Australian news, and some related international items

Hosting nuclear waste – a liability in the long run, and a dangerous one

radioactive trashWasting Australia’s future, Green Left , November 20, 2015 By Jim Green“………Profits from nuclear waste?

It is no secret that the driving force behind the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission is the idea that the state could make billions from storing or disposing of high-level nuclear waste from power reactors around the world.

Accepting nuclear waste might be profitable. Or it might not. Most likely, it would be profitable in the short-term and a liability in the long-term.

Proponents are talking up the billions that might be made by making Australia the world’s nuclear waste dump, but they have said little about costs. Since the volume of waste would presumably be large, the cost of a deep underground repository for high-level nuclear waste would likely be in the tens of billions of dollars. Plans for a high-level waste repository in Japan may be comparable: the estimated cost is ¥3500 billion (A$40.8 billion).

The US wasted $10 billion on the plan for a deep geological repository for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada before abandoning the project. In 2008 the US Department of Energy estimated that the cost of construction and operation of Yucca Mountain over a 150 year period would be US$96 billion (A$135 billion).

The waste would need to be monitored and problems addressed for millennia: it takes about 300,000 years for the radioactivity of spent nuclear fuel to fall to that of the original uranium ore. The annual cost of monitoring waste might be modest; the costs over millennia would be anything but.

Explosion in deep underground repository

The idea that nuclear waste can be safely disposed of in a deep underground repository has been shot to pieces by an explosion in the world’s only deep underground repository for nuclear waste: the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in the US state of New Mexico. Continue reading

November 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment

Civil Contractors Federation SA want to save town Leigh Creek by hosting nuclear dump

radioactive trashCall to store nuclear waste at Leigh Creek   A nuclear waste dump should be built at Leigh Creek in the South Australian outback before it becomes a ghost town, the state’s peak civil construction body says.

The federal government has short-listed six sites – two on the Eyre Peninsula and another in SA’s mid-north – for Australia’s first permanent nuclear waste dump for low-level and intermediate domestic waste.

The Civil Contractors Federation SA says putting a nuclear waste dump near Leigh Creek would be a “no brainer” and guarantee its survival after Alinta Energy last week shut down the town’s coal mine, shedding about 200 workers.

Chief executive Phil Sutherland says the facility could also be used to store and convert other industrial waste into energy and fuel.

The proposal bypasses the commonwealth in favour of the state government, which is holding a Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

“All the SA government needs to do is simply show some mettle and bite the bullet to give Leigh Creek a purpose before the township transitions into a ghost town,” Mr Sutherland said.

November 25, 2015 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

ANSTO, Geoscience, Dept of Science to visit Kimba, South Australian site on shortlist for nuclear trash dump

Bribery 1Nuclear delegations to visit Kimba after release of toxic dump short list, ABC News 23 Nov 15   Two separate delegations are to visit Kimba on SA’s Eyre Peninsula, the tiny town shortlisted by the Federal Government to be the site of a nuclear waste dump.

Earlier this month the Government released a shortlist of six sites nominated to store low and intermediate level nuclear waste…….One delegation, including Geoscience Australia, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, and the Department of Science, will visit councillors and landowners who have nominated their properties.

Greens MP Mark Parnell will also tour the community which has been divided by the issue.

He said there was no need for a new dump because waste could be stored at existing sites.

“When it comes to nuclear waste we have a responsibility to manage it properly, and safely,” Mr Parnell said.

“The waste has been stored at Lucas Heights for many years and can be safely continue to be stored there. There’s waste that’s in hospital basements that’s got people worried, but they’re still going to have to operate.”

He said local residents had good reason to be alarmed, especially in light of an accident last year at a New Mexico waste facility.

“The operators put organic kitty litter into the drums of nuclear waste rather than inorganic kitty litter. As a result, the chemical reaction burst the drum open and radiation spread throughout the facility,” he said.

“There were 22 workers who were contaminated, and the facility is likely to be closed for four years.”

November 22, 2015 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | 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

Calare MP John Cobb blames local media for ‘sensationalism’ about nuclear waste dumping

radioactive trashMember for Calare John Cobb’s words to offer hope for Sallys Flat, Western Advocate, 22 Nov 15   Calare MP John Cobb has guaranteed no nuclear waste dump would be built in Sallys Flat if local residents remain “generally opposed” to it.

More than 100 residents turned out at a  community meeting last Tuesday to voice their anger about Sallys Flat being shortlisted as one of six sites to potentially host the new permanent waste dump.

Mr Cobb also came under fire at that meeting for saying he was not concerned about the prospect of a nuclear waste dump being established at Sallys Flat and claiming the waste that would be dumped in the region was so benign “you could sleep on it”.

