Australian news, and some related international items

Bob and Sue Tulloch: scrutiny needed on Radioactive Waste Management Amendment- paves the way to import foreign nuclear wastes


Bob and Sue Tulloch ( Flinders Local Action Group ) to Senate Inquiry on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions] Submission 72 

There is a lot of misinformation about the Federal Government’s proposed National
Nuclear Waste Management Facility at Kimba. Information has been with held from most Australians via a deliberate, discriminatory voting process, with only two South Australian communities ( Hawker / Quorn and
Kimba ) allowed to vote, (1300 citizens) a process that has so far failed them.

Do our law makers understand WHAT they are voting for?
This is NOT, just mainly a low level nuclear waste dump for hospital gloves and gowns. Two dumps co-located are planned. The second, a temporary storage facility, for far more dangerous intermediate level waste. This will include reprocessed spent fuel rods, used in the nuclear reactors at Lucas Heights, being returned to Australia from
France and the UK. Waste needing serious isolation from humans and the environment for 10,000 years. It is the temporary storage of this ILW, that worry people.

Case for keeping ILW at Lucas Heights
World’s best practice for dealing with Intermediate Level Waste, or High Level waste as classified in France and the UK, is permanent, deep underground burial. There are currently no plans for this to happen in Australia. There is also no time limit set for the storage of this waste, to be placed ‘temporarily’ in an above ground shed at Kimba, if moved from its current modern safe, secure storage facility at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights complex.

It is well documented that the cost of establishing a permanent, deep underground disposal facility for Australia’s relatively low volumes of ILW, is prohibitive. Unless the Australian Government is planning to subsidise the cost of establishing a nuclear waste storage and disposal facility at Kimba, by importing nuclear waste from overseas,
one must question the economical rational to relocate ILW to a second, temporary storage facility at, huge expense to the Australian tax payer.

Australian Nuclear Waste Law
Ref. Protecting Authority, Burying Dissent: An Analysis of Australian Nuclear Waste Law – Angela
Morsley. 2016
 This paper considers the Australian legal framework for a national nuclear waste repository. The paper argues that the current law protects the Commonwealth’s decision- making in relation to a repository site, at the expense of ‘the place for
public participation in the development of the land’, conservation of Aboriginal heritage and environmental impacts, legitimate protections that under the proposed changes to the Act will be even more eroded.

In 2010 the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee recommended that the NRWMA not be enacted unless mandatory provision was made for a Regional Consultative Committee. Closer analysis reveals that the RCC
has no power or influence over a Ministerial declaration, it’s function being merely to ‘facilitate communication’ between the host community and the Commonwealth’.
….. ‘Consultation may be provided for under the NRWMA, but there is no evidence to suggest that it has anything other that a tokenistic place within a legal framework that positions site selection as an almost inevitable outcome of nomination, supported by Ministerial fiat, rather than broadly sought public consent.’

The South Australian Parliament has legislation in place under the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 to prevent the construction of such a facility and the transportation of radioactive waste through the state. The proposed
amendment to the NRWNA to nominate the Napandee site near Kimba as the‘relevant land’, will exclude all state legislation from regulation of all activities associated with the NRWMF. ARPANSA’s Code of Practice for the Safe Transport
of Radioactive Materials, is merely a code of practice and not a statute, is unenforceable in regards to the transportation of radioactive waste through South Australia.

Australia’s Future Nuclear Industry Involvement
Questions about nuclear power generation in Australia, future lucrative ‘fuel leasing’ plans involving an Australian Nuclear Fuel Industry as detailed in the following government reports, and the role a ILW storage facility at Kimba will play, need
clarification and public disclosure.
Australia’s Uranium – Greenhouse friendly fuel for an energy hungry world
A case study into the strategic importance of Australia’s uranium resources for the Inquiry into
developing Australia’s non-fossil fuel energy industry. November 2006

Final Report and recommendations of the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.
May 2016
Not without your approval: a way forward for nuclear technology in Australia;
Report of the inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia; Dec 2019
A report by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment & Energy.

The proposed amendments to NRWM Act, 4A, specifically, refers to ‘radioactive waste’ to be replaced with ‘controlled materials’ (ref ARPANSA Act 1998 ‘controlled material means any natural or artificial material, whether in solid or liquid form, or in the form of a gas or vapour, which emits ionizing radiation spontaneously’), and removal of the words ‘domestic origin’, can allow future operations of the storage facility to encompass nuclear power and nuclear fuel leasing industries as detailed in the Dec 2019 ‘Not without your approval’ report.

For these reasons, more scrutiny on this proposal should be obligatory, and a genuine national discussion implemented. Information supplied to the communities of Hawker/Quorn, Kimba did not include these possibilities, and ballot results obtained from 1207 votes does NOT therefore represent an honest national conversation.

To pass the proposed amendments to the NRWM Act now, would be irresponsible and premature to say the least.


May 26, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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