clear need to engage with the targeted communities from the early stages and throughout the whole duration of the project. Failing already during this essential first part of the process might actually poison the whole of it and leave the Government with nothing but another failed attempt to deal with Australia’s radioactive waste
Don’t waste the homelands Community opposition to a national radioactive waste dump has enjoyed a strong grassroots movement for decades. Now, the latest battle is in Western Australia. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/05/20/comment-dont-waste-homelands By Anica Niepraschk 20 MAY 2015 WESTERN AUSTRALIAN IRON ORE COMPANY GINBALBIE METALS’ NOMINATION OF A SECTION OF ITS LAND TO HOST AUSTRALIA’S PROPOSED RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT FACILITY COMES AS THE THIRD KNOWN NOMINATION IN WA. THE TWO-MONTH NOMINATION PERIOD FOR THE PROJECT CLOSED ON MAY 5.
Another known nomination comes from a landowner in Leonora, against local opposition but supported by Leonora Shire. The Shire had been keen on nominating freehold land itself but could not identify any suitable land.
The third revealed nomination from WA involves land in Kanpa, near Warburton in the eastern part of the state, and lacks support from the Ngaanyatjarra elders.
Similarly, Ginbalbie Metals’s nomination of a land near Badga station in the mid west of the state faces opposition from the traditional custodians of the land. Neither the local community nor Yalgoo shire had been consulted on the nomination. The site is even subject of a current native title claim by the Widi Native Title Claimant Group. The group expressed its strong opposition to Federal Industry Minister Macfarlane, stating that ‘the proponent has displayed an appalling level of disrespect’ for the traditional owners by failing to consult them. They generally reject radioactive waste dumps and uranium mining on their homelands.
This opposition to hosting a radioactive waste facility follows failed attempts by Canberra to impose a facility on communities in South Australia (1998-2004) and the Northern Territory (2005-2014). Community trust in the federal government’s handling of the process has eroded drastically over this period of time. Continue reading
A National Radioactive Waste Management Facility planned by the Federal Government? – ConspiracyOz http://conspiracyoz.com/2015/05/17/a-national-radioactive-waste-management-facility-planned-by-the-federal-government-conspiracyoz/
Environment agency orders Hunters Hill clean up Kirsty Needham www.smh.com.au May 17, 2015 The Baird government has been ordered by the Environment Protection Authority to clean up homes in Hunters Hill contaminated by a uranium smelter 100 years ago, after years of stalling. Plans to transfer contaminated waste from Nelson Parade in Hunters Hill to a Kemps Creek landfill have plagued successive state governments. Western Sydney residents rejected becoming a “dumping ground” for the radioactive waste, while Hunters Hill residents complained the contaminated soil had to be removed from the residential street.
Former Treasurer Andrew Constance put the clean-up on hold last February. But the Environment Protection Authority has issued a management order to Government Property NSW, which owns three of the contaminated houses, and has been tasked with carrying out the remediation of six properties in Nelson Parade. The EPA said the land was significantly contaminated with arsenic, lead and coal tar pitch which exceeded safety levels for residential land. Government Property NSW hadn’t met the remediation plans approved by the EPA in 2007 and 2013, the EPA said. It has been ordered to lodge a revised clean-up plan, confirm it has engaged a remediation contractor, and give monthly progress reports to the EPA.
A spokesperson for Government Property NSW said the agency had complied with the EPA management order and provided the details. “The details of the Project Plan will soon be published by the Department of Planning & Environment,” he said. “No restricted solid waste will be transferred from Hunters Hill to Kemps Creek while other alternatives are pursued. A national radioactive waste management facility planned by the federal government still remains the preferred option, the location of which is still to be determined.” A decision on where to send the waste has been delegated to the Planning Assessment Commission, which is expected to hold a public meeting.
Gindalbie Metals nuclear dump proposal surprises nearby WA shire, ABC News By Sarah Taillier 14 May 15, A shire in Western Australia’s Mid West says it has been caught completely off guard by a proposal to develop a national nuclear waste dump on land near its boundaries.
