Australian news, and some related international items

Westinghouse out of unviable Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, and into lucrative Nuclear Decommissioning

Westinghouse backs out of Small Modular Reactor market Enformable Nuclear News Lucas W Hixson Roderick, President and CEO of Westinghouse announced that the nuclear firm is backing off of research and development of their Small Modular Reactor design.  The Westinghouse design is a scaled down version of the AP1000 reactor, designed to produce 225 MWe, which could power 45,000 residential houses.

In December, the firm was passed over for a second time by the United States Department of Energy’s SMR commercialization program. Roderick clarified the issue and noted that it was not the deployment of the technology that posed the biggest problem – it was that there were no customers.  “The worst thing to do is get ahead of the market,” he added


According to Roderick, unless Westinghouse was capable of producing 30 to 50 small modular reactors, there was no way that the firm would return its investment in the development project.  In the end, given the lack of market, and the similar lack of federal funding, Westinghouse was unable to justify the economics of small modular reactors at this point.

Westinghouse was working with St. Louis-based Ameren, which had indicated its desire to build a new reactor near the State’s only existing nuclear reactor – the Calloway nuclear power plant, if a federal investment could be secured.

Westinghouse will focus its attentions on its decommissioning business, which is a $1 billion dollar per year business for the firm – which is equivalent to Westinghouse’s new reactor construction business, and rededicate its staff to the AP1000 reactor design.


Analysts are monitoring how the companies who did receive funding from the Department of Energy perform as they evolve. Source: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazett

April 5, 2014 Posted by | technology, wastes | Leave a comment

History repeated, as again a Liberal government sees our country as the world’s radioactive waste dump

waste-Aust  Australia isn’t the world’s dump   Some bad ideas don’t die, and making Australia the world’s nuclear waste dump is one of them. A new report should remind us that even the waste we store now is unsafe, writes Dave Sweeney

If you sit in the one place long enough the whole world passes by. So goes one Buddhist saying. The same could apply to the news, especially stories with a long shelf life. And few things on earth have a shelf life like nuclear waste. The notion of Australia hosting the world’s growing stockpile of radioactive waste has been revisited, this time in a report by Deloitte Access Economics.

It’s an idea that has had many promoters over the years. Bob Hawke, Alexander Downer, Warren Mundine and the secretive Dr John White, a former energy adviser to John Howard, have all made the case for Australia making a dump for nuclear waste.

The idea has also been actively advanced in desktop and field studies with a consortium called Pangea Resources, largely funded by the US, UK and Swiss nuclear industries, targeting two areas in regional WA in the 1990’s as possible sites for a global dump. Pangea’s plan was derailed when a leaked copy of their slick promotional video was obtained by Friends of the Earth and made available to politicians and journalists ahead of the company’s timeline.

The resulting publicity saw much ducking, dodging and denial and subsequent legislation banning international waste dumping in Australia.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to legislate nuclear waste out of existence. Its management remains the nuclear industry’s Achilles heel. The Deloitte report acknowledges as much, stating “many proposals to make greater use of nuclear power ultimately flounder on the issue of how to deal with the resultant waste. That’s eminently understandable”.

All nuclear processes create radioactive wastes that pose a direct hazard and need to be isolated from people and the environment for extremely long periods of time. We are now in the seventh decade of the nuclear age and, despite industry assurances, political promises and spending multiple billions in research and development, not one country on Earth has a final disposal facility for high level radioactive waste.

Radioactive waste management remains a complex, costly and unresolved issue and one that Australia, as a major global provider of nuclear fuel, has a responsibility to consider and address. Australia is home to around 35 per cent of the world’s uranium and our exports out of Darwin and Adelaide are the start of an increasingly contaminating industrial process.

After use in a reactor, Australian uranium becomes high-level radioactive waste. That’s on a good day. On a bad day it becomes radioactive fallout; let’s never forget that Australian uranium was fuelling the failed Fukushima nuclear complex when it melted down.

