Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear power advocates are running out of fuel

Nuclear power advocates are running out of fuel

The diminishing band of nuclear power fans had some rare good news recently. Two of the leading designs for new nuclear power plants — the AP1000, designed by US company Westinghouse, and the EPR, developed by Areva in France — achieved criticality (that is, the state where nuclear fuel sustains a fission chain reaction) in June. Both the plants are in China, at Sanmen and Taishan respectively.

But good news for nuclear power is never unmixed, and that’s certainly the case here. The construction process was as overtime and over-budget as usual, though not as badly as in the West, where construction of similar plants is running as much as a decade behind schedule. In the course of this protracted process, both Westinghouse and Areva have gone bankrupt.

These plants will require a fair bit of operating experience before it can be said whether they actually function as designed. Since the design took place in the 1980s and 1990s, the latest nuclear power plants have the unfortunate distinction of being simultaneously untried and obsolescent.

In the decades since the design process of Generation III and Generation III+ nuclear plants began, the technology of renewable energy generation has changed radically. The cost of solar photovoltaic cells has fallen from $30 per watt in the early 1980s to 30 cents a watt today, a factor of 100. The cost of wind power has declined by “only” a factor of 10 over the same period, but the outcome is costs far lower than that of new nuclear.

Outside China there are now only two AP1000 reactors under construction, both at Vogtle in the US state of Georgia. Another two-reactor plant in South Carolina was abandoned after the expenditure of billions of dollars. There are also two EPR reactors under construction, at Flamanville in France and Olkiluoto in Finland, both far behind schedule. Finally, there’s a new plant proposed for Hinkley Point in the UK, which seems unlikely ever to happen, despite an absurdly favorable deal from the UK government.

India has held out the prospect of a rescue with statements of intent for a six-unit AP1000 plant to be built in Gujarat and a similar-sized EPR plant in Mahrashtra. These massive projects, similar to proposals for a dozen or more “Ultra Mega” coal fired power plants of 4000 GW, seem unlikely ever to proceed. The primary object seems to be the announcement of the project rather than its construction and completion.

There’s another downside to the completion of the Sanmen and Taishan plants. One of the favorite claims of nuclear advocates is that there are lots of plants being constructed in many countries. But each project completion reduces the number under construction and hardly anyone is starting new projects. Many countries are reaching the end of their construction pipeline.

The World Nuclear Association lists 50 projects currently under construction, down from more than 60 a few years ago. Nearly all of these were started in 2015 or earlier and most are expected to be finished by 2021. Unless new projects are started, that will mark the end of Generation III nuclear power construction in China, Korea and France, leaving only India with a substantial and continuing program.

For the true believers, hopes are now pinned on new technologies, including Generation IV reactors and “small modular reactors”. Gen IV projects have been around for decades, and seem about as likely to work as controlled nuclear fusion. Small modular reactors are being developed in China and the US, but there’s no reason to suppose they will be cheaper than traditional larger reactors. In any case, they are not going to be deployed on any large scale before the 2030s, by which time the cost of renewables will have fallen even further.

But none of this is going to shake the faith of the majority of nuclear power advocates in Australia. Most of them, like Tony Abbott, are climate science denialists. Their assertions on energy issues are statements of cultural affiliation, rather then factual claims about the world, open to being refuted by contrary evidence. Even when nuclear construction stops altogether they will still be blaming the failure on greenies, the United Nations and Agenda 21.

July 13, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) : strong Aboriginal resistance to nuclear waste dump plan

They [Government] are not telling the truth about the consultations, we know damn well they haven’t got broad community support. They’re not even talking about the broader community, they’re just talking about the few people in town who support it. There are lots more people out bush who don’t want the dump, it won’t just affect one area, its the whole of South Australia they need to talk to.” 

In areas struggling for funding for basic access to and upgrades of facilities, it is highly likely some community members will be swayed by income they would not otherwise receive.

The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) (Submission No 71)  welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the inquiry into the site selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia.

