Australia should shut down Lucas Heights and stop making radioactive trash
Nuclear waste on the move in clean-up http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nuclear-waste-on-the-move-in-cleanup-20130515-2jmu5.html#ixzz2TV9sbj00 May 16, 2013 Heath Aston Radioactive waste and parts of Australia’s oldest nuclear reactor will be trucked out of Sydney under plans to clean up the Lucas Heights nuclear facility and develop a national hazardous-waste dump in the outback.
They believe the dismantling and removal of the 1960s-era ”high-flux Australian reactor” and spent fuel rods is a bid to clear the way for further development at Lucas Heights and the production of more dangerous waste.
The plan to move the retired reactor, switched on by former prime minister Robert Menzies in 1958 and taken out of service in 2007, emerged in the budget papers.
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, which manages Lucas Heights, has been given $28.7 million to prepare for the move. The four-year funding package will pay for ”pre-disposal conditioning of existing radioactive waste in preparation for long-term storage and disposal, and for the clean-up of buildings and infrastructure containing hazardous materials” at Lucas Heights.
Separately, the government has put $35.7 million into securing a site to become the nation’s repository for radioactive material. It will host waste from Lucas Heights and may provide the state government with a destination for contaminated soil from the former uranium smelter site at Hunters Hill.
An area at Muckaty, 800 kilometres south of Darwin, is the government’s preferred site after it struck an agreement with the Northern Land Council. But development of the semi-arid claypan site is bogged down in a legal challenge by some traditional owners. The budget papers do not identify Muckaty specifically, but a spokesman for Resources and Energy Minister Gary Gray said Muckaty, 100 kilometres north of Tennant Creek, remained the only location under consideration.
Within four years a facility that could centralise waste from Lucas Heights, and 100 or so other industrial and medical waste facilities, would be ready for construction. An ANSTO spokesman confirmed the plan to move the reactor and waste. The load will include fuel rods due to arrive in Botany Bay for transportation back to Lucas Heights after they were reprocessed at a nuclear facility in France.
Local resident groups who supported a previous plan to encase the reactor in concrete will meet ANSTO management in Engadine in the next few days.
Sutherland Council doesn’t want Lucas Heights nuclear wastes – “The local community would not support that”
the only sensible thing to do is to shut down the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor. Nuclear medicine is just a sideshow there anyway. All nuclear medicine’s pharmacueticals can be made in other ways, by non nuclera cyclotrons.
Lucas Heights real purpose is to keep a foot in the door for the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia
It comes as a massive expansion of the nuclear medicine operations at Lucas Heights triples the amount of nuclear waste generated.
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation plans to build a state of the art nuclear waste treatment facility – to safely store it – but could end up keeping it there for up to 10 years.
Sutherland mayor Kent Johns said the council’s biggest concern was making sure Lucas Heights did not become the permanent home of nuclear waste storage……..
A spokesman for ANSTO said it supported setting up a long term storage facility for nuclear waste, but not at Lucas Heights……. ”By law ANSTO cannot be used as a national waste repository. The local community would not support that….. ( just like the Muckaty Aboriginal community C.M)
A RESPONSIBLE APPROACH TO RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT, Jim Green, Feb 2011, – 1. Waste minimisation – 2. All options for radioactive waste management should be considered -3. Site selection processes must be fair and transparent.
Nuclear waste dump: where do New NT Chief Minister Giles and Federal Resources Minister Gray, stand?
Greens MP Kate Faehrmann invited, but sidelined at Kemps Creek radioactive waste meeting, while ALP dominated
Despite being invited to address the meeting, NSW Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann was told at the last minute that she would not be seated on the stage and would only get to speak at the start of discussion time.
She raised the proposal of shifting the waste to the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor site, and said that if the federal Labor government wanted to, they could step in now to make this a reality through an amendment to national laws.Despite a number of people in the crowd pressing the speakers to address this idea, all preferred to side step it.
Labor MPs hijack local outrage over uranium dump plan http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/53403, February 22, 2013 By Fred Fuentes Angry residents from Kemps Creek and surrounding neighbourhoods packed the local sports and bowling club auditorium on February 18 to protest against the state government’s plan to dump radioactive waste in the area.
The NSW Liberal government is proposing to shift 5800 tonnes of soil from an area in Hunters Hill, where a uranium ore processing plant once stood, to the Kemps Creek SITA dump site.