Closer to home Australia’s approach to radioactive waste management has been a case study in how not to approach complex policy development. For seven years now a community at Muckaty, north of Tennant Creek in Central Australia, has been in the government’s sights as the nation’s radioactive waste dump site.

handsoffThe majority of Traditional Aboriginal owners and custodians have never been asked, let alone given consent and the dump plan is in direct conflict with international industry best practice and Australia’s obligations under the UN’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The dump plan remains secretive and hidden by “commercial in confidence” provisions. It’s far removed from Deloitte’s call for “a mature debate that weighs safety, cost, environmental impact, community sentiment and other dimensions of the issue”.

In June, the Federal Court will hear a case bought by Traditional Owners opposed to the dump plan who seek to get the Muckaty site nomination ruled invalid. That they would have to go to the courts is evidence of profound policy failure on the part of government. It is a failure that bodes poorly for any future moves or backroom agreements that seek to take Australia further down the nuclear road.

If we cannot get our own nuclear house in order it hardly inspires confidence in Australia as a solution to a global problem — a point again noted in Deloitte’s report, which acknowledges that domestic resistance and concern would make the idea unlikely to proceed.

Hopefully the Deloitte report might give a long overdue initiative some attention. Australia needs an independent, public and credible review of how best to manage our existing domestic radioactive waste — such as a national commission into responsible radioactive waste management.

We need to move away from short term political fixes based on legislative overrides and carrot and stick politics with disadvantaged communities and instead embrace and enact an approach based on transparency, credible community engagement, proper process and sound science.

Radioactive waste lasts longer than any economic advisor, community campaigner or federal politician. We have a shared responsibility to manage it maturely and securely.

Continue reading

March 28, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Call to Northern Territory’s Country Liberal Party to oppose radioactive waste dump plan

WASTES-1CLP needs to stand up for the Territory over Canberra’s radioactive waste plan. 13 Mar 14National and Territory environment groups have called on Chief Minister Adam Giles to send a clear message to Canberra to end plans for a radioactive waste dump in the NT.

 The call comes on the second anniversary of former federal Labor Minister Martin Ferguson pushing ahead with controversial federal laws for a radioactive waste dump at Muckaty, north of Tennant Creek.

“Radioactive waste is long lived, hazardous and serious stuff but sadly the Muckaty plan is based more on broken promises and dodgy political expedience than credible science or proper process,” said Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“The approach taken by successive federal governments has not been inclusive, scientific or robust and is not consistent with either international industry best practise or Australia’s obligations”.

The Muckaty plan is strongly contested by many Traditional Owners, environment, public health and trade union groups and is the focus of current Federal Court legal action due to go to trial in June 2014.

“For over two decades there has been a push by Canberra for a remote waste dump – first defeated by a strong community campaign in South Australia, and now their sites are firmly set on the NT. This has occurred without a scrap of evidence or success to support such a plan, and in the absence of community consent or a social license,” said ECNT campaigner Lauren Mellor.

“The Territory community and environment deserves better than Canberra playing short term politics with a long term problem.”

“It is time for the Chief Minister to send a clear message to Canberra.Territorians don’t want, and won’t cop, a cynical and dodgy dump plan. We want a genuine examination of how to responsibly manage Australia’s radioactive waste”.

For comment:  Dave Sweeney, ACF, 0408 317 812 Lauren Mellor, ECNT, 0413 534 125

March 13, 2014 Posted by | Northern Territory, wastes | Leave a comment

Aboriginal landowners firm: time to scrap draconian Radioactive Waste Law

handsoffRenewed call for Muckaty dump plan to be scrapped as ‘draconian’ nuclear waste legislation hits two-year mark, Natalie Wasley, 13 Mar 14  Marking two years since passage of the National Radioactive Waste Management Act (NRWMA), Traditional Owners and supporters have renewed calls for the government to drop plans for locating the first national radioactive waste dump at Muckaty, 120km north of Tennant Creek in the NT.

