, radiation regulation is increasing internationally.:
It is concerning that the uranium industry has used the expression “mild radiation” to describe its radiological environmental impacts, when there is no regulatory basis or definition to use this term, potentially giving the impression that the levels of radiation in the uranium mining industry are without risk to the environment. The evidence is clear and unassailable that this is not correct. Furthermore, it is appropriate that uranium mining continue to be considered a ‘nuclear action’ as specified by the EPBC Act as the radioactivity derives specifically from nuclear decay processes. Tailings from uranium mining are radioactive for millennia, resulting in unique environmental considerations for every uranium mine.
The International Commission on Radiological Protection has determined that the dose coefficient for radon gas, one of the sources of radioactivity from uranium mining, needs to be doubled, indicating that it is actually thought to be double the previously estimated carcinogenic hazard.1. ARPANSA is currently in the process of revising dose estimates to workers. It follows that risks to others is doubled and makes it even more essential appropriate mitigation strategies are introduced. It also follows that the environmental risk is also increased. Read more »
Radiation in consumer products:Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency calls for comments
By Judi Anderson - 08 February 2013
so that we can forward a consolidated Australian response to the IAEA by the due date.
Some sources say that the fire broke out as the city sweltered through a heat wave, which has caused dozens of bushfires, but the ANSTO saidthe incident was not related to the current weather conditions.
Fire has broken out at a nuclear research facility in Sydney, but its
operators say the blaze has been brought under
The fire broke out at the Lucas Heights nuclear plant in southern
Sydney on Tuesday (local time)
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO)
raised the alarm at 10.36 a.m. local time (12.36 p.m. NZT) after smoke
was detected in an electrical substation at the rear of the facility,
which contains two nuclear reactors. Read more »
Fire burning at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-08/fire-burning-at-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor/4456538 MAP: Lucas Heights 2234
A fire has broken out in an electrical substation building at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney’s south.
Fire crews are attending the scene.
A Fire Brigade spokesman says smoke has been reported in two rooms.
The fire is believed to have been started by an electrical failure.
Australian governments and uranium companies could help to break the vicious cycle by making uranium exports conditional on adequate safety standards and proper regulation – but they don’t.
Even more troubling is the willingness of successive Australian governments to turn a blind eye to weapons proliferation concerns in North Asia.
How can we trust nuclear, if we can’t trust its operators? http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/how-can-we-trust-nuclear-if-we-cant-trust-its-operators/ by Jim Green 13 DEC Whether it’s nuclear safety or weapons proliferation, the federal government (and the Opposition and the mining companies) can be safely relied upon to exacerbate problems with irresponsible uranium export policies.
Widespread safety breaches and proliferation concerns in North Asia are recent manifestations of the problem. In May, five
engineers were charged with covering up a potentially dangerous power failure at South Korea’s Kori-I reactor which led to a rapid rise in the reactor core temperature. Read more »
Earthquake map shows Tennant Creek hot spot, ABC News Darwin, By Clare Rawlinson, 20 Nov 12, A new earthquake hazards map released by Geoscience Australia has revealed Tennant Creek is among the locations most likely to be affected by an earthquake.The map shows a hot spot under Tennant Creek, along with Moe in Victoria and York and Kirwan in
The Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, says the new information should help communities to plan for the possibility of earthquakes…
.. the information reinforces fears that Muckaty station, around 100km from Tennant Creek, is not a suitable location
for the Federal Government’s proposed nuclear waste site. Seismologists from Geoscience Australia developed the map according to the history of earthquakes in Australia.
They said Australia has experienced 168 earthquakes above magnitude 5.0 since 1950, and last year alone, 82 earthquakes were recorded at a magnitude 3.0 or above.
In 1988, Tennant Creek was struck by a 6.7 magnitude earthquake, causing around $2.5m damage.
…….. the use of nuclear energy by developing countries in the Asia Pacific region — some of which are prone to earthquakes — worries Karamoskos, who also represents the public-health interests on Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Authority committees.