 ANFA does not support the establishment of a national radioactive waste management facility and urges the government to look at all waste production and management options before imposing a facility on any community. 
The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) formed in 1997, bringing together Aboriginal people from across Australia with environmental non-government organisations and public health groups. The Alliance provides a platform for Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people around the country to raise their concerns with the nuclear industry. Many people involved are actively contesting the development of high-impact projects on their homelands; from uranium mines to radioactive waste dumps and fracking proposals. Since ANFA’s inception the scope of issues and the number of affected communities has grown. ANFA members now represent most Australian states and territories.
Many people have passed away, great people who spent too much of their lives fighting to protect their country. We remember and honour them and their love for country and community.
We have long memories; we remember the atomic weapons test at Maralinga and Emu Fields and the ongoing denial around the lost lives and health impacts for Aboriginal people. Many people were displaced from their homelands and there is still intergenerational sickness. There has been no justice following these horrific weapons testing programs despite the huge impact on human health and cultural disconnect. We remember the broken promises from uranium miners, the accidents, the leaks and the changes to our different countries.
A 2009 European Commission report1 recognises the significant global inequality resulting from the fact that 70% of the world’s uranium resources are located beneath the lands of Indigenous peoples while the consumers of the electricity produced from that uranium are in developed countries. ANFA is part of a strong history of Aboriginal resistance to the nuclear industry. Aboriginal-led campaigns in Australia have seen uranium mining projects halted and plans for a radioactive waste dump frustrated and stalled. The nuclear industry continues to target Indigenous land for poisonous projects and Aboriginal people continue to resist.
The industry and the government keep ignoring and dismiss the cost of this industry – we wonder who is going to count the loss of lives in the future to come, the cancers and sickness and the lands that have been polluted.
Kevin Buzzacott, Sue Coleman Haseldine, Adam Sharah, President Co-Chair Co-Chair Australian Nuclear Free Alliance 
a) The financial compensation offered to applicants for the acquisition of land under the Nominations of Land Guidelines Financial gain for the landholder/s of a single site is in no way an appropriate means of identifying a site for a radioactive waste management facility.
ANFA is deeply concerned that, as in the case of the proposed site at Wallerberdina Station in the Flinders Ranges, a site may be nominated by an absentee landlord with no ties to the local community and apparently no concern for the division and stress that the decision creates.
 In any case, financial gain for the landholder/s of a single site should not be the first step in a site selection process.
 In no way should the landholder/s of a single site profit from causing distress and division to a community, especially one rich in Indigenous culture and history.
b) how the need for ‘broad community support’ has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including: i) the definition of ‘broad community support’, and
The lack of a definition of “broad community support” is a significant cause for concern. To date, there is no definition of community and no definition of broad. It is unclear whether Traditional Owners not living in the area of a proposed facility will be considered to be part of the community.
 It is unclear how “broad community support” will be measured and by whom, despite claims by Minister Canavan of “majority support so far in the communities around Wallerberdina Station and Kimba”.
2 Geographical and cultural boundaries should be clearly defined before any site selection process begins.
ii) how “broad community support” has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage. Clearly, “broad community support” should be defined before it is measured.
 An Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) poll was undertaken in Kimba asking “Do you support a nomination for a site being progressed to Phase 2 for further consultation for a National Radioactive Low/Intermediate Level Waste Management Facility?”. It reported a 2
57% yes response. Despite this, a media release3 from the Minister for Resources Matt Canavan dated 27 June 2017 stated that “we now know that across the community there is broad support”. This survey did not include the specific views of the Traditional Owners from the area who should have been consulted from the start. 
The Adnyamathanha people, who are the Traditional Owners of the Barndioota site, and their representative body the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) have repeatedly expressed clear opposition. ANFA urges that the voices of Traditional Owners are heard and respected at an early stage in the process.
 Sue Haseldine-Coleman, a senior Kokatha-Mula woman and long time ANFA member whose lands have long been affected by the nuclear industry through historical weapons testing disputes claims of broad community support for the proposal and site: “They [Government] are not telling the truth about the consultations, we know damn well they haven’t got broad community support. They’re not even talking about the broader community, they’re just talking about the few people in town who support it. There are lots more people out bush who don’t want the dump, it won’t just affect one area, its the whole of South Australia they need to talk to.”