Iron ore miner Gindalbie Metals yesterday confirmed it had nominated Badja Station, south of Yalgoo as a potential site to hold low and intermediate level radioactive waste.The proposed site lies about 70 kilometres from the township of Morawa, where more than 600 people live.
Shire of Morawa president Karen Chappel said she was stunned to hear about the application from a resident yesterday. “It could have an absolute major impact on our shire and to just hear via the telephone that this is what’s happening [is unreasonable],” she said.”I seriously would have thought that the Shire of Morawa was owed the courtesy of being told that this was on the run.”
Ms Chappel said the shire was trying to source more information about the proposal. “When we’ve gained the information that we think is necessary, our council will be taking a formal position on where we sit with regard to this proposal,” she said.
Under the selection process, states and territories will not have the right to veto the Federal Government’s site selection.
“That may be legislation, that may be the principal of it, but underneath it all, every politician is put there by population and the people,” Ms Chappel said.
“They have an obligation and a responsibility to sit and listen to how their decision affects us and I would suggest they would need to sit and listen to this one.”
A shortlist of nominated sites is expected to be made public in July……..
Greens spokesperson Robin Chapple described the proposal to develop a nuclear waste dump as a “blatant cash grab from a struggling company”. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-14/gindalbie-metals-nuclear-dump-proposal-surprises-shire/6468176
Why does the Australian government persist in the lie that the nuclear waste contracted to return from UK and France originated from medical/scientific research? The medical radionuclides are but a tiny, tacked on part of the Lucas Heights reactor, and they are short-lived and not requiring export for reprocessing. The returning high level wastes originated from the reactor’s own process.
Federal budget 2015: Why Australia’s nuclear waste legacy will cost $27 million May 13, 2015 Lisa Cox National political reporter The Abbott government will spend nearly $27 million over four years to return radioactive waste that has been treated in the United Kingdom to Lucas Heights.
The funding is part of an agreement with the UK to return one of two batches of Australian waste, which the government said was largely generated from scientific research and nuclear medicine over a number of decades.
The second batch of nuclear material was sent to a facility in France for processing and its return has been funded in budgets since 2010.
Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear-free campaigner David Sweeney said of the federal money: “We believe the waste coming back to Lucas Heights is the least worst way to manage it.”
“That is – it’s still not a good thing,” he said.
“But because of the expertise, security and the presence of a purpose built facility at Lucas Heights it is the most appropriate option for the nation.”……….http://www.smh.com.au/business/federal-budget/federal-budget-2015-why-australias-nuclear-waste-legacy-will-cost-27-million-20150513-gh0i49.html
Australian govt turns from Northern Territory in search for vulnerable communities to host nuclear wastes
Nuclear waste dump unlikely in NT after land councils, stations refuse to nominate site ABC News, 11 May 15, By Anthony Stewart The Northern Territory appears unlikely to house the Federal Government’s proposed radioactive waste dump after major land holders fail to nominate a site.
The Federal Government began a renewed searchfor a site to store Australia’s intermediate-level nuclear waste and dispose of low-level waste in March this year. A formal application process closed on the May 5.
The ABC confirmed the Northern Land Council, Central Land Council, and Northern Territory Government had not nominated any land. Gilnockie and Supplejack Downs Stations also decided against participating in the process.
In a statement, the Federal Government refused to confirm whether any other organisation had nominated land.
“Details on nominations will be made public following the close of the nomination process and consideration by the Minister for Industry and Science. On current timeframes, this is expected in July 2015,” the statement read………
Anti-nuclear campaigner Lauren Mellor said it was the end of a long fight against nuclear waste in the Territory. “It’s very good news. We have spent the last decade with residents and traditional owners of the Northern Territory fighting a nuclear dump process,” she said. “The Federal Government has pulled out of the trenches in the Northern Territory.”
She said the fight had been pushed to other parts of Australia. “Unfortunately our concern is they will go and target another vulnerable community as they’ve done many times before to try and push them to house a national or even international dump,” Ms Mellor said.