“The problem with nuclear power is it has the potential, when it goes bad, to go bad on a grand scale, as we’ve seen with Fukushima and Chernobyl,” he says. “It’s not good enough to build a nuclear reactor and then have a nuclear regulator that is inexperienced, or compromised, or lacks independence.”
Karamoskos points to an international transparency-and-corruption scale compiled by Transparency International (partially supported by AusAID) as a reasonable indicator of whether countries can take on the complex safety responsibilities of nuclear power. Indonesia doesn’t rate highly on this scale, coming in at 100 of 183 countries on the Corruption Perception Index; Vietnam and Bangladesh are worse, at 112 and 120 respectively. India ranks 95th.
“That’s my first and foremost concern — do these countries have the underlying principles … to foster a robust safety culture?” he asks Read more »
A Homegrown Fukushima, New Matilda, By Jim Green, 23 Aug 2012 Japan’s parliament said the Fukushima disaster was “made in Japan” but inadequate safety practices and regulation proliferate in Australia’s nuclear industry.
Jim Green on the nuclear danger closer to home…… The chair of the Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission , Kiyoshi Kurokawa, states in the foreword to the report that “…this was a disaster ‘Made in Japan.’” But the serious, protracted problems with the nuclear industry’s culture in Japan have parallels in Australia. The uranium industry provides plenty of examples; here the focus is on the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), which operates the Lucas Heights nuclear research reactor site south of Sydney. Read more »
Poor safety record of Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)
Inadequate Safety Practices at Lucas Heights and Inadequate Regulation by ARPANSA, Friends of the Earth 10 Aug 12 Since 2007, a saga has been unfolding regarding contamination accidents at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), ANSTO’s handling of those incidents, ANSTO’s treatment of whistleblowers, the handling of the matter by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), and the independence or otherwise of ARPANSA.
The saga has exposed inadequate safety practices at ANSTO and an inadequate performance by the regulator ARPANSA. The problems would not have been exposed and partially rectified if not for a number of ANSTO whistleblowers.
A few snapshots of this saga are noted below and more details can be found on the Friends of the Earth website:
28 August 2008 − Incident at ANSTO involving a vial of molybdenum-99. An audit found that proper processes were not followed: evacuation of the area did not occur, timely communication and event reporting, thorough investigation and follow-up did not occur. The staff member in question had not completed occupational health and safety induction training or a radiation safety course.
June 2009 − David Reid, an ANSTO employee and staff-elected health and safety officer, was suspended in June 2009 and sacked in June 2011. He repeatedly raised concerns about contamination incidents and some of his concerns were later vindicated. ANSTO states that his suspension and dismissal were unrelated to his statements regarding safety problems at ANSTO.
5 May 2010 − The ABC report states: “ARPANSA is Australia’s nuclear industry watchdog and Lateline has obtained a copy of its report into the accident. It largely supports David Reid’s concerns and raises further questions about safety at Lucas Heights. Read more »
”I am sure that all important targets are included in Russian combat plans,” Colonel Valery Yarynich, a visitor to Australia, said at a rally in Hyde Park on the eve of today’s anniversary of the Hiroshima atom-bombing.
Questioned about the top-secret facilities at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, and WA’s North West Cape communications station, he said: ”Nobody knows, only the high command. It’s secret. Like American plans, too. And targeting can be changed in a matter of minutes.”…….
”I think the world was saved largely due to the fact that missiles of those days were imperfect. They required many hours to prepare to launch. This circumstance helped Kennedy and Krushchev to reach agreement. Today the Russian rocket and the American minuteman demand only a couple of minutes.”
In the 1980s, Soviet strategists became worried the high accuracy of new US missiles might allow a disabling first strike. Colonel Yarynich was involved in setting up the terrifying ”Perimitr” (perimeter) dead-hand system which set off a retaliatory strike automatically from sensor data. It is now disabled. Like many Cold War warriors, the colonel is now involved in efforts to reduce the risk of nuclear war.