Cancer clusters have been detected in Hunters Hill, which have been linked to the contamination left behind at the former plant site.
The amount of community concern against the project was shown by the more than 3000 submissions against the proposal over the past two months.
The meeting was addressed by three federal politicians and a councillor from Penrith, all from the ALP. Read more »
In February of this year, Marathon was paid $5 million in compensation by the State Government over the decision to stop it exploring in the Flinders Ranges.
it is ironic the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is home to a radioactive waste facility.
Radioactive waste being stored in shed in Arkaroola, THE AUSTRALIAN BRYAN LITTLELY with Giuseppe Tauriello From: adelaidenow December 25, 2012 IT’S the nuclear-waste facility that few people know about – 21 barrels of medium- to high-level radioactive material stored in a tin shed in South Australia’s Outback paradise.
The waste is in the heart of Arkaroola, the Outback wilderness sanctuary the State Government hopes will one day be included on the World Heritage list.
The facility, known as Painter Camp, is not registered under the Radiation Protection Act and a management plan for its safe and secure operation is still being developed.
In a revelation likely to outrage environmental groups and anti-nuclear campaigners, responsibility for Painter Camp now lies with the State Government, Read more »
21 November 2012. A new earthquake hazards map produced by Geoscience Australia reveals Tennant Creek – near the proposed site for a nuclear waste dump – is an area of high earthquake risk. Report: http://www.ga.gov.au/earthquakes/
Following revelations that an alternative site for the waste dump was under active consideration, Australian Greens spokesperson for nuclear policy Senator Scott Ludlam noted the Federal Government appeared increasingly desperate on the issue.
“The Government is now scrambling to solve a mess of its own creation, repeating the same errors as before. Parking Australia’s radioactive waste on Muckaty station, far from centres of technical expertise and against the wishes of local people, that’s bad enough. Doing it in an earthquake zone compounds the offence.
“What we need is an independent commission with the technical expertise to find a world’s best standard solution for Australia’s inventory of radioactive waste. What we’re getting is a shed with two security guards, stuck on a site chosen by politicians – which happens to be in an earthquake zone.”
Senator Ludlam today put extensive questions through the Senate to Minister Martin Ferguson on what consultation is underway for selecting an alternative site: http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/content/questions-notice/questions-relating-site-selection-nuclear-waste
Senator Ludlam’s speech yesterday asking why questions asked one month earlier had not been answered: http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/content/speeches-parliament/unanswered-questions-notice-regarding-muckaty-nuclear-waste-dump And answers received today: http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/sites/default/files/sqon2389_answer.pdf
The vast majority of people on the Muckaty Land Trust who are signatories, and their families, remain not only unpersuaded but implacably opposed. Does the government really think that the same factors will not come into play if another site is chosen in the same earthquake zone that has been the site of so much contest and division between family members since this nomination first came to light-a place where several of the same groups of traditional owners have the same interlocking ownership and the same say over country due to overlapping songlines and stories? All of the same problems will follow the dump if the government tries to simply move it 10 or 20 kilometres in one direction or another. It must know that.
Unanswered questions on notice regarding Muckaty nuclear waste dump, http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/content/speeches-parliament/unanswered-questions-notice-regarding-muckaty-nuclear-waste-dump
Senate transcript, 19 Nov 2012 ”…..Senator LUDLAM: I will put some brief remarks on the record as to why I am bringing this forward now… I have sought explanation for these unanswered questions on notice because several of them pertain to time-sensitive matters.
Question No. 2389 included questions about the status of the tender process for the concept design of a national radioactive waste facility. The question also put to the minister whether the department had any dialogue or provided briefings to the new Northern Territory government or its agencies regarding the location of a national radioactive waste facility at Muckaty. Particularly importantly, the question asked: has the department had any dialogue with any stakeholders over the potential for a further site nomination, either within the Muckaty Land Trust area or in any other region of the Northern Territory or elsewhere?
