Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Labor rejects National Radioactive Management Amendment Bill.   2020- Josh Wilson MP

This bill is not a sensible or appropriate way in which to move towards the waste storage solution. It puts the program at risk. That’s why we don’t support the bill.
There is plenty of room [at Lucas Heights] in that interim storage facility, so there’s no issue with space as far as intermediate-level waste is concerned, and there’s no issue in relation to safety or health concerns either

Hansard , Mr JOSH WILSON (Fremantle) Senate Committee Inquiry into National Radioactive Management Amendment Bill.   2020.  “…….. There is no question that Australia needs to make progress when it comes to the proper long-term storage of nuclear waste. It is just that this bill doesn’t help take us towards that end. It’s taken us 40 years and it’s cost$55 million to get us to this point. ……..

Effectively this bill seeks to rush and force the issue of community acceptance, which is a mistake. The ministerhas the power to make the decision in question. You can only guess that the reason for this legislation is to lockin an outcome, when the minister and the government accept that there are some concerns with the communityacceptance process that has occurred so far.

The bill effectively also wants to ignore, avoid and further neglect the key issue of a permanent disposal site for intermediate-level waste.  There are two kinds of waste that this bill proposes to send to a site in South Australia—low-level waste and intermediate-level waste—and they are very different. A lot of what has been said, including what the minister said in introducing this bill, glides over that difference in a way that is wrong and is certainly not helpful in terms of getting to where we need to get to with a permanent disposal site for low-level waste and a permanent site for intermediate-level waste…..

We have to get towards a long-term disposal solution, and yet this bill raises two serious questions about how the government wants to take us there. There’s concern over the site selection process, which goes to the question of consultation, engagement and community agreement, and there are concerns about the purpose and function of the facility…….

Departmental officials came before the energy and environment committee when we were inquiring into nuclear energy, and they gave us some very rough estimates of what the construction of the site itself would cost. That will be somewhere around $340 million to $350 million. That’s for the construction of the site, and that was described to us as a conservative estimate.Bizarrely, there is no current process underway with even a single dollar of government resources going towards the issue of a permanent disposal site for intermediate-level waste. It’s quite strange. It’s almost hard to believe that, when it’s taken us 40 years to get to the brink of a permanent site for low-level waste, there is not yet any departmental group or any taskforce on this and there’s not a single dollar going to the process of site selection,engineering design or anything else around the question of a permanent disposal site……

There is plenty of room [at Lucas Heights] in that interim storage facility, so there’s no issue with space as far as intermediate-level waste is concerned, and there’s no issue in relation to safety or health concerns either……where is the evidence that there is anyproblem with the intermediate-level waste staying where it is, as it should do, until the government of Australiaidentifies and resources an appropriate permanent disposal site for intermediate-level waste? …..When the interim facility was set up, there was no suggestion it was only for a few years. The licence that exists for the storage of the intermediate-level waste at Lucas Heights runs to 2055. …

ARPANSA is aware that some stakeholders have interpreted ARPANSA’s decisions regarding the IWS— which is the intermediate-level storage— as a requirement for relocation of the waste stored in the IWS, even suggesting that there is an urgent need for relocation. This is not correct. ARPANSA has not raised safety concerns regarding storage of waste at the IWS. ANSTO seems to share this view. ANSTO has indicated to ARPANSA that the mandatory recertification of the TN-81 casks every 10 years can be carried out at the IWS

But the claims that the government and government members in this place have made that intermediate-level storage needs to go to South Australia because there’s no room for it and that there are health and safety concerns about where it is currently are rubbish.

And so it should stay where it is as a spur to the government to get on with the process, which currently hasn’t even started, of finding and resourcing a permanent disposal site. That is not occurring, and that’s one of the chief flaws of this bill. ……

They need to immediately start and resource the process of a permanent disposal site for intermediate-level waste. They should commit to maintaining that waste where it is currently stored, which is another reason for an inquiry on this issue.

……..there are members of the government running around saying that nuclear power should be part of our energy mix in our communities across Australia. Frankly, that is not only deeply irrational but ridiculous and unhelpful in the task this bill presents to us.

This bill is not a sensible or appropriate way in which to move towards the waste storage solution. It puts the program at risk. That’s why we don’t support the bill.

June 30, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

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