Beyond Nuclear Initiative convenor Natalie Wasley said, “The National Radioactive Waste Management Act is draconian and gives the Minister absolute discretion in key aspects of radioactive waste management. It overrides any state or territory law that would ‘hinder’ the plan, and limits the application of environmental protection laws, Aboriginal heritage protection legislation, and appeal rights. It does not grant ‘procedural fairness’ in relation to the existing Muckaty nomination.”

“Radioactive waste management laws should require engagement with civil society stakeholders in line with international standards. Australia’s targeting of remote communities considered politicially expedient through application of draconian legislation like the NRWMA is an international embarrassment.”

Traditional Owner Penny Phillips said “We had very hurt feelings when the legislation passed the Senate two years ago. We had been saying no for a long time- my old aunty Bunny Nabarula cried her heart out. People are upset that the new government is pushing ahead, but we are not going to stop fighting. We want the government to put a full stop to the nomination.”

“If the Northern Land Council prepares another nomination on Muckaty then we will stand up to them again. Continue reading

March 13, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment

Northern Territory is no place for Sydney’s radioactive waste

WASTES-1The NT is no place for Sydney’s radioactive waste: Time for evidence, not expedience,  Natalie Wasley, 28 Feb 14,  A plan by the NSW Government to move large volumes of radioactive waste from suburban Sydney to a proposed but non-existent dump site at Muckaty north of Tennant Creek highlights the confused and short-term thinking surrounding radioactive waste management in Australia, according to national radioactive waste watchdog the Beyond Nuclear Initiative.

BNI has condemned the suggestion by NSW Finance Minister Andrew Constance that radioactive soil from Hunter’s Hill should be transported to the proposed national radioactive waste dump at Muckaty. “The NSW Liberals’ first plan to transport contaminated soil to politically vulnerable areas of Western Sydney was strongly challenged by the community, local councils and trade unions,” said BNI coordinator Natalie Wasley.

“The latest plan – calculated to move the waste out of the sight and mind of residents in the affluent suburb of Hunter’s Hill – shows extreme contempt for Muckaty Traditional Owners who have been campaigning for almost seven years against the NT dump plan.”

“A strong alliance between Traditional Owners, health and environment groups, trade unions and social justice organisations has stymied and delayed the Muckaty plan. The Muckaty site nomination is the subject of Federal Court action set for trial in June. Any attempts to move radioactive waste there from NSW would be actively challenged by the local community and their growing national network of supporters.”

“Mr Constance’s ‘viable option’ of a 3500km road trip for 5000 tonnes of waste is a long way from international standards that call for community participation in decision making on radioactive waste storage. Transporting radioactive materials long distances presents an unacceptable risk to transport and emergency workers as well as communities along the route.”

“The NSW government clearly does not have a strategy for responsible waste management beyond attempts to find a disenfranchised community to dump it on.”

“Instead of short term dump and run politics we urgently need an independent national commission into advancing responsible radioactive waste management. Minister Constance’s proposal highlights the pressing need for this inquiry to go ahead while the Muckaty site nomination is contested in court. Instead of political plans and toxic trucks we need a genuine and evidence based assessment.”

February 28, 2014 Posted by | New South Wales, Northern Territory, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australia’s low level radioactive waste spots

Environment Protection Agency reveals where ‘low level’ nuclear waste is stored in Adelaide suburbs MILES KEMP THE ADVERTISER FEBRUARY 25, 2014  SOME of Adelaide’s most prominent residential suburbs are home to radioactive waste, the Environment Protection Authority has revealed.

Other than the CBD, the Adelaide Hills with 39 sites has the most number of small storages which include low and intermediate low-level radioactive waste.

The details are revealed in documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, even though this has previously been denied by the EPA.

An EPA spokeswoman said most of the sources were being stored or used in machines that required radiation, but could not say home many were waste.

The majority would be unsealed radioactive substances used in premises such as nuclear medicine departments and sealed radioactive sources in plant and equipment used in mining, industrial, medical and scientific applications,’’ she said.

“The majority of sealed radioactive sources and unsealed radioactive substances in premises within SA are currently being used or stored.

“Any waste would be very low-level to intermediate low-level waste.’’