Several organisations in both South Australia and the Western Australia have indicated they have nominated land under the process. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-11/nuclear-waste-dump-unlikely-in-nt/6461078
Gindalbie applies to host nuclear waste facility in WA’s Mid West By Emily Piesse Iron ore miner Gindalbie Metals has confirmed it has nominated part of its land holding in WA’s Mid West as a potential site for a low level radioactive waste dump.
The site, on Badja Station in the Shire of Yalgoo, has been put forward by the company under a national tender process by the Federal Government. The nuclear waste facility, which would be a national repository for low level waste, would be the first of its kind in Australia.
Most low level waste is stored in hospitals, universities and other private facilities but this would act as a central storage centre.
The Shire of Leonora in WA’s Goldfields has also confirmed it has supported an application to have the nuclear waste dump on a pastoral station’s freehold land between Leonora and Malcolm.
A spokesperson for Gindalbie confirmed the miner had submitted Badja Station to be assessed, but said it was too early to comment as the Government was yet to finalise its shortlist of sites.
Badja Station is currently the subject of a native title claim by the Widi people.
Widi spokesperson Clayton Lewis said he had no prior knowledge of Gindalbie’s proposal.”It was a bolt out of the blue … [we’re] just amazed that it’s going to happen or potentially going to happen in our country,” he said.
“We think if we can get a decent body of support at this early stage we can certainly contest it.”
A spokesperson for federal Industry and Science Minister Ian Macfarlane would not confirm whether Badja Station was under consideration, but said initial site assessments had begun.
Under the selection process, states and territories will not have the right to veto the Government’s site selection.
A shortlist of nominated sites is expected to be made public in July.
Remote sites in South Australia offered for nuclear dump , THE AUSTRALIAN, 9 May 15 Michael Owen Up to four sites in South Australia’s far north have been put forward as potential radioactive waste dumps.
The federal government, however, is officially remaining tight-lipped about the response to its call in March for voluntary site nominations for a national radioactive waste facility, which closed on Tuesday.Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane’s office refused yesterday to say how many nominations had been received or where they had originated.
“There won’t be details or a breakdown of nominated sites released at this early stage,” a spokeswoman said. “Information about shortlisted sites will be released after an initial assessment period and after consideration by the minister. That is expected to be completed around July.”
A preferred site is not expected to be identified until at least the middle of next year.
This week the government released a request for tender on Austender, seeking expressions of interest from “suitable companies to undertake the necessary site characterisation work”.
The request also seeks the successful tenderer to assist in the “development of a detailed business case which will inform the government’s decision as to whether to proceed with the project and its cost”.
Federal Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey said his vast electorate of Grey, in South Australia’s far north, was an ideal site for a radioactive waste dump as it was remote, sparsely populated and geologically stable. He said he had tried to nominate his own 2400ha farm, but was asked not to by Mr Macfarlane because of concerns of a potential conflict of interest.
“But as a consequence my understanding is there have been a number of other properties nominated in my community. I’ve encouraged people right across the board to nominate,” Mr Ramsey said. “I understand as many as four sites have been nominated in my electorate.”
The search for a site intensified last year after the federal government failed to convince a Northern Territory community to build a facility on its land.
This comes as South Australia’s royal commission into an expansion of the state’s role in the nuclear cycle picks up pace. Among other issues, the commission will examine whether to store international radioactive waste……..http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/remote-sites-in-south-australia-offered-for-nuclear-dump/story-fn59niix-1227347545498
South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory have legislation in place prohibiting the storage of radioactive waste from outside the state or territory. This means that the legality of nominations coming from these states or territories is compromised. The Federal Government, however, calls onto all Australian landowners fulfilling the criteria to submit applications, as the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 allows the Minister to override state legislation if conflict arises. The question is just how voluntary the siting would be in that case, given that it undermines democratically made decisions?event of an accident) or indirectly affected
Let’s hope the opportunity to deal with radioactive waste won’t be wasted, SBS, Over the coming weeks and months we will find out whether the Federal Government’s new approach to finding a radioactive waste storage and disposal site will be more successful than past efforts. By Anica Niepraschk 1 MAY 2015 -Australia does not produce any high-level radioactive waste. It does however produce moderate amounts of low-level waste that could be disposed of in a shallow repository to be monitored for several hundred years, and long-lived intermediate-level waste that will need to be carefully managed for some thousands of years.