At successive budget estimates hearings I have put precisely that question to officers from DRET: are you looking at an alternative site? We know that the government is in serious trouble with the existing Muckaty nomination that is now five or six years old. We have been warning the government, from the time that it was proposed in the late years of the Howard government to the time that it was taken up by Minister Martin Ferguson of the Rudd and then Gillard governments, that the government has gone the wrong way and that this proposal would fail. I believe what we are seeing now are some signs that the government realises its proposals for the Muckaty radioactive waste dump is going nowhere. Read more »
Lynas has applied to Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) to import radioactive waste
Lynas: People before corporate greed, who will pay the TOL? Concerned Sydney activists in support of Malaysians are gathering at Lynas Corporations head office on Pitt St in Sydney’s CBD at 12:30pm today, to express their dissent over the companies plan to export rare earths to Malaysia for processing.
Lynas Corporation has recently received a two year temporary operations license (TOL) from the Malaysian Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), as of the 5th of September. This is an issue of significance to Australians, as the ore to be processed at the plant will come from Mount Weld rare earths deposit in Western Australia. The Lynas Applied Materials Plant (LAMP) hasn’t even submitted an environmental impact assessment to begin operations of one of the worlds largest rare earth refineriery located on the east coast of Malaysia in the Pahang state at Gebeng, Kuantan.
Tully McIntyre from Friends of the Earth stated “Lynas plans to export 22,000 tonnes of ore annually to Malaysia for processing, which risks polluting important mangrove coastal ecosystem and major sources of livelihoods for local people in Malaysia. There are well over 700,000 people living in a 30 km radius of LAMP.”
“These people were not consulted about the refinery, or a proper environmental impact statement carried out for LAMP.”
The Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia stated last week Lynas had submitted an application to Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) to import waste back to Australia, if so Australians are wondering where it would be stored.
Miss McIntyre went on to say “Australian activists are calling for more stringent research to be carried out in Australia and abroad before proceeding further, Malaysians do not want LAMP and an Australian company should not be forcing the project on an unwilling international community. The campaign against Lynas in Malaysia is the biggest environmental campaign in Malaysian history. Australian activists will remain to show strong support with the Malaysians to stop Lynas exporting this toxic legacy.”
Greens MP Jamie Parker NSW will address the concerned activist at the lunch time protest.
For more information or media comment contact: Tully McIntyre (Friends of the Earth, Melbourne) 0410 388 187 Peter Boyle (Malaysian activist) 0401 760 577
Lynas left holding the baby, Aliran, 14 September 2012 If Lynas Corporation thinks that Western Australia will take its radioactive waste, it can think again, asserts Robin Chapple. Lynas has now submitted an application to the regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), to import radioactive waste from Malaysia,” an Australian High Commission spokesman told The Malaysian Insider today.
This revelation beggars belief as just a few days ago a two-year temporary licence to operate was granted to Lynas, who intend to ship radioactive ores through Fremantle Port to export them to their plant in Malaysia, now seem to be asserting that they should be able to import the wastes of those ores back onto Australian soil.
Malaysia’s nuclear regulator Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) had said that the Australian miner was legally bound to remove radioactive waste from its Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) and return the residue to Australia under conditions of the temporary operating licence.
However, this news flies in the face of Australian government policy, and indeed Western Australian legislation, which asserts that Australia does not accept or import radioactive waste from other countries.
Robin Chapple MLC, Greens spokesperson for Mining Issues, commented on Lynas’ recent move: “It seems that again Lynas thinks it is outside the law as it is operating in Malaysia, and may be subject to less rigorous legal scrutiny. Well, it isn’t, and if it thinks that Western Australia will take this radioactive waste, it can think again.
“It didn’t consult with community on shipping its radioactive ores through Fremantle port, and it certainly hasn’t consulted on shipping back the radioactive waste. The WA Nuclear Waste Storage (Prohibition) Act 1999 prohibits it here. Period!
But really, you have to laugh. Lynas has now been tripped up by its own lack of willingness to take heed of Australia’s expectations with respect to sustainable mining and environmental, social and legal standards, and hasn’t it got it’s come-uppance. Talk about being left holding the baby!… http://aliran.com/10198.html
Fallout spreads from uranium waste dumping plan http://parramatta-advertiser.whereilive.com.au/news/story/fallout-spreads-from-uranium-waste-dumping-plan/ 29 AUG 12 BY ELIAS JAHSHAN AROUND 200 residents attended a rally at Lidcombe’s Remembrance Park last Saturday to protest the NSW government’s plans to transfer radioactive waste from an old Hunters Hill radium smelter to residential areas, including a facility at Lidcombe.
