Australian news, and some related international items

Despite local opposition, Australian government still planning for nuclear waste dump in rural South Australia

Planning is continuing for a nuclear waste disposal site in the South Australian outback, despite opposition from local residents.

  ABC North and West By Gary-Jon Lysaght 17 Feb 18  The Federal Government has shortlisted two sitesat Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula and one at Barndioota, south of Lake Torrens, near Hawker. The site that is chosen will become a permanent facility for low-level nuclear waste, and will temporarily hold intermediate-level waste.

The intermediate-level waste is currently being held at Lucas Heights, in Sydney’s south.

Barndioota is a gazetted area, and was a town between 1883 and 1929. Locals from Quorn and Hawker, the two communities closest to the Barndioota site, have been vocally opposing the site since planning began in 2015.

“We can see no reason why you’d bring stuff that’s temporarily stored somewhere else … to a completely new site that hasn’t even been built,” resident Greg Bannon said.

Mr Bannon is chairman of the Flinders Local Action Group, a community based organisation aimed at highlighting the problems with a nuclear waste storage facility in the Flinders Ranges.

He said the facility would have a significant impact on tourism, which was a chief economic driver for the Flinders Ranges.

“It’ll create a perception from tourists that they don’t want to go there,” Mr Bannon said.

“We think this facility is totally at odds with anything that’s promoted for the Flinders Ranges.”

Sacred women’s site in area The Adnyamathanha are the traditional owners of Barndioota, and have a sacred Aboriginal women’s site in the region. Enise March is the site’s custodian and said she had been astonished to hear the region was being considered for a nuclear waste disposal facility. “I received that message at 2 o’clock in the morning and I was shocked, extremely shocked,” she said.
“I felt as though I’d been hit in the back of the head with an axe.”

Region seismically active, ‘worst place’ for facility
The Barndioota site, and the entire Flinders Ranges, is considered seismically active.

Flinders University emeritus professor in geology Chris Vonderborch said because of this, it was the worst place to put a nuclear waste facility.  “It seems to tick all the wrong boxes for a safe disposal site,” he said.  “If you look at past earthquakes around Australia, they’ll line up and down the front of the Flinders Ranges. “It’s an area that can have earthquakes.”

Professor Vonderborch said if the facility was built, the nuclides from it could form a surface sediment on Lake Torrens. “Anything that goes in there comes to the surface, or gets washed in to the surface, and then it’s got a very good chance of blowing who knows where, towards Port Augusta or whatever,” he said.

What nuclear waste will be stored?

Low-level waste Emits radiation at levels that generally require minimal shielding during handling, transport and storage
Examples include paper, plastic, gloves, cloths and filters which contain small amounts of radioactivity
Could include items, such as test tubes, that have come into contact with nuclear medicine

Intermediate Waste Emits a higher level of radiation and requires additional shielding
Generated from radiopharmaceutical production and reactor operations
For example, steel rods that come from the reactors   Source: ANSTO

February 17, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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