After more than 20 years of flawed and failed attempts to impose a dump on communities in South Australia and the Northern Territory, the Government has finally realised that a matter of such importance and extraordinary risks can’t be imposed on communities but has to be the result of a voluntary process.
In March, Industry Minister Ian McFarlane called on landowners across Australia to nominate their land to host a radioactive waste management facility. The two-month nomination period ends this Tuesday, May 5, which could give a first indication on where the Government is heading with its new approach.
It is worth having a look at how the process is set out and if it is really as voluntary as the Government claims. Continue reading
Malawi: Paladin Starts Discharging Uranium Wastes Into Public Rivers, AllAfrica, By Bishop Witmos Karonga April 23: Few months after Paladin Africa Limited differed with civil society organizations (CSOs) and some chiefs in Karonga over the disposition of uranium wastes into public water, the company has started discharging the effluent into Sere River.
Paladin Africa Limited, a member of the Paladin Energy group of companies, suspended its operations at Kayelekera Mine in the district in May, 2014, due to unstable uranium prices at an international market. The project is now on care and maintenance.
Malawi News Agency (Mana) has established Paladin invited Paramount Chief Kyungu and the District Commissioner (DC) for Karonga, Rosemary Moyo, to a meeting in Lilongwe early April this year (2015),to brief them about the company’s recent decision.
Paladin Africa Acting General Manager in Malawi, Greg Walker, confirmed in a telephone interview that the company, indeed, started releasing the uranium wastes into the public rivers………
Sere River flows into North Rukuru River, then into Lake Malawi.
When asked why the company decided to brief Paramount Chief Kyungu and the Karonga DC about their action in Lilongwe instead of explaining it to the general populace of Karonga, Walker said the company conducted enough meetings with relevant authorities in the district……..
Despite the decision by Paladin to start discharging its effluent into the public water, some people in the district feet it would have been safer if the company had constructed another dam where the wastes would be transferred into.
Chairperson for Karonga District Council, Patrick Kishombe, said in an interview the plan to release the waste water from the storage dam into Sere River is raising fears amongst communities who feel the water is not fully treated and could be a health hazard.
“This, I believe, will lead into many hazards, like killing of fish in Lake Malawi and may also cause skin cancer to some people,” said Kishombe.
Uranium contains gamma rays, particles that cause skin cancer to human kind, according to experts.
In developed nations, mining companies construct a stable tank that stores all the wastes, ready for transportation to recommended disposal sites. ……http://allafrica.com/stories/201504231621.html
Hands up if you want to host a toxic waste dump http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/hands-up-if-you-want-to-host-a-toxic-waste-dump/story-fnkfnspy-1227304649717 ROB HARRIS THE WEEKLY TIMES APRIL 16, 2015 LANDHOLDERS are being asked to volunteer to host Australia’s next radioactive waste dump.
The Federal Government has advertised for landholders in all states and territories to nominate 100ha of land to “safely store and dispose of toxic waste”.The waste is mainly byproducts from medical, research and industrial processes.
The landholder of the select site will be offered “a generous payment”, while the local community will be given a “package of benefits”.
Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said an Independent Advisory Panel had been established to help assess nominations. The Government said it will undertake “extensive” public consultation during every stage of the project.
Environment groups have urged that radioactive waste storage is not imposed on unwilling communities.
The Beyond Nuclear Initiative considers this timeframe to be unnecessarily compressed and constrained, especially given that the first shipment of long-lived intermediate level waste returning to Australia from overseas reprocessing in December 2015 will be returning to a purpose built storage facility at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor complex just south of Sydney.
The Beyond Nuclear Initiative will continue to monitor progress of the NRWMP and inform stakeholders and interested parties of key developments and opportunities for input into the process. That this process is happening at all is a tribute to the tenacity of the Muckaty Traditional Owners who took such sustained action to protect their country and culture. It is also a tribute to all who supported them. Now we need to maintain our vigilance and efforts to advance radioactive waste management in Australia in a more socially and environmentally responsible way.