“The consultation process keeps coming back to South Australia. They tried here and people said no, they tried the Northern Territory and people said no. Now they’re trying here again and we’re still saying no. Not here, not anywhere.”4
The role of government as proponent is biased and has consistently been a cause for misleading or biased information. One of the major concerns is the misinformation that a national radioactive waste facility is necessary for nuclear medicine. Communities are being told that without the facility, people will miss out on treatment. This is patently untrue as people in Australia currently have access to nuclear medicine procedures 5 .
 The waste proposal has been a major cause of division and distress in the affected communities, with many instances of lifelong friends ceasing to speak over their stance on this issue.
Amongst the affected communities is skepticism about the research undertaken on behalf of the government. The April 2016 Department Of Industry, Science And Innovation National Radioactive Waste management Facility Community Sentiment Survey Wave 2 Report Of Findings undertaken by ORIMA Research6 claimed that 65% of the general population of the Barndioota community were not opposed to the process continuing. The Flinders Local
 4 2018, Coleman Hasledine, S., personal communication, April 7th.
 6 unity%20Sentiment%20Surveys%20Report.pdf
Action Group undertook their own survey of their community and found that only 16% of the community was not opposed.7
The definition of community is a key issue and should be clearly defined before any progress is made on a proposal.
 Recognition that local Aboriginal engagement with the siting process is vital and should be broad and respectful with a right to veto before the proposal progresses.
c) how any need for Indigenous support has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including how Indigenous support has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage;
ANFA has previously raised concerns about the far reaching powers of the National Radioactive Waste Management Act, including that the Aboriginal Heritage Act is not taken into consideration during the site selection phase.8
Several clauses within the Act are contrary to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Australia endorsed in 2009. The Declaration has a provision promoting effective measures to be taken by the State, in regards to hazardous materials on Indigenous land. The Declaration reads: “States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of Indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.”9 The emphasis on the consent of Indigenous peoples is clear.
The Adnyamanthanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) has voiced its opposition to the siting of the facility on its land. In February 2017 ATLA CEO Vince Coulthard confirmed ATLA remains “totally opposed” to a nuclear facility at Barndioota. “The government said they would not put the dump where there was community opposition, well we oppose it and as the peak body for the Traditional Owners of the Flinders Ranges area, the government must stop this dump based on our opposition,” Mr Coulthard said.10
Given this, there should be no siting of a NRWMF on their land, and this conclusion should have been reached at the beginning of the process rather than subject the Traditional Owners of the land to the stress and division caused by it.
 In November 2015 a statement was released stating that “Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners weren’t consulted. Even Traditional Owners who live next to the proposed dump site at Yappala Station weren’t consulted. The nomination was made public two weeks ago and
 7 FLAG_survey.pdf?1522717805
8 See Part 3 Selecting the Site for a Facility / 13 Application of Commonwealth Laws
9 1 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, art. 29(2):
even now, the government hasn’t contacted Yappala residents or Villiwarina Aboriginal Corporation. This is an insult.”11
 Adnyamathanha Elder Enice Marsh reinforced this position in May 2016, stating “I think it’s totally disrespectful that the government haven’t come to me or the Traditional Owners in the first instance or when they announced [that Barndioota was the only site shortlisted] on Friday.”12
The Traditional Owners of the Kimba area have told ANFA committee members that they have not been consulted in the site selection process at all.
Traditional Owners should be consulted before any nomination is accepted or made.
d) whether and/or how the Government’s ‘community benefit program’ payments affect broad community and Indigenous community sentiment; 
The community benefit program is perceived by many as a divide and conquer tactic. All sites currently under consideration are regional or remote. As with many such places, economic development and retention of residents is a matter of high concern. In areas struggling for funding for basic access to and upgrades of facilities, it is highly likely some community members will be swayed by income they would not otherwise receive.
 Indigenous members of the affected communities have reported a lack of transparency and accountability. They allege overpriced, shoddy workmanship was undertaken by government-selected tradespeople who spent much of the allocated funding on travel and associated costs. For the community benefit fund to actually benefit the community, local tradespeople should be prioritised by the recipients of the funding.
e) whether wider (Eyre Peninsula or state-wide) community views should be taken into consideration and, if so, how this is occurring or should be occurring;
 The proposal is for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility. As such, it is a national issue and ANFA believes that national views should be taken into consideration.