But in a written statement issued on Friday, Mr Cobb blamed the local media for “sensationalising” the issue and failing to tell the people of Sallys Flat there would be no nuclear waste dump in their backyard without their support…….

November 22, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Ipswich, Queensland, at risk from nuclear waste,

Queensland-nuclear-freeIpswich at risk from nuclear waste, Queensland Times  | 20th Nov radiation-truck2015 THE FIGHT is well and truly on to stop hundreds of trucks a year loaded with radioactive nuclear waste from moving through Ipswich towards a national repository near Inglewood.

A site at Oman Ama is one of six slated by the Federal Government to store nuclear waste which has been slammed as “an environmental disaster waiting to happen” by Cr Paul Tully, who is also the national secretary of the Australian Nuclear Free Zones Secretariat.

Cr Tully said the federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg was “putting major cities across southeast Queensland under threat with hundreds of trucks a year carrying dangerous radioactive waste across the region”.

Cr Tully, who called the plan “total lunacy”, said Ipswich did not want such dangerous material transiting through the city.

“It will be a national repository which means that radioactive waste from North Queensland as well as southern states of Australia will come into south Queensland,” he said.

“Anything coming up the Pacific Highway will go through Brisbane, Ipswich and Toowoomba and anything coming from North Queensland would as well.

“So it does hold concerns that hundreds of trucks a year could be coming through our area.”A lot of it would come up through central NSW of course if they do select this site, which is one of six in Australia that has been nominated for further investigation.

“But if a truck, semi-trailer or B-double laden with this material had an accident and caught fire or rolled into a creek or river bed, then that is an issue. Brisbane, Ipswich and Toowoomba residents will be concerned at this act of madness by the federal government.” Continue reading

November 20, 2015 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, Queensland, safety, wastes | Leave a comment

National Party MP John Cobb happy to host radioactive trash – Merino farmers ARE NOT!

exultantOn Friday, Member for Calare John Cobb said he was very relaxed about the Radiation-Warning1proposal to consider Sallys Flat for the dump.

He said he felt the waste was so non-threatening that a person could put it in a bag and sleep on it without feeling any ill-effects.

Merino farmers at Sallys Flat fear nuclear dump next door, Western Advocate, 17 Nov 15  PRIME wool producers around Sallys Flat fear the potential establishment of a nuclear waste dump on a neighbouring property could put their livelihoods at risk.

Geoff and Robyn Rayner produce some of the best superfine fleece in the world at their Pomanara Merino Stud, close to a neighbouring property which has been shortlisted for a permanent radioactive waste dump.

The Rayners’ home is the closest residence to the site ……The Sallys Flat site has been offered to the Federal Government for use by the landowner.

The Rayners have just signed up to become a sustainable operation and said they had to meet stringent criteria. Now, with the prospect of nuclear waste on their doorstep, all that has been put at risk.  “The stigma sticks,” Mr Rayner said. Three generations of the family have made their living from the land. Now they wonder if they will have a future. Continue reading

November 19, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, Opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Australia’s really big radioactive waste dump is at Roxby Downs

Dennis Matthews, 19 Nov 15, In the 1980’s we were repeatedly told not to worry about uranium mining at Roxby, that Roxby was a copper mine and that uranium was incidental. Now we are being told that Roxby has the world’s largest deposit of uranium.

Despite strong public opposition, mining at Roxby got the nod from politicians. Soon radioactive water started leaking through the un-sealed base of the tailings dam, and now BHP is building an ever-expanding man-made stockpile of radioactive waste.


Paul Starick (The Advertiser, 13/11/15) downplays the fact that we have a nuclear reactor, stating that Australia has no nuclear power reactor, a distinction that has little to do with the issue. Using the “nuclear medicine” mantra, Starick downplays the main role of a nuclear waste dump, namely to deal with highly radioactive waste from Australia’s nuclear reactor, which will open the door to international waste.

The small amounts of relatively benign low-level waste being safely stored in institutions around Australia is trivial compared to BHP’s massive stockpiles of waste at Roxby and Australia’s nuclear reactor waste.


November 19, 2015 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

What are the radioactive risk of nuclear waste dump to a farming community?

Jim Green Friends of the Earth, 18 Nov 15  Responding to these  questions: “So what are irradiation cans, ion exchange resins and aluminium ends of fuel rods and what dangers do they present to those living in a farming community? Is anyone able to inform me or direct me to where I can find such information please?”


They are harmless metals (irradiation cans + aluminium ends of fuel rods) and resins/polymers … but hazardous because of contamination with radioactive substances. For the contaminated metals they are likely contaminated with long-lived alpha-emitting radionuclides and would likely be classified as long-lived intermediate-level waste (LLILW) and would therefore be sitting in an above-ground shed at Kimba for an ‘interim’ period likely to last for many decades since absolutely no effort is being made to find a disposal site for LLILW (it is destined for deep underground disposal).


