ANSTO admits that Federal waste plan is for reactor generated wastes, and that no longterm disposal plan exists
Who’d want to dump Australia’s nuclear waste here? Well, this guy. At Kimba in the heart of the country, a community is divided – in one case literally so – over a plan to deposit the national stockpile of radioactive waste, Guardian, Max Opray, 4 Apr 17 “…..Hefin Griffiths, chief nuclear officer at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, says the facility is needed for the organisation’s gradually accumulating stockpile of radioactive waste at Lucas Heights, where measures are being rolled out to temporarily increase storage space at the 70-hectare site, which is reaching capacity this year.
According to Griffiths, most the waste earmarked for the new facility would be of low-level radioactivity, such as clothes worn by people working in nuclear medicine, or soil now stored at Woomera.
That would only be hazardous for a “short period”, he says, but the intermediate-level waste needs to be stored for far longer. “We’ve got reprocessed residues that have come back from France which will remain radioactive for many thousands of years,” he says.
The returned waste consists of 20 canisters containing 170 litres each, generated by the High Flux Australian reactor, which ran for nearly 50 years before being decommissioned in 2007.
Intermediate-level waste will continue to be generated by the Open Pool Australian Lightwater research reactor and the under-development Synroc waste treatment plant.
The proposed nuclear waste management facility would hold this intermediate waste above-ground for a few decades until a longer term solution can be found. Griffiths says another structure along the lines of the $5.3bn deep-storage facility in Finland will eventually need to be built.
As for the facility that would hold the waste in the meantime, Griffiths says only a detailed technical assessment could confirm Kimba’s suitability, but proximity to agricultural land and the 1,700km journey from Lucas Heights would not be insurmountable obstacles.
Craig Wilkins, the chief executive of the Conservation Council of South Australia, argues a study should be undertaken on the prospect of storing the waste at Lucas Heights, close to nuclear experts, rather than “out of sight, out of mind”.
“We also have concerns about how incredibly divisive this process is on communities already doing it tough,” he says. “When you have individual landowners putting it forward to kickstart the local conversation it pits neighbour against neighbour.
“Last time it nearly tore Kimba apart. It is clear from last time there is significant community opposition.”
Successive federal governments over decades have failed to lock down a remote-area site to store nuclear waste because of regional opposition, and in a separate process the SA Labor government has struggled to sell a plan to develop a high-level nuclear waste storage facility, with a citizen’s jury last year resoundingly rejecting the concept.
Kimba was first floated as a potential location by the Liberal federal member for Grey, Rohan Ramsay, who in 2015 volunteered his property near the town before it was rejected owing to perceived conflict of interest………..https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/04/whod-want-to-dump-australias-nuclear-waste-here-well-this-guy?CMP=share_btn_tw
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