He hopes negotiations on nuclear force reductions and de-alerting of remaining forces will pick up between Washington and Moscow after the US election in November and set an example for other nuclear powers. ”We must act,” he said. ”It is necessary and it is possible to remove the finger from the trigger.” http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/australian-bases-still-in-russian-sights–soldier-20120805-23nxr.html#ixzz22nWt1Gdc
a SILEX facility could make it much easier for a rogue state to clandestinely enrich weapons grade uranium to create nuclear bombs
SILEX could become America’s proliferation Fukushima,
Controversial nuclear technology alarms watchdogs http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/intelligent-energy/controversial-nuclear-technology-alarms-watchdogs/18138 By David Worthington | July 30, 2012 A controversial nuclear technology is raising alarms bells among critics who claim it may be better suited for making nuclear weapons than lowering the cost of nuclear power and could lead to a nonproliferation “Fukushima” for the United States.
SILEX (separation of isotopes by laser excitation) is a method for enriching uranium with lasers. It was developed by Australian scientists during the mid 1990’s as a way to reduce the cost of nuclear fuel, because uranium must be processed before it can be used to generate power.
The scientists formed Silex Systems to license the technology for commercialization, and that process is still ongoing. In 2000, the governments of Australia and the United States signed a treaty, giving the U.S. authority to review whether SILEX should be deployed. That’s because there could be a major proliferation problem. SILEX reduces the steps necessary to transform fuel grade uranium into to weapons-grade uranium, and the process doesn’t create telltale chemical or thermal emissions, according to an article published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. R. Scott Kemp, an assistant professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, has the byline. Read more »
Toxic health dumping scandal, SMH, July 8, 2012 Natalie O’Brien The dangerous disposal of hazardous substances including liquid uranium and contaminated objects, the dumping of the confidential records of patients and the mishandling of asbestos have exposed a culture of mismanagement in Sydney hospitals. : http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/toxic-health-dumping-scandal-20120707-21nqp.html#ixzz204LVGURR
Rare earth stockpile radiation levels questioned ABC News, June 20, 2012 An MP is calling on the State Government to make radiation monitoring results public after revelations the Lynas Corporation has been stockpiling rare earth concentrate in Bibra Lake. The Member for Fremantle, Adele Carles, says the Government is yet to confirm whether
monitoring is being conducted.
The Environment Minister Bill Marmion has confirmed the containers have been held at Lynas’ holding yard since March…… Ms Carles says the Government is basically saying the material is perfectly safe. ”I say to them, well, if it’s so safe, then release to us the radiation monitoring so that we can see that for ourselves,” she said.
Ms Carles says monitoring is required under a Radiation Management Plan. ”That requires that if this material is stored anywhere for more than 24 hours, there must be radiation monitoring,” she said. ”I’ve asked to get copies of this monitoring and the Minister has basically denied that information.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-20/questions-over-rare-earth-stockpile/4081280?section=wa
Of greater concern was the transport of nuclear waste from Lucas Heights in NSW to the proposed nuclear dump at
Muckaty Station…. ”we have extreme weather conditions,”
Crash sparks calls for Adelaide to Darwin rail line probe, BY:REBECCA PUDDY AND DAN BOX The Australian June 11, 2012 THE third derailment on the Adelaide to Darwin railway in just 19 months has reignited demands for an inquiry into the integrity of the track amid plans to increase the amount of uranium the line carries through central Australia. Read more »
The Australian, 23 May 12 WEST Australian yellowcake will be carted thousands of kilometres across state borders and shipped out of Adelaide or Darwin in a bold plan that limits political fallout in the west and puts the blowtorch on federal Labor to increase uranium exports.
South Australian company Toro Energy yesterday received approval from the WA Environmental Protection Authority to mine 1200 tonnes of uranium ore from its Wiluna operations, 520km north of Kalgoorlie, and to truck it in 200-litre drums across the Nullarbor. Once it crosses state lines, it will go direct to Adelaide and be shipped out or put on rail to Darwin.
The plan means the yellowcake will not have to be shipped through the port at Fremantle, near Perth, where the local council’s policy declares that “no uranium, nuclear waste nor other material connected with the nuclear power industry may be stored or transported in or through the municipality”.