The rally was organised by the Auburn Asian Welfare Centre and Soka Gakkai International Australia, a Buddhist and non-government organisation.
A spokeswoman from SGI Australia said waste products from at least 500 tonnes of uranium ore processed at the former Hunters Hill smelter remained in the soil, and will be sent to the Office of Environment and Heritage-owned facility at Joseph St, Lidcombe.
At the rally, Monash University environmental engineer Gavin Mudd acknowledged that radioactive waste needed to be removed from Hunters Hill, but said the problem was a lack of transparency in the plans to dispose of the contaminated soil.
Dr Mudd believed the best place for that waste was the Australian Nuclear Research and Development Organisation facility at Lucas Heights.
“The best place is not Kemps Creek, and it’s not (Lidcombe),” he added.
Lucas Heights is prohibited by law from accepting anything other than Commonwealth waste. Dr Mudd said the soil from Hunters Hill would be classed as state-owned waste.
“Politicians can change legislation quickly when the will is there,” he said. THE STORY SO FAR
- The state government wants to rehabilitate and sell the land at the Hunters Hill uranium smelter site, which closed in 1915.
- Contaminated soil waste is to be transferred to a Lidcombe facility.
- February: Auburn RSL delivers 1000 signatures for a petition against the plans.
- March: Rally held at Auburn Town Hall.
The first thing that happened subsequent to the Rudd Government taking office after the 2007 election was that radioactive waste management issues were mysteriously taken out of the science portfolio, where they had been right through the period of the Howard government and well before, and given to Martin Ferguson in the resources and industry portfolio. To transfer radioactive waste management from the science portfolio to the resources portfolio was to give it to somebody with absolutely no expertise, no subtlety and no willingness to follow through with the ALP’s election commitment.
THIS LAND IS NOT NOWHERE; THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT NO-ONE, Right Now, By Scott Ludlam , 13 Aug 12, This article is part of our August theme, which focuses on the environment and human rights. Read more articles on this theme.
The government is attempting to force a nuclear waste facility on to Muckaty Station, a cattle station 120 kilometres from Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, in direct violation of the commitments the ALP made in the run-up to the 2007 election. The proposal is strongly contested and the subject of a Federal Court challenge in which Traditional Owners argue they were not consulted by the Northern Land Council. They also argue that the proposed site is not one the Commonwealth can negotiate with one group of Owners given that at least five groups have interconnected and interwoven responsibility there. Matters do not reach the Federal Court on a whim; the Muckaty case goes to the heart of respect for Aboriginal land rights, and whether Australia will violate the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that prohibits storage of disposal of hazardous materials in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent……
[In 2005] the ALP condemned the nuclear dump legislation, with MPs and Senators accurately describing it as extreme, arrogant, heavy-handed, draconian, sorry, sordid, extraordinary and profoundly shameful. The ALP took a very clear and unequivocal position on this issue into the closing months of the 2007 election campaign.
The failure of the Committee to visit Muckaty or hold a hearing in Tennant Creek undermines the accuracy of claims about the process engaging all stakeholders.
The party’s platform of that time reflected that Labor was “committed to a responsible, mature and international best practice approach to radioactive waste management in Australia” and would “establish a process for identifying suitable sites that is scientific, transparent, accountable, fair and allows access to appeal mechanisms.” There was also a commitment to “international best practice scientific processes to underpin Australia’s radioactive waste management, including transportation and storage.”
That clear and sound position taken by the ALP makes their actions in office all the more bitterly disappointing. Read more »
Waste dump tender is ‘putting the radioactive cart before the horse’. Calling for tender to design a remote radioactive waste facility while the only proposed site is under federal court challenge is putting the radioactive cart before the horse, the Beyond Nuclear Initiative (BNI) has said today.
BNI coordinator Natalie Wasley said “The only site federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has indicated he intends to pursue for a national radioactive waste dump- Muckaty, 120km north of Tennant Creek in the NT- is subject to a federal court challenge and ongoing community challenge. The NT government is strongly opposed and trade unions, environment and health groups across the country have committed to stand up and stop the Muckaty proposal”.
“The Minister is making radioactive policy on the run, based on a political assumption that a remote site is needed and a miscalculation that people living nearby or culturally connected to those areas do not have the determination or capacity to defeat this proposal,” Ms Wasley added. Read more »