Australian news, and some related international items

Some straight questions asked on nuclear wastes – to Australia’s government authorities


From ENuFF SA (Everyone for a Nuclear Free Future SA) , Pt. Augusta February 8, 2017

We would like some straight answers to the following questions:

The current National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) is the third attempt in a decade to locate a site for a national radioactive waste dump:

Question: Are any designs for a dump planned?  The last shipment of nuclear waste returned to Australia following reprocessing in France, in late 2015. It was categorised by the French authorities as high-level waste (HLW). The SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Report (May 2016) states on page 95 that reprocessed waste is high level. But ANSTO classifies this highly hazardous material as intermediate-level waste (ILW).

Question: Why do the Australian agencies responsible for nuclear waste mislead the public about radiation levels?

Question: Why is spent fuel from both the retired HIFAR and currently operating OPAL reactor not classified HLW? Is it the only spent fuel in the world to be classified ILW?

Question: Would ANSTO explain how the radioisotopes in spent fuel from its research reactors differ from that of nuclear power reactors? When nuclear waste is reprocessed, waste from other countries is mixed together in the reprocessing liquor. Returning material would, therefore, come from other reactors in France (or the UK) or other client country’s reactors, as well as Australia’s.

Question: When will this be explained to the public? Reprocessing of spent fuel cannot remove ALL of the fissile material: Plutonium and Uranium.

Question: Why, then, does information provided by ANSTO state that there is no fissile material remaining in the returned reprocessed waste? And, when will the agency correct this misinformation?

Question: For how long is spent fuel stored at Lucas Heights before transporting it overseas?

Question: What quantity of spent fuel is currently stored at Lucas Heights, and how is it stored?

Question: Is it the case that the Lucas Heights facility holds about 50% of Australia’s nuclear waste, the  remainder being held by the Defence Department and CSIRO?

Question: Therefore, where is it intended to dispose of the remainder of Australia’s waste not currently  held at Lucas Heights?

Question: What type of research is conducted at the Lucas Heights OPAL reactor?

Question: Is food irradiation occurring in Australia?

ANSTO plans a significant increase in its production of medical isotopes (in particular Molybdenum-99 MO-  99) at the OPAL reactor.

Question: When will ANSTO, and other agencies, explain how much the OPAL waste stream would grow  as a result of this production of isotopes for export to other countries?  ANSTO is reported to be planning to build a Synroc facility.

Question: Where would a Synroc facility be located; at Lucas Heights or elsewhere?

Question: Does such a project indicate that Australia would no longer transport spent fuel overseas forreprocessing? Or, is it for repackaging already returned reprocessed waste?

Question: When will ANSTO, ARPANSA and the Department of Industry etc. clarify exactly what waste isplanned for permanent disposal at a proposed NRWMF and what is planned for storage at such a facility?

Question: Furthermore, when will ANSTO et al clarify for how long any stored waste would be locatedat, or nearby, such a facility?

Question: Are licences for disposal/storage of any of the national waste time-limited or not? (e.g. 100,  1,000 or 10,000 years)

Question: Will ANSTO and ARPANSA or the government explain to the SA people, particularly those in the Flinders Ranges and Eyre Peninsular, that the community nearby Lucas Heights, when consulted,  rejected permanent disposal of waste at that site?

Question: Do the agencies responsible for the nation’s radioactive waste not agree that it is a pointless and unnecessarily hazardous exercise to transport HLW (called ILW in Australia) to temporarily store it for up to 100 years, when it could remain at its present site?

To relocate this waste for an indefinite period is the height of irresponsibility when the Regulatory Guide for Licensing a Radioactive Waste Storage and Disposal Facility (ARPANSA) states that such waste, “must not be less than 10,000 years for disposal of ILW.”



February 10, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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