Other Adelaide suburbs which have sites include: Thebarton 27 sites, Bedford Park 26, Mawson Lakes 23, Osborne 21, Urrbrae 19, Norwood 17, Keswick 14, Woodville 13, Black Forest 10, Wingfield 11, North Adelaide 7, Glenside 7, Export Park 5, Gillman 5, Bellevue Heights 3, Cheltenham 3, Glenelg 3, two each at Camden Park, Edwardstown, Elizabeth,

Ashford, Kent Town, Regency Park, and one each at Evanston Park, Blackwood, Burton, Gepps Cross, Golden Grove and Noarlunga.In total the EPA lists 928 sites, mostly at mine sites in remote locations.

Family First MLC Robert Brokenshire said he sought the information using the Freedom of Information Act because people had a right to know what was being stored in their suburb.

February 26, 2014 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste dump plan for South Australia -uneconomic and uinrealistic

This reality is not linked to any red or green tape, but rather to the clear absence of economic returns. While the sector’s risks are significant, its economic contribution is not: in total it provides only around 650 jobs and $700 million in earnings – nationwide.

South-Australia-nuclearDave Sweeney: Nuclear pain outweighs economic gain for South Australia THE ADVERTISER FEBRUARY 10, 2014 IF South Australia moved further down the nuclear road by processing enriched uranium or storing nuclear waste, it would threaten the natural environment and put the state in direct conflict with federal policy, global markets and community expectations.

The call by Business SA to process enriched uranium and store nuclear waste stems from misplaced enthusiasm rather than measured assessment.

Any such call can only be made by ignoring the reality that the nuclear industry is, here and internationally, under intense political, regulatory and community pressure since the Fukushima meltdown in Japan.

A market analysis by economic forecaster Morgan Stanley shows the price of uranium has slumped by nearly 50 per cent since the Fukushima nuclear crisis, where Australian uranium became and remains global radioactive fallout. Continue reading

February 11, 2014 Posted by | South Australia, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Help BHP by making South Australia the world’s radioactive trash dump!

John Read: By storing more radioactive waste at Olympic Dam, the BHPB-Olympic-Smstruggling mine may remain profitable  Adelaide Now,11 Feb 14….

For the last quarter of a century, WMC then BHP have picked the eyes out of the deposit, mining the richest, most accessible areas through expensive underground mining. Both companies have left staff, investors and governments in no doubt that underground mining is becoming increasingly unprofitable.

However, following an exhaustive study spanning over half a decade, BHP came to the conclusion that the mighty proposed open-cut expansion, deemed essential to guarantee the longevity of the mine and the best use of the resource, was uneconomical .

Every month that the mine continues to exhaust the feasible underground resource without initiating the open cut is a month closer to a Ravensthorpe-type decision when BHP will pack up its bat and ball and leave town.

When BHP singled out the poor performance of Olympic Dam at its recent AGM, hot on the heels of the announcement of imminent closures of Ford and now Holden , the Prime Minister and SA Premier have been left considering the unimaginable: closure of one of their prime assets……

If we want Olympic Dam to survive we need to rationalise our collective views on the nuclear industry and our management of radioactive waste……….

Olympic Dam, producing 70 million tonnes of radioactive tailings each year.

We need to acknowledge that the 40 cubic metres of radioactive waste generated by hospitals, research labs and the manufacturing industry each year and held in over 100 inappropriate storages around the country, is a minute fraction of what is produced and managed every year at Olympic Dam.

We should accept that the Olympic Dam region of northern SA was identified by a comprehensive nationwide search as the optimal region for an Australian radioactive waste repository……

By storing the national radioactive waste within or next to the Olympic Dam tailings dams, the struggling mine may generate sufficient revenue to remain profitable.

February 11, 2014 Posted by | Olympic Dam, South Australia, wastes | 2 Comments

Australia’s inadequate decontamination of radioactive nuclear test sites

text-radiationCabinet Papers 1986-87: The struggle for indigenous land rights, SMH, Damien Murphy, 28 Dec 13, “……….. Decontaminating radioactive sites  The McClelland royal commission on British nuclear tests in Australia had recommended that the Maralinga and Emu test sites should be decontaminated to a standard suitable for unrestricted habitation by the traditional owners.