 All communities along potential transport routes should be informed and consulted, particularly First Nations peoples.
The current process lacks a definition of community. The definition of community and its boundaries should have been finalised before Phase 1 of the process, and not continue for, at this stage, almost three years.
11 15.pdf
f) any other related matters 
The three sites currently under consideration are all in South Australia. South Australia has legislation 13 that explicitly bans the establishment of radioactive waste management facilities. There is a lack of clarity and disclosure about how this legislation will be considered in the site selection process.
 There is no detail regarding the benefits (or costs) to communities where a site may be selected. There is a lack of information about how many jobs will be created, whether they are permanent, full time or part time and whether those jobs will go to members of the community or not.
Desktop studies purportedly undertaken prior to the Minister’s acceptance of a site nomination have not been made available to communities.
There has been no information regarding the possible costs to a community. This is in no small part due to the fact that the government is the proponent and consistently provides biased and misleading information. 
The Barndioota site in the Flinders Ranges is known to be a flood zone and subject to seismic activity. Any site nominated must be rejected on this basis before the nomination is formally accepted by the Minister and community consultation commences.
There is no justification for a radioactive waste management facility. ANFA strongly believes that an independent inquiry into the full ranges of options for management of the waste should be undertaken prior to subjecting any community to the stresses of a site selection process. This belief is echoed by environmental groups, faith groups, trade unions, Traditional Owners and others with whom we work.14
The 2017 national meeting of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, attended by over 100 Aboriginal community and civil society group representatives, unanimously agreed on a statement which read in part:
“Over the last twenty years, nuclear dump proposals in South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have been met with fierce community resistance, despite the divide and conquer tactics employed by governments. Right now communities near Wallerberdina in the Flinders Ranges and Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula continue to resist plans for a federal radioactive waste dump. What part of no doesn’t the government understand? There is no reason why Australia’s waste needs to move from the Lucas Heights facility south of Sydney. There is sufficient space, nuclear expertise and high security there to allow
 13 ROHIBITION)%20ACT%202000.aspx 14
time for an independent review of the best future management options – communities and country do not need to be threatened or pressured.”
Section 7(d) of the guidelines states that “In addition, once the facility is operational, the Act requires a National Repository Capital Contribution Fund with a minimum of $10 million to be held in the fund and used for the purposes of providing enhanced public services and/or infrastructure in the relevant State and Territory. These Funds may be drawn upon once the facility is operational.” We are concerned that $10 million will be far less than the cost of having a disposal facility in any area. Loss of tourism income and jobs and impacts on export agriculture need to be accounted for, as well as the tangible and intangible losses to Aboriginal culture and heritage.
 Section A5 of the guidelines states that “At the site identification phase, there will be a focus on ensuring that any potential site will have minimal negative impact on nearby communities, while at the same time ensuring that they benefit from the placement of the facility”. How will negative impacts and any benefits be gauged? Will communities’ perspectives be taken into account? How will intangible losses be accounted for? How will “nearby communities” be defined and will that include all communities along the transport route?
The Flinders Ranges is an iconic tourism area, of high cultural and archaeological significance, a flood zone and subject to seismic activity. Wallerberdina is rich in Adnyamathanha history, including Australia’s first registered songline and many artefacts. Kimba is a prime export agricultural region. Transportation vast distances from Lucas Heights increases the risk to more members of the public along the transport route.
ANFA is concerned that the current inquiry into the site selection process is happening at the same time as the review of the ARPANSA Code for the Management of Solid Radioactive Waste (1992). We welcome the review of the Code and hope that it will ensure the best possible management option for solid radioactive waste. From the outset, the communities of the Flinders Ranges and Eyre Peninsula have voiced concerns that the interim storage of intermediate level waste that is part of the current proposal may in fact be changed to permanent disposal at the chosen site. The intermediate level waste should be kept at Lucas Height until the best possible disposal option is identified. It makes sense that this is done after the completion of the Code review.
The draft ARPANSA Code says that “disposal facilities “are not expected to provide complete containment and isolation of the waste forever”. Currently there are Department assurances to affected communities that imply otherwise. ANFA is deeply concerned about the long term impacts this may have on aboriginal culture and heritage.
References DIIS, RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT: Nominations of Land: Guidelines November 2016,

