Danger of nuclear stations to coastal communities, Aboriginal people and to water
Maralinga is also raised because of the interest it attracts as a potential nuclear waste dump location. The logic appears to be that it is already contaminated, so it perfect for more radioactive waste. CBAA dismiss this logic outright.
Clean Bight Alliance Australia Submission to: Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission SA
Clean Bight Alliance Australia is a local community group based in Ceduna on the far west coast of SA. Members have a strong interest in the ongoing health of the marine and coastal areas of the Great Australian Bight and the Eyre Peninsular. CBAA advocate for appropriate use of the region’s natural marine resources and educate the community on the risks associated with industrialization of the marine environment.
Extract “……CBAA take the position that there are no suitable areas in South Australia for a nuclear reactor. Currently our position is supported by legislation as Nuclear Power generation in South Australia is prohibited by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 Act and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998. CBAA strongly encourages the Royal Commission to appreciate the background to these important pieces of legislation and implications if these were to be further altered or weakened.
Furthermore Nuclear power generation requires large quantities of water for cooling – typically 36.3 to 65.4 million liters per reactor per day. 1 South Australia is known as one of the driest states on one of the driest continents. No inland areas are suitable for the establishment of a nuclear reactor for generating electricity. The amount of water needed can definitely not be sourced with current reservoirs and transportation of the large amounts of sea water required would be unfeasible and costly. Locating a Nuclear Reactor in South Australia is restricted to coastal areas.
However this is also highly unsuitable as siting a nuclear reactor would conflict with other key industries (see below Q 3.17) and add unnecessary environmental impacts to South Australia’s coastal areas and marine ecologies, which are already under pressure from a range of factors2 . Even if a Nuclear Reactor located on SA’s coast utilized the less damaging cooling tower system to minimize sea water usage and heated water discharge the impacts on marine life would still be at a questionable scale.
CBAA’s diverse membership includes members of the local Aboriginal community who have strong affiliation and understanding of the coastal environment. CBAA’s members may have unique local knowledge but they are not unique in their outlook. South Australia is home to multiple Aboriginal communities, many who have long standing connections with coastal areas. Many groups express their cultural connection to coastal areas and coastal waters, emphasising their strong importance in physical cultural heritage, traditional economies, a place of bushfoods and medicine. This rich cultural understanding which has continued for thousands of generations must be considered in any suitability for nuclear reactor site selection…….
Restricted access to a nuclear reactor site means that cultural groups and the general public would be locked out from an area during the reactor’s lifespan – which could range from 30-60 years. This restricted access could extend well beyond this time period if there was to be any problems during decommissioning. In this way a nuclear reactor located in South Australia could irreversibly impact on physical cultural heritage, cultural knowledge and any native title rights gained which are protected by the Aboriginal Heritage Act and Native Title Act.
South Australia has been put up as suitable location for nuclear reactors because of its relatively stable geology. However any stability in regards to earthquakes is countered by the unknown impacts of climate change and a likely increase in extreme conditions in South Australia3 . Adequate predictions on sea level rises and how reactor technologies would cope with high temperatures would need careful technological consideration. There are already examples of Nuclear Reactor’s malfunctioning in other parts of the world because of storms, drought, high temperatures, fire and restricted water supplies –all of which are likely to increase in severity and frequency.4 The perceived benefits are outweighed by these risks, again making a nuclear reactor for energy production in South Australia unfeasible…….
South Australia and NEM are far better suited to an increases in renewable capacity. Flexible, on demand sources are required to compete in South Australian electricity market. Wind and Solar PV are 5 | P a g e influencing this change in the market. Concentrated solar thermal with storage could further provide South Australia with on demand dispatchable energy. There are no Commercial reactor technologies suitable for off-grid setting and again an investment in renewable technologies would be a far better use of South-Australian tax-payer funds…..
The ongoing impact of mass dispossession of Anangu people because of nuclear testing on their traditional homelands has very real consequences today, for many residing on the Far Coast of SA. These include ongoing trauma and disruption of Anangu identity and resultant substance abuse and social issues. These issues are raised to illustrate that “physical conditions” cannot be separated from social consequence and as such broader costs need to be carefully assessed. Maralinga is also raised because of the interest it attracts as a potential nuclear waste dump location. The logic appears to be that it is already contaminated, so it perfect for more radioactive waste. CBAA dismiss this logic outright. Locating any type of radioactive waste, whether local or international, lowlevel or high at Maralinga is illogical because: · There still needs to be recognition of the suffering and ongoing impacts already incurred on Aboriginal people by nuclear testing. · Already high levels of anxiety and suspicion around unknown impacts of radiation exposure (because of inadequate monitoring and research) are likely to be heightened by presence of nuclear waste and additional risks of radiation. · Tyranny of distance means that any risks associated with nuclear waste transport are greatly exascerbated.. ….. http://nuclearrc.sa.gov.au/app/uploads/2015/08/CleanBight-Alliance-Australia-14-08-2015.pdf
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