But a technical assessment group found that even the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars would not achieve complete decontamination.

The Resources and Energy Minister, Senator Gareth Evans, recommended that Cabinet consider the lesser option of decontamination sufficient to allow casual access to a larger area than was currently permissible. This option might cost between $20 and $30 million, “much more within the ball park that the UK Government is likely, on present indications, to be prepared to contemplate”.

Cabinet also decided that compensation claims for diseases that might have been caused by radiation would be resisted if the Commonwealth did not believe that a liability existed……….

Traditional owners had been dispersed to Yalata and the Pitjantjatjara lands in South Australia and Coonana in Western Australia. Cabinet allocated an initial $500,000 for projects of lasting and general community benefit……..

January 1, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, South Australia, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Sutherland Shire happy to host nuclear reactor, but not so keen on hosting radioactive wastes

Oscar-wastesSutherland Shire to get radioactive waste storage facility  St George and Sutherland Shire Leader By Jim Gainsford and Kate Carr Nov. 29, 2013 The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency has given the green light to the controversial plan to build a nuclear waste storage facility at ANSTO.

Construction of the facility at Lucas Heights is set to begin next year, with intermediate-level radioactive waste set to arrive back in Australia from France in 2015.

Sutherland Shire mayor Steve Simpson said this afternoon that the council was ‘‘strongly supportive of the work ANSTO does but we are still calling on the federal government to expedite a permanent waste storage facility for nuclear waste collected throughout Australia’’………

This waste is returning from France in 2015 in accordance with agreements relating to the processing of the waste. The waste will comprise one flask of processed nuclear fuel and six smaller drums of waste. Fortunately the licence from ARPANSA will not cover waste to be returned from the UK which we’re told is due to be returned at a later date.

“The fact that the waste will end up at ANSTO as there is no National Radioactive Waste Repository is not good enough for the residents of the Sutherland Shire who are concerned about the safe transportation and storage of this nuclear waste.

“Indeed the ARPANSA approval notes that the interim storage of the waste at ANSTO is not in line with international best practice and ARPANSA stresses the need to establish a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF), as storage of nuclear waste at Lucas Heights is not an acceptable long term solution.

“The continued transportation of Intermediate Level Radioactive Waste to Lucas Heights in the form of reprocessed fuel represents an unnecessary risk to the surrounding residents and communities”…..

November 30, 2013 Posted by | New South Wales, wastes | Leave a comment

Minister Macfarlane and Muckaty radioactive waste dump

The statement below was written by Muckaty Traditional Owner Penny Phillips in response to recent Senate Estimates hearings attended by representatives from the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.
wastesStatement from Muckaty Traditional Owner Penny Phillips re: meeting Minister Ian Macfarlane.   We have heard through Senate questions that Ian Macfarlane is making plans to come and meet with Muckaty Traditional Owners (1).

 Earlier this year I travelled a long way to Canberra by myself to talk to former Minister Gary Gray. At the same time the Northern Land Council was taking a group of people to Spain to look at the nuclear waste dump there.  I invited Gary Gray to Tennant Creek to meet us, but the NLC mob didn’t ask me to come and meet him. They didn’t tell a lot of people about that meeting, just the ones they wanted to go along.

I went to the meeting in my own vehicle and told Gary Gray he could have stopped it then, but now we have to go around in circles again and tell the new Minister the same thing. I sent a letter to Minister Macfarlane, along with my mum Bunny Nabarula and my sister-in-law Dianne Stokes, to come here and meet with us. If he comes, we want the NLC to invite everyone to come along and meet him, not just pick one little group.