Australian Government,National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 No. 29, 2012 as amended, NGO, Critique of the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012, WMA-Report-FINAL-March-2017.pdf 20Community%20Sentiment%20Surveys%20Report.pdf 0-%2010%20October%202017_0.pdf UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, art. 29(2):

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Advancing responsible radioactive waste management in Australia.

Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF Briefing note: March 2018


Radioactive waste management in Australia has been a contested, divisive and ultimately non-productive area of public policy for decades. The timing and circumstances are now conducive for adopting a revised approach that is more likely to advance responsible national radioactive waste management and agreed and lasting outcomes.

This approach to responsible radioactive waste management in Australia is founded on not imposing any federal facility on an unwilling community, acting in a manner consistent with both existing state and territory laws and leading international industry practise and ensuring high standards of extended federal interim storage at the two secured sites where the majority of the waste is sited pending an inclusive and robust examination of the range of long term future management options.

Scale and current context:

Australia holds around 4250 cubic metres of low level radioactive waste and 655 cubic metres of longlived intermediate level waste. Around 95% of this material is currently stored at two secured Federal sites. Nearly all of Australia’s intermediate level waste is held where it was created at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) Lucas Heights nuclear reactor facility in southern Sydney. This material is Australia’s highest level radioactive waste and is the most significant management challenge. Most of the low-level waste is at the Defence Department’s Woomera site in South Australia.

The National Radioactive Waste Management Project:

The current preferred federal plan involves the emplacement and covering of containerised low-level radioactive wastes and the above ground storage of long lived higher level waste at a single regional or remote site. There is no intention to recover the low-level material – it would be disposed of in-situ.

There are plans to remove the higher-level waste for deep geological disposal at a location yet to be determined after a period of between 20 to 100 years. The current approach to intermediate level waste management is not best international practice. Instead it is based on unnecessary transport and doublehandling and replacing above ground interim storage at ANSTO for above ground interim storage at a far less resourced regional facility.

Since April 2016 South Australia has been the only region under active consideration as a site for a federal radioactive waste facility. Three sites, one at Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges and two near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula, are under consideration. All sites are contested and there is considerable Aboriginal and wider community concern, opposition and division. Existing SA legislation, the Nuclear Waste Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000, makes the federal plan unlawful in SA. While the federal government could override any state legislative road-blocks doing so would be inconsistent with leading practise for facility siting and open to clear procedural and legal challenge.

The employment and economic opportunities provided by the federal radioactive waste plan are modest. There would be some short-term fencing and construction work and there are plans for twelve to fifteen (fte) security and maintenance jobs, an interim ‘disruption’ payment of two million dollars for community programs in the affected regions and a ‘community benefit fund’ of no more than ten million dollars (with no clear guidance on where, when or how the federal government would allocate this money).

Previous federal attempts over many years to impose a radioactive waste dump on multiple sites in regional South Australia and the Northern Territory have all failed.

The case for a revised approach: Extended interim storage and option assessment:

Leading civil society organisations including environment, public health, Indigenous and trade union groups all support an expert, open and independent Inquiry into the full range of radioactive waste management options.

Radioactive waste remains a concern for thousands of years and its management demands the highest quality decision making and information. Enhanced and extended interim storage at current federal facilities offers a policy circuit-breaker and, coupled with an options review, is the best way to identify and advance lasting and responsible radioactive waste management.

Extended interim storage, particularly at Lucas Heights given this site is already home to the most problematic wastes, is prudent and credible as:

ANSTO is already both the continuing producer of and home to virtually all of Australia’s higher level radioactive waste

 ANSTO has certainty of tenure, a secure perimeter and is monitored 24/7 by Australian federal police

 Storing the waste at ANSTO means the waste will be actively managed as operations at the site are licensed for a further three decades. It also keeps waste management on the radar of the facility/people with the highest level of nuclear expertise and radiation response capacity in Australia

 After community opposition and Federal Court action ended an earlier proposed waste site at Muckaty (NT) ANSTO constructed and commissioned a new purpose built on site store dedicated to housing reprocessed spent nuclear fuel waste which returned from France in late 2015. This Interim Waste Store has a conservative design life of forty years, its license is not time limited and it has (if required) regulatory approval to store these reprocessed wastes ‘until the availability of a final disposal option’.

 Extended interim storage at ANSTO helps reduce any political pressure to rush to find a ‘remote’ out of sight, out of mind dump site and increases the chances of advancing responsible management

 Storage at ANSTO has been previously identified as a credible and feasible option by ANSTO, nuclear industry lobby group the Australian Nuclear Association and, most importantly, the federal nuclear regulator, the Australian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

There is no regulatory or radiological impediment to extended interim storage at Lucas Heights. ANSTO’s facility is prohibited from becoming a permanent disposal site, however there are no comparable constraints on it as a site for extended storage.

Importantly, this approach also provides the ability to have a circuit breaker in this long running issue in the form of an evidence based and open review of the best long-term management options.

Nothing about the nuclear industry, especially nuclear waste, is clean or uncomplicated but extended interim federal storage – coupled with a wider robust public review of the full range of longer term management options – is the approach that is most likely to advance and realise lasting and responsible radioactive waste management in Australia.

