Australian news, and some related international items

Still time to make submissions on ARPANSA’s draft Code on Radioactive Wastes

Greg Bannon, Flinders Local Action, 28 Feb 18

ARPANSA is inviting comments from “people and organisations interested in the disposal of solid radioactive waste to tell us their views on this topic”.  The deadline was extended from last Friday until this coming Friday, 2nd March at 5.00 pm.

The issue is tied up with future disposal, not just storage, of intermediate level radioactive waste (ILRW).  At the moment I reckon the code only allows for “near the surface disposal of solid radioactive waste”.  Bruce Wilson from DIIS has said that there is currently no plan for disposal of ILRW, only temporary storage.  If ANSTO, for example, wants to dispose of ILRW deep underground there will need to be a change in the code to allow for it, including new guidelines, such as stable geology, impervious sub-strata, e.g. granite, and so on.  Even though ARPANSA is rightly saying this change has nothing to do with the current NRWMF sites selection process, it could mean that in the future the operator of the NRWMF, holding ILRW at ground level on a “temporary” basis, might be able to apply to convert the site to include a deep underground burial facility.

I think this may be more relevant to the Kimba region than Wallerberdina.  I simply can’t see how the geology of the western side of the Flinders, between the Ranges and Lake Torrens, with known seismic activity and delta-type outflows from the Ranges, could be consistent with stable geology.

If the NRWMF goes ahead, wherever it goes ahead – Kimba or Wallerberdina  – it should be clear that any changes adopted should not apply to those sites.  We are now into our third year of this process and have been dealing with it on the basis of what we’ve been told – that the sites are for low level only with intermediate on a temporary basis only!

February 28, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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