We all want to have our say. We aren’t going to let the dump go ahead because we are strong and want to protect the land from being destroyed.   Contact Penny Phillips: 0459 715 223

For background on the Muckaty radioactive waste dump proposal: Natalie Wasley 0429 900 774

November 27, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Northern Territory, wastes | Leave a comment

Queensland uranium sales would bring radioactive waste importing to Australia

Queensland--antinukeUranium Mines More Dangerous Than Nuclear Power Confirms Japanese Atomic Expert At Brisbane Forum,32305#.UofD39Jwo7o 16 Nov 13, Fears for worker safety at future uranium mines in Queensland were confirmed by a top Japanese atomic expert at this week’s Australia-Japan Dialogue Forum in Brisbane.

Japan Atomic Energy Commission vice chairman Dr Tatsujiro Suzuki said at the forum “Mining actually poses larger risks than reactors, even when there are not accidents. Uranium miners are regularly exposed, there’s high exposure in areas around mines and the potential for atmospheric contamination.”

WASTES-1Anti-Nuclear Campaign Coordinator, Mark Bailey said Mr Suzuki’s comments showed why uranium mines were not worth the risk in Queensland. “The Ranger mine in the Northern Territory, in a similar wet season climate as North Queensland, has an appalling safety record with more than 150 documented mishaps including workers drinking and bathing in radioactive water.”

“The latest reported mishap occurred only last week.  The safety of workers and nearby communities cannot be guaranteed by the uranium industry given their very poor record.” Dr Suzuki also confirmed that Japan is set to run out of nuclear waste storage capacity within six years and is looking to sign deals with uranium suppliers who are prepared to help it dispose of radioactive waste. Mr Bailey warned “Once we allow uranium mines in Queensland it is inevitable that nuclear waste storage and nuclear power will soon be on the agenda. Uranium mines are the thin edge of the nuclear wedge in Queensland.” “Once the nuclear industry has their radioactive foot in Queensland’s door, they will want to move in and take over the whole house.”

“Queensland doesn’t need uranium mining, nuclear waste dumps or nuclear power and we should re-instate the ban on uranium mining promised before the last election before it’s too late,” said Mr Bailey. “The Newman government has no mandate from the people of Queensland to allow uranium mining as they explicitly ruled it out before the election.”

November 15, 2013 Posted by | Queensland, uranium, wastes | 1 Comment

New Senator, Nova Peris, speaks out against Muckaty nuclear waste dump plan

Peris,-NovaSenator Nova Peris OAM. Maiden speech, 13 November 2013 CRIKEY, BOB GOSFORD | NOV 13, 2013   “……….. Aboriginal Australians are symbolic of triumph over adversity. We represent knowledge and wisdom held in land and country.

Because in our hearts we know that we do not own Mother Earth, the Earth owns us……..

I acknowledge I am a Senator elected to represent all Territorians— and I fully intend to discharge this duty to the best of my ability and I will always put our concerns – the concerns of Territorians first and foremost.

I believe it is my duty and the duty of all members elected to the Parliament to answer questions and deal with issues honestly and openly.

One such matter that is a very contentious issue is the location of Australia’s proposed nuclear waste facility. Recently my Larrakia uncle Eric Fejo who is also here today spoke about the previous Government’s decision to locate the proposed nuclear waste facility on Muckaty Station in the Barkly region of the Northern Territory.

He reminded a public forum that during the Apology to the Stolen Generations it was stated that Governments were wrong to make laws and policies that inflict profound grief, suffering and loss on Aboriginal people.

That is what the Muckaty decision is currently doing. It is dividing a community of traditional owners. This policy is inflicting grief.

I strongly urge my fellow parliamentary colleagues to reconsider their support for the current location of this facility.

Of course Australia needs a nuclear waste management facility. But its location must be based on science not politics……..

I acknowledge I am a Senator elected to represent all Territorians— and I fully intend to discharge this duty to the best of my ability and I will always put our concerns – the concerns of Territorians first and foremost.

I believe it is my duty and the duty of all members elected to the Parliament to answer questions and deal with issues honestly and openly.

One such matter that is a very contentious issue is the location of Australia’s proposed nuclear waste facility. Recently my Larrakia uncle Eric Fejo who is also here today spoke about the previous Government’s decision to locate the proposed nuclear waste facility on Muckaty Station in the Barkly region of the Northern Territory.