July 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, reference | Leave a comment

Australian Conservation Foundation: need for nuclear waste dump in Flinders Ranges not proven, alternative options not explored.

The siting of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, is an issue of huge national importance. So is it fair that our small community is being asked to make such a serious decision based on limited and, we believe, misleading information?

The Australian Conservation Foundation Submission [no 70] to the Senate Economics References Committee on the selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia, Dave Sweeney | Nuclear Free Campaigner |

The Australian Conservation Foundation is Australia’s national environment organisation. We stand up, speak out and act for a world where reefs, rivers, forests and wildlife thrive

ACF welcomes this opportunity to comment on this important national issue and anyopportunity to talk to this submission before the Committee. The continuing and contested federal move to site a national radioactive waste management facility in regional South Australia has wide ranging and lasting impacts and requires the highest level of scrutiny, rigour and consideration.

ACF concerns over the federal radioactive waste plan and process include:

the federal government has never proven the need for the project or adequately  explored alternative management options.

In its current configuration the federal plan has failed to realise the justification threshold required for nuclear  actions or establish a compelling and robust case for the planned facility

 conflicts with the current federal plan and best international and industry practice. In particular, the proposed approach to intermediate level waste management is clearly not consistent with international best practice

 the proposed facility is unlawful in South Australia and the conflict between the federal plan and existing state law undermines commitments to the principle of a volunteered site and non-imposition

 the profound trust deficit and broad ranging community suspicion and mistrust that exists towards the facility, the process and the proponent

 given that the federal government and federal agencies are both the project proponent and project assessor the federal role is not disinterested or neutral

 federal moves to ‘harmonise’ approvals and licensing processes are viewed by many in the community as a fast-tracking exercise

the persistent failure of the project proponent to provide timely, detailed and transparent information or to respond to public information requests

 the persistent failure of the proponent to proactively challenge misinformation around the project, especially in relation to economic benefit, nuclear medicine and the nature of waste to be managed at any future facility

 the high level of community stress and tension related to the planned facility and  the divisive nature of the process

 the challenge to meaningfully engage affected Aboriginal peoples, transport corridor and wider communities and emergency services/first responders

 the need to ensure national stakeholders are recognised in the process

These issues are of critical importance to radioactive waste management and the current federal approach and highlight the need for the highest levels of scrutiny, evidence and procedural rigour. This has been lacking in the federal approach to date.

ACF notes that the Committee has resolved that it will only accept submissions that strictly address the inquiry’s terms of reference, with a particular focus on the appropriateness and thoroughness of the site selection process for a national radioactive waste storage facility.

ACF has specific concerns and comments as well as broader observations that are directly related to the national radioactive waste plan and process and to term of reference (f). We request the Committee adopt a broad construction and consider the wider context to this important national interest issue.

Should the Committee maintain that such issues are beyond its remit ACF would urge the Committee to explicitly identify these issues and this constraint and recommend that they be subject to future separate and dedicated scrutiny.

These broader concerns are key to resolving the current policy impasse and realising the goal of advancing responsible national radioactive waste management.

ACF maintains that there has been no compelling public health, radiological or national interest case made for the planned facility and that extended interim storage at existing federal facilities is possible, prudent and – coupled with a public options analysis – far more likely to realise a lasting solution to our radioactive waste management challenge.

In this context ACF offers the following comments for the Committee’s consideration. Continue reading

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Heather Baldock’s sycophantic submission supporting nuclear waste dump for Kimba

Heather Baldock (Submission No 64) to Senate Standing Committee on Economics Re – Appropriateness and thoroughness of the site selection process for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at Kimba  

As a long term local farmer of the Kimba district who has been very active in many local and regional community organisations, I am very excited by the opportunities that hosting the National radioactive low level disposal and intermediate storage facility would bring to our area. I was born here and have raised my family in this community, and I have family still living in the Kimba District including grandchildren.

I wish to address the Terms of Reference for this inquiry and am happy for this submission to be made public.

A) The financial compensation offered to applicants for the acquisition of land under the Nominations of Land Guidelines:

The financial compensation for the acquisition of land to be paid to the landowner, who voluntarily nominated property, is reasonable and a long way from excessive.

Calculations suggest that 4 x the land value for 100 hectares would be equivalent to about 10 years of farm production on that amount of land. So after 10 years the landowners would be losing out with this arrangement. For the two Kimba landowners it would not even cover their input costs for one cropping season.