Radioactive Waste Update- March 2015 http://beyondnuclearinitiative.com/radioactive-waste-update-march-2015/ Natalie Wasley Beyond Nuclear Initiative coordinator.In June 2014 the Australian federal government abandoned plans to build the first national nuclear waste facility on Aboriginal land at Muckaty in the Northern Territory. The decision came half way through a federal court case challenging the nomination of the site and is a testament to the determined eight year campaign by Traditional Owners and their supporters around the country and world.
Australian non-government and civil society organisations, including environment groups, public health organisations and trade unions, have consistently requested the Minister halt the search for a single remote site in favour of a process based on an audit of all radioactive waste materials in parallel with an independent Inquiry that considered the full range of waste management options.
However, in November 2014 federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane instead announced intention to open a nationwide site nomination and selection process for locating a national radioactive waste facility. The National Radioactive Waste Management Project (NRWMP) was officially launched on Monday March 2 and aims to shortlist nominations, assess preferred sites and declare a final location by the middle of 2016.
The Beyond Nuclear Initiative considers this timeframe to be unnecessarily compressed and constrained, especially given that the first shipment of long-lived intermediate level waste returning to Australia from overseas reprocessing in December 2015 will be returning to a purpose built storage facility at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor complex just south of Sydney. Continue reading
Radioactive Waste Management in Australia: The federal government’s revised search for a national facility ACF briefing paper: March 2015 Continuing issues and concerns: “……· The Government seems determined to establish a site before the next federal election, which is expected in the second half of 2016. There is no apparent plan in place if a suitable site cannot be found according to the assessment criteria in the proposed timeframe. There are no social or technical reasons to rush a decision that demands the highest quality decision-making, as the facilities currently storing the majority of Australia’s nuclear waste are secure and can provide adequate storage for many years.
- Despite a wide range of civil society organisations calling for an independent Inquiry into the full range of nuclear waste management options, including decentralised storage, the Government appears set on a centralised co-located facility without an objective assessment of other management options.
- The revised process allows for nominations of land from any State or Territory. South Australia, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory all have legislation in place prohibiting the storage or disposal of externally produced nuclear waste on their land. The National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012, (section 19) provides the federal government with the power to override these laws. Such a scenario undermines the commitment to ‘volunteerism’, as the democratic rights of the affected electorate would be violated. The federal government has stated that if ‘a freehold landowner put forward a site to become a nuclear waste dump, states or territories would not have veto powers, but the Government did not want to impose its decision without consultation’.
- The Government has asked all nominators to give consent to public disclosure of the nomination and currently states that it will make nominations public. Ongoing monitoring during the nomination period is required to ensure this occurs and to inform our understanding of community attitudes in nominated regions.
- The Government has stated its intention to engage with the regional communities in which short-listed sites are located, but does not declare consent by the community to be a condition for final site selection. Furthermore, an Independent Advisory Panel has been established whose objective is partly to develop a site identification methodology that best reflects stakeholder and community values. However, a truly inclusive approach should go beyond the identification stage and include actual consent to the siting. So far, the Department of Industry has only expressed that it may seek evidence of community support.
- ‘A package of benefits may also be negotiated with the community of the selected site in recognition of the potential development, construction and operational impacts of the facility.’ No details have so far been given on the potential amount and duration of benefits, and this remains a point to observe and brief targeted communities on.
- Further clarity is also needed in relation to the proposed National Repository Capital Contribution Fund – a fund of at least $10 million, which is a provision of the Act to enhance public services and/ or infrastructure in the State or Territory hosting the selected site. It remains unclear who makes decisions referring to this allocation and on what basis.
- According to the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012, section 9 (3) the Minister does not have a duty to consider a nomination. This leaves potential for the un-justified preference of some nominations over others and requires monitoring.
- It is currently uncertain what the position of the Government is on the potential withdrawal of nominations. This, however, seems to be an essential factor to consider in relation to ‘volunteerism’ and the decision making of interested landowners.