The risks …. pretty much anything you can imagine has happened at one or another radioactive waste repository around the world: fires, leaks, water infiltration and corrosion of waste drums, a chemical explosion, etc.

bushfire & rad gif

Fire would be a particular concern at Kimba, all the more so since the most hazardous waste (LLILW) would be stored above ground. Articles about recent fires at U.S. repositories are posted at:


Water infiltration and corrosion is a difficult dilemma. Continue reading

November 18, 2015 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australia’s radioactive threat: it’s not “medical” waste – it’s nuclear waste from used fuel rods

Freydenberg said the facility would ‘only’ house low and intermediate level waste. Perhaps he is unaware of the toxicity of this LLILW. Dr Green again: ‘When the spent fuel is removed from the reactor, it is high-level nuclear waste. After some months it cools down and falls below the heat criterion so is reclassified as LLILW.’

The farmer opponents of the Kimba sites are right to be concerned. The spent fuel reprocessing waste will be hazardous for thousands of years.

South-Australia-nuclearSouth Australia’s nuclear threat continues Michele Madigan |  17 November 2015

Last Friday 13 November, the federal government released the shortlisted sites of the proposed national radioactive waste facility. No surprise that three are in South Australia, the ‘expendable state‘: Cortlinye and Pinkawillinie near Kimba on Eyre Peninsula, and Barndioota near Hawker, north of Port Augusta.

I wonder if South Australians aren’t beginning to feel like nuclear particles themselves, bombarded on all sides by the nuclear industry. This announcement from the federal government about its nuclear repository plans comes as the state government continues to consider, through its Royal Commission, whether, when and where South Australia will offer to host the world’s high-level nuclear waste.

The six names on the federal government shortlist (the remaining three being Sallys Flat in NSW, Hale in the Northern Territory and Oman Ama in Queensland) are taken from an original list of 28 properties that were offered by their landowners. It’s disturbing to find that the owner of the Cortilinye site, at least, has been misinformed,believing ‘It’s basically only a medical waste facility.’

In reality, only 10–20 per cent of the radioactive waste is medical in origin. And nuclear medicine is in no way affected by the lack of a national repository.

Resources and energy minister Josh Freydenberg’s Friday announcement included a masterly sentence of understatement: ‘Low level waste is those gloves or those goggles or the paper or the plastic that comes into contact with nuclear medicine, and intermediate waste could be, for example, those steel rods that are used in the reactor to actually create these particular products.’

It’s interesting to notice what’s different and what stays the same from the 1998–2004 ‘dump’ campaign in SA. Continue reading

November 18, 2015 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | 1 Comment

Indigenous Adnyamathanha Camp Law Mob shocked at selection of South Australian site for radioactive trash dump

Response from the Adnyamathanha Camp Law Mob regarding the Federal Resources Minister’s announcement of 3 sites nominated for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia.

The Adnyamathanha Camp Law Mob are a group of Adnyamathna people who meet regularly to discuss issues relating to our land and culture.

The Camp Law mob share this message on behalf of all Adnyamathanha people and other South Australians who are opposed to any further expansion of the nuclear industry.  We have taken part in the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, and our views along with many others are clearly stated in our submission that we do not support any expansion of a nuclear industry this includes the imposition of a radioactive waste dump on Adnyamathana country at Barndioota.

We are shocked to hear on Friday 13th November 2015 that one of the 3 nominated sites in South Australia for a national nuclear waste dump is 377 Wallerberdina Road, Barndioota.  We understand that ex-Liberal Senator Grant Chapman is the current owner of the nominated site that is a Perpetual Lease property and therefore no native title claim can be lodged over this area.  It must still be governed according to the requirements of the Aboriginal Heritage legislation.


We demand that the Federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg publicly declare who he has consulted regarding these nomination, and who has the authority to nominate these si­tes.

We want to know who are the experts with local knowledge that took part in the advisory panel prior to these sites being nominated as waste sites?  Who are the Traditional Owners that took part in this process?  What Traditional knowledge from thousands of years of occupation has been incorporated into the decision-making?

Our involvement is this industry is nothing new. We were concerned by the government agreeing to uranium mining activities that have now permanently contaminated our land and our groundwater.   We want no further expansion of the nuclear industry and we will continue to fight for our rights as Traditional Owners in respect of the wisdom of our old people that came before us.

That’s what Traditional Owners do.  We care for our country.  We only wish governments and industries would do the same.  Stop playing with our future and care for our country.