There is also the intrusion of media and people from far and wide, not always in a friendly manner.

This underlines the fact that the landowners nominated their land, not for personal gain, rather as an opportunity for our community to diversify and increase employment in our low rainfall marginal farming area which is experiencing ongoing population decline.

B) How the need for ‘broad community support’ has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including;

a. The definition of ‘broad community support’ and b. How ‘broad community support’ has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage; a) I believe ‘broad community support’ is the majority (more than 50%) of the Kimba District supportive of hosting the National Facility, supplemented by the support of the majority of immediate neighbours to the proposed sites. Having said that, there is no precedent for broad community support for other ventures (business, exploration, social, tourism, mining etc) on private land.

b) To move to Phase 3 of the project there is the intention of holding another Electoral Commission managed vote for Kimba district residents. The vote to move to Phase 2 was arranged by the Kimba District Council at the request of Kimba people. The District Council extensively advertised the opportunity for locals who had vested interests and not enrolled to vote in Kimba council elections to apply to be included on the ‘CEO’s roll’. I would expect this option to apply for any future vote re the Waste Facility

An interesting point about the level of scrutiny that this particular land use has attracted is that there is no practice in our district of neighbours advising neighbours of, or of seeking their agreement to, any permanent or semipermanent changes in land use, infrastructure, commodities, farm practices, or moves to sell or lease land.

I don’t believe there is call for organisations, politicians, or individuals, or others outside of our district who don’t contribute to our local social and economic viability being considered in the ‘broad community support’.

  1. how any need for Indigenous support has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including how Indigenous support has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage;

While we have no Indigenous groups active in the Kimba district I am aware that the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) has been liaising with the Barngarla people and that leaders visited the localities of the two Kimba sites in March this year. I have not heard of any issues resulting from this visit.

  1. whether and/or how the Government’s ‘community benefit program’ payments affect broad community and Indigenous community sentiment;

    I strongly doubt that the Government’s Community Benefit Fund of $2million on moving to Phase 2 has influenced many people in their views. People publicly opposed, supportive, or keeping their own counsel, have seemed very keen to utilise the funding opportunity to support unprecedented social and economic benefits to our small rural community. The infrastructure and projects submitted to this Fund will be such that locals & visitors to Kimba will benefit. Many of these projects will also leverage employment opportunities when the successful projects are implemented.

I believe that people are only supportive of the NRWMF project if they feel firstly that the Facility poses no harm to their family’s and the district resident’s health or the environmental health of our region.

The economic and social benefits are secondary, albeit very attractive to have such benefits to our small declining community, heavily reliant on agriculture in a low rainfall area. The minimum $10million Community Capital Contribution, and other infrastructure and services that will be required as part of the project, will have influenced people’s consideration of the project. The NRWMF project provides a unique opportunity for our community to diversify its industry base, secure additional employment and services that the Government will need to provide in support of the Facility. Many in our community see this opportunity as very attractive and very supportive of the town’s long term sustainability.

There should be such benefits to any community prepared to make an informed decision to host a National Facility.

E) whether wider (Eyre Peninsula or state-wide) community views should be taken into consideration and, if so, how this is occurring or should be occurring;

The Kimba community has dedicated many months towards becoming informed about many aspects of the proposed Waste Facility. The wider Eyre Peninsula and even the state of SA have not had the same opportunities to become so learned. Therefore the community outside of Kimba is not in a position to make an informed decision as to whether Kimba should host a Facility.

Also the facility will have no impact on the wellbeing or lifestyles of wider communities. Kimba hosting a Facility would have no detrimental impacts on businesses in wider communities although it may be advantageous to some contractors outside of Kimba in the construction phase of a Facility.

Activists and politicians who have been using the NRWMF project as a vehicle for their anti-nuclear stance should not be entitled to any say in the vote of whether Kimba moves to Phase 3.

F) any other related matters.

The whole process from the time of the Federal Government advertising the opportunity for landowners to nominate land in early 2015 to now has been thorough with numerous chances for locals to become highly informed of the process, the opportunities, the science and the impacts.

We have had numerous experts, scientists, people who work in the industry, including speakers opposed, visit Kimba to support our information gathering. The Department of Industry, Innovation & Science (DIIS) regularly updates the community on progress via newsletters & Facebook. Locals have been encouraged to visit Lucas Height to further increase their understanding of the project. The DIIS has staffed an office and employed a local as the Community Liaison Officer for many months allowing easy face-to-face access to gain more information and have queries responded to. The Kimba community has become highly informed about the NRWMF project.