- Compensation for the acquisition of the declared site is open to negotiations but supposed to be guided by a Land Value Calculation and a premium of 3 times the established market price. For 100 hectares of land in remote Australia, this does not equate to a large financial incentive for the landowner. Furthermore, ‘the Commonwealth reserves its right to determine, at its sole discretion, any offer it makes for the acquisition of property’, potentially making the compensation issue less transparent.
- The actual declaration of a nominated site as the chosen one for a facility gives the Minister the right to acquire adjacent or related land required to access the declared site and may therefore affect the rights of community members, again a potential interference with the concept of ‘volunteerism’ and an issue to alert affected communities to.
“…………Related issues/ wider impact
As the current process focuses on the selection of a site, it leaves some issues untouched that are of high importance when establishing a National Radioactive Waste Facility:
- The safety of workers at the facility as well as in the wider nuclear waste industry (such as in the transport and securing of waste) needs to be ensured.
- Not only the community in near proximity of the site will be affected but also the communities along the transport routes between the facilities producing or currently storing nuclear waste and the newly established facility. A clear plan on how to engage with these communities and ensure their safety should be developed. At the current stage, there is no indication any such engagement will take place and once again, resistance among the transport routes can indirectly interfere with the proposed concept of ‘volunteerism’.
- Communities are organic mechanisms and so are characterised by change. Engaging with the affected community at the selected site only during the selection process does not live up to the requirements of such a high-safety issue. Continuous engagement, including consultations and sensitisations as well as transparent access to information, is required beyond the selection process, encompassing the establishment and day-to-day operations of the facility for its whole lifespan.
For questions, comments or additional information please contact:
Dave Sweeney – Nuclear Free Campaigner, ACF: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anica Niepraschk – Nuclear Free Campaign Intern, ACF: email@example.com
Natalie Wasley – Beyond Nuclear Initiative (BNI): firstname.lastname@example.org
Environment Minister Simon Corbell says radioactive waste is not welcome in ACT, Canberra Times March 14, 2015 Matthew Raggatt The ACT government would reject any moves to build a radioactive waste facility in the territory, its deputy leader has said.
Environment Minister Simon Corbell said he doubted the nation’s smallest jurisdiction – half of which is covered by national parks and state forests – would make the federal government’s cut for a new site.
“It is extremely unlikely there is any land suitable in the ACT for this activity,” he said.
Earlier this month the federal government called for nominations from landholders of any state or territory for a site for a national permanent radioactive waste management facility. The site would allow for the storage and disposal of “low level and intermediate level waste”, produced in Australia from a range of scientific and industrial/medical activities. …….
A spokeswoman for the Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane said details of the nominated sites would be made public after all applications were received and the minister had considered them.
The spokeswoman said the majority of Australia’s radioactive waste was stored by the Commonwealth at two sites, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation campus at Lucas Heights and the CSIRO facility at Woomera in South Australia.
The Defence Department, Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, state and territory governments and other scientific, industrial and research organisations also stored some waste.
Australia does not produce or store high level radioactive waste, the federal government said.
If you want to put forward your land to be bought for the project, you have until May 5. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/environment-minister-simon-corbell-says-radioactive-waste-is-not-welcome-in-act-20150314-1412y9.html
Why don’t people realise the distinction between the relatively small amounts of nuclear waste (originating at Lucas Heights) that Australia is contracted to take back, and the greedy dream of some to import nuclear wastes from other countries?
Four shipments of Australian radioactive waste was sent to France for “reprocessing” between 1999 and 2004, and the first of it will be returned by sea to Australia between September and March 2016.
More time needed to plan for nuclear waste dump: councils, SMH, March 13, 2015 – Peter Ker Resources reporter Councils interested in housing Australia’s radioactive waste dump have complained the Abbott government’s tender period is too short for them to make a decision, inclusive with their communities, on the divisive issue.
The government has given landowners and communities two months to nominate as the best location for the national waste facility, which will permanently house intermediate level nuclear waste produced at the Lucas Heights reactors in southern Sydney. Continue reading