He reminded a public forum that during the Apology to the Stolen Generations it was stated that Governments were wrong to make laws and policies that inflict profound grief, suffering and loss on Aboriginal people.

That is what the Muckaty decision is currently doing. It is dividing a community of traditional owners. This policy is inflicting grief.

I strongly urge my fellow parliamentary colleagues to reconsider their support for the current location of this facility.

Of course Australia needs a nuclear waste management facility. But its location must be based on science not politics….

I also particularly thank former Prime Minister Julia Gillard from the bottom of my heart for her faith in me and for giving me the chance to become involved – my duty now is to work hard and make a real difference….

November 15, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Northern Territory, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Japanese nuclear expert gives Queensland a warning on uranium exporting, and nuclear waste

Top Japan nuke expert warns Qld on uranium  7 News,  MARTY SILK -November 13, 2013 Mining uranium is far more dangerous to human health than nuclear power, a top Japanese expert warns. Japan Atomic Energy Commission vice chairman Dr Tatsujiro Suzuki says Queensland’s government must be extremely careful if it allows mining to go ahead.

The state wants to begin assessing uranium mining applications from next year after lifting a longstanding ban.

But Dr Suzuki warns that countries must plan every aspect of uranium mining meticulously. “Mining actually poses larger risks than reactors, even when there are not accidents,” he told AAP at the Australia-Japan Dialogue in Brisbane on Wednesday.
“Uranium miners are regularly exposed, there’s high exposure in areas around mines and the potential for atmospheric contamination.
“You have to be very, very careful.”

exclamation-Dr Suzuki says the key issue is how to safely store more than 1300 spent nuclear fuel rods. Japan is set to run out of nuclear waste storage capacity within six years and is looking to sign deals with uranium suppliers who are prepared to help it dispose of radioactive waste.

He added that an independent regulator should also ensure that Queensland uranium exports were only used for peaceful purposes.
Australia signed a deal to export uranium to India last year and Dr Suzuki said it couldn’t be certain that the uranium was only being used for civilian purposes.

India hasn’t signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and access to Australian uranium could help free up its domestic reserves for use in nuclear weapons.

November 14, 2013 Posted by | Queensland, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Government may target Western Australia for radioactive trash dump

nuclear-medicine Mr Sweeney said substantial nuclear waste was created at Australia’s nuclear reactor Lucas Heights, 31 kilometres from the Sydney CBD, and not medical waste from cancer treatments and scientific research as the government has previously stated.

“Nuclear medicine is not the driver,” Mr Sweeney said.

“It’s deeply misrepresentative. The government has been asked not to use this language.” 

Lucas-wastesWestern Australia in nation’s nuclear waste dump sights   SMH, Leanne Nicholson, 12 Nov 13 Australia’s nuclear waste could be dumped in Western Australia if a Federal Court challenge by traditional owners against a Northern Territory site selected by the federal government is successful.

WA, the only state with a dedicated low-level nuclear waste storage facility, has been identified by leading environmental group Australian Conservation Foundation as a legitimate option for a national nuclear waste dump if a challenge by Muckaty Station traditional owners is upheld.

Traditional owners will contest plans for the proposed low-level and intermediate level nuclear waste dump, selected by the then-Gillard government in 2010, on the Aboriginal freehold landholding, also known as Warlmanpa.  The challenge states the nomination of Muckaty is invalid and the Northern Land Council did not correctly identify the traditional owners, did not consult adequately and did not get proper consent before recommending the site.

ACF’s nuclear free campaign director Dave Sweeney told Fairfax Media that if the challenge was successful, WA – previously named as a possible site for nuclear waste storage – would be considered a feasible location. “Clearly if Muckaty falls over,” Mr Sweeney said, “everywhere is going to come back into the frame and WA wasn’t ticked off but it was in the frame. Continue reading

November 13, 2013 Posted by | wastes, Western Australia | Leave a comment


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