November 16, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Former Liberal Party presidnt and Senator Grant Chapman offers Grant Chapman land for high level nuclear waste dump

greed copyProposed Flinders Ranges nuclear site identified as pastoral property belonging to former Liberal senator Grant Chapman, ABC News,  By Daniel Keane, 16 Nov 15  A former South Australian senator and Liberal Party president who jointly owns one of several proposed sites for a nuclear dump in the state said he would be willing to allow high-level waste to be stored on the property in the future.

Grant Chapman owns the long-term lease to Wallerberdina, a station near Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges about 40 kilometres north-west of Hawker, which is currently used to graze cattle.

It is one of six sites across the nation, including three in SA, being considered by the Federal Government to store low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste.

News of its potential future use has alarmed some neighbours, who are opposed to a nuclear dump and said they had not been consulted.

Mr Chapman said if approved, a proposed nuclear storage facility would eventually occupy 100 hectares in the northern section of the 25,000-hectare property.

He said he nominated the site several months ago…….Mr Chapman was a strong supporter of storing nuclear waste in Australia during his time as a senator, chairing a Senate committee into the subject.

“If it was shown to be safe for that high level waste to be eventually transformed into a form that was safe to store in that situation then certainly the property would be a potential site for that,” he said…..

Neighbour angered and concerned by location

Artist Regina McKenzie, who lives on neighbouring Yappala Station, which shares a boundary with Wallerberdina, said she and her family were angry and frustrated they had not been consulted.

Ms McKenzie said she had heard rumours Wallerberdina was being considered but was shocked when that was confirmed by the Federal Government.

She said Aboriginal people have suffered greatly as a result of the Maralinga nuclear tests and she feared history would repeat itself.

“The water here that we use, the aquifers that are under the earth, what if they get contaminated by some leakages or something?” she said.

“I don’t care how safe they say it is. If it’s so safe, why don’t they take it back and put it in their own back yards. If it’s so safe, have it in Canberra there where all the pollies sit.”

Ms McKenzie said the area was culturally significant to the Adnyamathanha people.

We don’t want [waste] in the area. We didn’t want them to take it out of the ground in the first place, it’s against our culture, and now they’re sending it back to the country,” she said.

“It’s not right. If they take it, they should keep it. It’s poison. We don’t want the poison back.

“I’m a little bit scared about it. My grandchildren are going to come back here and visit as well.

“I just don’t want anything coming back on our communities.”………

November 16, 2015 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Ipswich’s Councillor Paul Tully urges residents to fight nuclear waste dump plan

radioactive trashTully speaks out against planned nuclear waste dump, 16 Nov 15   CR PAUL Tully has urged Ipswich residents and the community as a whole to prevent a nuclear waste storage facility less than three hours drive from the city from going ahead.

He said Ipswich had a proud history of preventing similar dumps going ahead within its city borders in the past. He drew the community’s attention to the issue on his Facebook page.

“The Federal Government has picked a potential site – one of six – near Inglewood 250km southwest of Brisbane to store nuclear waste from Lucas Heights in Sydney’s west and from other states of Australia,” he posted.

“This would mean hundreds of truckloads of hazardous waste coming through Brisbane, Ipswich and radiation-truckToowoomba via cities and towns in NSW every year.

“Say no to Queensland becoming a nuclear waste dumping ground for the rest of Australia.

The Ipswich community stopped a similar dump at Redbank in 1988 proposed by the state government at the time, which was finally scrapped by the new Goss government in 1989.”

November 16, 2015 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, Queensland, wastes | Leave a comment

Strong objections to nuclear waste dump sites

text-cat-questionWhy is it that THE AUSTRALIAN and most media go on about medical wastes, but don’t mention the REAL problem – Lucas Heights nuclear reactor wastes returning from France?

Nuclear waste dump goes against the grain, THE AUSTRALIAN, REBECCA PUDDY ANDREW BURRELL, 14 Nov 15,  Grain farmer Cameron Scott is no green activist, but he promises to fight any move to build the nation’s first nuclear waste dump on his doorstep in South Australia’s wheatbelt.

Mr Scott is a key member of a coalition of neighbours in the town of Kimba, almost 500km northwest of Adelaide, who are strongly opposed to the region hosting a facility to store the nation’s low-level and mediumlevel radioactive waste.

“The first thing that hit me was safety — we’ve got kids, we’ve been here for three generations and we want to look after their future,” Mr Scott said yesterday, as he acknowledged deep tensions in his local community over the issue.

“What will this do for our price of land, who wants to buy land next to a radioactive waste dump and what will happen to the price of our grain?”

Kimba is ground zero in the deeply personal battle over the location of the dump, with two of the six shortlisted sites across Australia — all of which were voluntarily nominated by landholders — located in the district……… Continue reading

November 14, 2015 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, South Australia, wastes | 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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