Australian news, and some related international items

National Radioactive Waste Management must come clean. Kimba is the start of continued high level nuclear waste dumping

Eyre Peninsula Tribune, March 4th 2020 , GARY CRUSHWAY
I write in response to a recent letter (Happy to answer questions raised, Letters to the Editor, February 20) from Sam Chard of the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.
In this letter some claims are made in regards to intermediate and high level radioactive waste that I would like to address.
The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility will be accepting radioactive waste from the UK and from France.
The waste from the UK is material processed at the Sellafield (formerly Windscale) facility in Cumbria.
In a statement recorded in UK Parliament hansard (Written Question 10476) it is stated “The vitrified residue (sealing of radioactive waste in molten glass poured in engineered stainless steel containers) comes from Sellafield” – Sellafield processes only high level radioactive waste.
What this means is that High Level Waste, waste material from UK power generation, is put into containers and reclassified due to being in this container – If you wrap an apple in plastic and put it into a box, it is still an apple.
This means that it is reasonable to say that the NRWMF is being utilised as a part of the disposal process for high level radioactive waste generated in the UK, a situation recently voted against during an extensive public consultation on international radioactive waste in South Australia.
It is also a clever use of words to argue that “Australia produces no high level radioactive waste”.
The material produced at Lucas Heights and sent overseas for “processing” to remove useable Plutonium and Uranium is not classified by Australia as “waste” despite it being a byproduct that Australia can not utilise, and it being very certainly highly radioactive.
If a future government in France decides to end the stream of radioactive waste received from Australia, Australia will then be generating this material without a facility to either process or dispose of it.
It does not take a stretch of the imagination to guess where the likely destination of this material would be in these circumstances, even if “temporarily” while the decades-long process of finding a high level waste facility is begun.
The NRWMF process is based around short term thinking and misleading terminology.
Australia needs to be honest about the consequences of heading down the road of becoming a radioactive waste producing nation, and we need a full review of the entire process, rather than a piecemeal solution to the relatively minor issue of low level waste management, that sidesteps and misleads the public about the full scale of the issues we face now and the possibilities of an unknown future.

March 21, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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