Australian news, and some related international items

Contradictions and problems in the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce process

Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia, Submission 29 – Extract from Attachment 1 Anica Niepraschk 

Arising challenges

Even though the current process is still in its early stages, it already either faces new challenges or has not yet dealt with older ones. Despite repeated calls by civil society organisations for an independent Inquiry into the full range of radioactive waste management options available, the government has instead continued its preferred option of a centralised radioactive waste facility. This leaves the current process vulnerable to criticism that the waste should remain at the sites where it is produced rather than being transported long distances through Australia, posing the risks of accidents on the way and the risk of an out of sight – out of mind approach in a remote area far away from expert oversight.

A continuing concern remains the federal government’s perception of urgency to solve the siting challenge, which is used as a justification for avoiding a more time consuming approach based on extensive consultation and consensus. Other countries have recognised that the provision of realistic timeframes is an essential condition in successful siting processes. The Australian government, despite the last 20 years of unsuccessful, rushed and pressured approaches, has again chosen to be bound by a rigid and self-imposed timeframe, trying to resolve the siting in around 18 months.

The current National Radioactive Waste Management Act (2012) is democratically compromised, as it provides for key legislation to safeguard cultural heritage and the environment as well as state legislation to be overridden in order to declare a site. SA, WA, Victoria and the NT all have state legislation in place prohibiting the storage or even transportation of radioactive waste from outside the state or territory. The federal government’s call for all Australian landowners to consider making a site nomination has failed to address this conflict of undermining existing laws and a ‘voluntary’ process.

April 29, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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