Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

A tiny percentage of South Australian people coerced into the decision on nuclear waste dump

This is a decision which will affect all South Australians, not just a tiny percentage of people who have experienced four years of federal government promises and pressure to acquiesce.

the Minister failed to mention the main component of the project — long lived intermediate level waste from the Lucas Heights reactor  

Farmers and Traditional Owners decry SA nuclear more  https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article/farmers-and-traditional-owners-decry-sa-nuclear-vote, Michele Madigan,20 November 2019 

    • On 12 November, Senator Canavan, federal Minister for Resources, took a question from the rather more junior Senator Alex Antic. The questioner wondered whether there was any recent progress on the federal nuclear facility proposed for Antic’s own state of South Australia.
The Minister was delighted to have the chance to announce that in the district area of Kimba the long awaited vote to host both a permanent facility for national low level radiactive waste and storage for intermediate level radioactive waste had concluded. The result: 61.17 per cent voted in favour.
Unsurprisingly, Canavan failed to mention that voting rights in the poll were severely restricted. The Barngarla Traditional Owners, native title holders of the area, were given no voice. Farmers whose land is actually closer to the site were also excluded as their properties are outside the allocated narrow boundary. 
 
Surprising however, even to four year battle-weary opponents of the scheme, was the fact that even on the second and third questions offered him by the willing SA Senator, the Minister failed to mention the main component of the project — long lived intermediate level waste from the Lucas Heights reactor  
 
With the total vote consisting of only 734 ballot papers, the yes vote represented just 452 people. My letter to the Advertiser of 11 November 2019 pointed out that on these figures we have .027 per cent of South Australians speaking for us all. In her response on 15 November, task force manager of the project, Sam Chard, wrote to the Advertiser that ‘the transport of waste will be conducted safely’ — a careful phrase. Unfortunately not even a federal government can prevent accidents from happening as they surely will — and already have.
South Australian filmmaker Kim Mavromatis’ just released video of an historic 1980 road accident involving nuclear waste from Lucas Heights graphically demonstrates the severe effects on former NSW police officers Bob Deards and Terry Clifford, who were tasked with cleanup. While there is no doubt that modern transport containers will be of better quality than in the past, the men’s warning is obvious: ‘The more they transport, the more accidents will happen.’
A later South Australian example was highlighted by the Advertiser‘s front-page headline of 9 December 1994: ‘Radioactive drum spills on SA road’. ‘A drum carrying low grade radioactive waste from New South Wales to Woomera has leaked contaminated material on to South Australian outback roads … Port Augusta police confirmed last night they were conducting an emergency clean-up of the site about 2km north of Port Augusta …’
Coober Pedy Aboriginal women Emily Austin and Lois Brown’s alarmed response was published a few days later: ‘When they were washing the truck after the leakage, they even took the water away. Why? if it was low-grade toxic waste. It must have been dangerous.’ Their warning: ‘Also that accident might have been low grade but what about the next time?’
Long-term Friends of the Earth environmentalist Dr Jim Green reiterates that nuclear transport accidents are commonplace. ‘Indeed the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) acknowledges that a small number of nuclear transport accidents occur each year. If the industry is expanded, there will inevitably be more transport accidents. A British government database documents an average of 19 nuclear transport incidents each year. Countless thousands of Australians who live along potential nuclear waste transport corridors are being ignored and disenfranchised by the Morrison Government ”.

Union spokespeople are under no illusion that accidents are inevitable and about who will be automatically called for the cleanup. As Jamie Newlyn, South Australian Branch Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, warns: ‘MUA members work in critical points of the logistics cycle and therefore the safe handling and above ground storage for decades is of great concern to the MUA … ‘

A day of high temperatures and strong winds last month did nothing to deter opponents of the federal government’s nuclear plans from the latest Port Augusta Rally. Terry Schmucker, who owns a farm in nearby Poochera, had no vote in the recent poll. He was scathing about the inability of the nuclear industry to guarantee project safety when ANSTO has been unable to prevent radioactive leaks even on site.

After the rally, Aboriginal Co-Chairs of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA), Dwayne Coulthard and Vicki Abdulla, led a strong contingent to present ANFA’s petition to the office of South Australia’s Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan: ‘South Australia has legislation that makes such waste facilities illegal: The Nuclear Waste Storage (Prohibition) Act 2000 … We ask you to act now and protect South Australia and its people from Minister Canavan’s site selection process that has caused so much distress to South Australian communities … ‘

No, Senator Canavan, South Australians don’t believe that 452 people in one small town have the right to agree to burden us with all the nation’s nuclear waste — and forever.

In fact the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation has just set another challenge. With the results of their own Australian Electoral Company internal members vote showing 83 No and zero Yes votes, the Barngala have issued a statement which reads in part: ‘BDAC has written to Minister Canavan advising him of the result. BDAC has requested that given the first people for the area unanimously have voted against the proposed facility that the Minister should immediately determine that there is not broad community support for the project. ‘

With the arrival of the voting papers for the proposed alternative Flinders Ranges site on 14 November, the intensity of the division between potential yes and no voters in the small towns and hinterlands of Hawker and Quorn seems to have hit fever pitch. The potential yes voters welcoming of a new ‘industry’ to the area seem to disregard the effect a nuclear facility will have on the major tourism industry and Adnyamathanha heritage; not to mention the threats to groundwaters in an area subject to seismic activity and floods.

This is a decision which will affect all South Australians, not just a tiny percentage of people who have experienced four years of federal government promises and pressure to acquiesce.

November 22, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, reference

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