Prior to moving to Phase 2 of the Project to learn more about the proposed Facility and enable site characterisation to occur, we had a Kimba community vote instigated by the District Council of Kimba and managed by the Electoral Commission. This democratic process showed the very clear majority of 57.4% of the Kimba district in favour of moving to Phase 2. Politicians would be extremely pleased to gain that level of support in an election or any referendum they were supporting.

Since Kimba moved to Phase 2 the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has made 2 visits to Kimba. I have found meeting with them and reading their fact sheets to have been very enlightening and reassuring that we have an independent body as Australia’s highest authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety.

In conclusion I believe that the site selection process has been appropriate and very thorough in the Kimba community with all people able to gain considerable knowledge about many aspects of the NRWMF project and have any concerns addressed if they choose to engage in the process

July 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Hawker Community Development Board a staunch supporter of nuclear waste dump proposal

Hawker Community Development Board Inc  (Submission No. 47) to Senate Committe re Selection Process for Nuclear Waste Dump (Subnission No.47) Chairperson Janice McInnis Secretary Chelsea Haywood Treasurer Evelyn de Jong

The Hawker Community Development Board (HCDB) is a community representative organisation that aims to promote the town of Hawker and the surrounding district encouraging tourism, progress and the preservation of items relating to the physical, social and cultural heritage of South Australia. Also acting as a conduit to the local Council and Government Agencies The following is the HCDB response to the Waste Management Facility inquiry

a) The financial compensation offered to applicants for the acquisition of land under the Nominations of Land Guidelines

Regardless of where the repository is to be built it is only fair that the land owner been compensated accordingly for the land that is taken to be used. It is no different to a person receiving compensation, so a highway can be widened, or an over pass built on what was their property .

b) how the need for ‘broad community support’ has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including:

  1. the definition of ‘broad community support Broad community support means that most residents in the area considered the community are supportive of the project proceeding. The area considered community is not the entire state of South Australia nor the entire Country. This is a decision to be based on those that will be impacted the most if the facility does or doesn’t go ahead
  2. ii) how ‘broad community support’ has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage:

    Moving forward onto the next stage will mean another community district vote will occur. The best way to truly ascertain the community support is to hold the vote with the electoral commission, this would allow residents in the area to vote without fear of recourse while ensuring it is the actual community voting and not outsiders

  1. how any need for indigenous support has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including how indigenous support has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage:

    The HCDB has been informed that the indigenous community hold a broad community support for the project and can see the potential benefits the project holds for them should the project proceed. However, we believe that this is something best discussed by the government agencies responsible for the project with all the local indigenous in the community area as opposed to a select few

    D) whether and/or how the Government community benefit program payments affect broad community and Indigenous community sentiment.

To date with round 1 of the program nearing full completion there has been no change in the people’s sentiment toward the proposal. Community groups both for and against applied for grants and succeeded however this has not swayed anyone’s decision to jump the ‘fence’. In round 2 once again people for and against have applied for grants but as the money is yet to be allocated we cannot judge the outcome at this stage.

Consensus among the community is that the community benefit program has assisted in the district getting some needed projects completed that may not otherwise occur.

It has always been publicised that the funds are being offered as a form of compensation to the area for any disruption that has occurred and may occur in the future while Barndioota is still being considered.

E) whether wider (Eyre Peninsula or state-wide) community views should be taken into consideration and, if so, how this is occurring or should be occurring;

At the end of the day the only people that will be truly affected by the repository going ahead or not is those local to the areas in question. State-wide are more concerned about the state government piggy backing off the Federal facility and bringing in high level waste (this has been publicised numerous times as not being able to occur) People in other areas will also not see their employment levels change, new residents moving into bringing families, more school teachers employed, and more hospital staff and so on. We are the ones that have looked at the potential benefits and negativity that the proposal brings and have chosen to support the proposal. State-wide lives will to continue as they currently are regardless of the facility occurring, whereas our lives have the potential to be enhanced.

Anything Else Our small country town that has been dwindling for years has the potential to harness this project and grow into the future. Those that have complained about the selection process seem to have forgotten that over 360 properties had been originally nominated and to have offered the idea as a potential life saver for the district so early in the process may have caused more heartache and problems than necessary. Our neighbours do not have to tell us if they are going to sell their house or rent it out to someone, so we fail to see how this is any different

July 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment