Australian news, and some related international items

Kazzi Jai reports on the latest Senate hearing on Nuclear Waste Amendment Bill

Kazzi Jai Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste In The Flinders Ranges, 28 Aug 20, I will try and keep this summation as brief as possible regarding the Senate Hearing with DIIS this morning.
In DIIS’s opening statement, Sam Chard stressed that “No community consultation is required by legislation”. This became a RECURRENT claim by Sam Chard (Sam Reinhardt said very little for the whole hearing). Seems they found a new catch phrase.
Senator Patrick was less than impressed by the hiding behind the confidentiality of “frankness and candor” claim between DIIS and Minister’s dealings which was used in the tabled documents from last hearing, regarding discussions about the amendments to the Bill.
Senator McAllister questioned why the legislation does not address the types of waste involved LLW and ILW – it is simply denoted as “nuclear waste” – why is there no distinction noted in legislation?
Then went onto what is DIIS going to do with ILW? According to Sam Chard AFTER the LLW is dealt with at the new facility, then ANSTO and CSIRO are going to work on developing a permanent disposal plan for ILW, through the ARWA, as a Research and Development project.
(This is interesting since CSIRO has so many Government cuts in funding, and ANSTO is keen to get the waste off their own books – do you think the Government is going to be in a hurry to deal with it any time soon?).
Anyway, ARWA will eventually become a non-corporate entity under its own legislation – which should happen down the track…Sam Chard is currently the General Manager for ARWA, and there will eventually be a CEO appointed. But currently right now it is under DIIS. (Sam Chard is now the General Manager for ARWA and Sam Reinhardt is now General Manager for DIIS).
Senator Antic ran through the numbers of jobs with Sam Chard – 45 jobs of which 34 will come from the “existing local community” and 11 will come from “outside”…..Then Sam Chard went on to talk about AWRA with 35 FTE for 2022/23 …I will leave the details for the hansard transcript, I believe it was 14 security + 13 waste handling + 8 site management+ 5 environmental protection + 5 radioactive protection for the NRWMF… but for AWRA “roughly” CEO + 16 safety and tech + 10 corporate engagement + 7 construction and engineering and 2 of these would be in the Kimba community (that doesn’t add up to 35…so wait for hansard!)
Then a long talk about maritime workers and Port Kembla and the number of shipments predicted for TN-81 “flask” as Sam Chard called it. Have had 10 x shipments since 1963 with no safety incidents for shipments of spent nuclear fuel to go overseas for reprocessing. Expect the reprocessed spent fuel waste to be returned every decade or two decades.
Senator Gallacher asked about Community Engagement with regard to the changes of Schedules for the Bill – and was told that the Department released an Explanatory Memorandum which would be understood by a layperson…. and that the community fund would be enshrined, and the site selection would be scrutinized.
He then ask if it was a one way investment to get a yes vote? He said it was the Department’s duty to present facts and information. The Dept said that they indeed facilitated David Sweeney, Peter Karamoskos, Margaret Beavis and Victor Gostin through webinars.
His last comment was to ask if the Dept as public servants believed they delivered a Fair and Equitable proposal without fear or favour to the community – which Sam Chard answered yes.
Senator Patrick asked Sam Chard some details of her answers from the last Hearing….which had changed in the interim through letters submitted regarding clarification between the Senate and the Department. All centres around whether it was intentional to remove scrutiny and judicial review through not using section 14 of the current act.
He got somewhat heated by reminding DIIS that their obligation is to tell the truth and not to protect the Minister!
Again, Sam Chard invoked her go to answer…”No requirement for community consultation under legislation” which is the 2012 Act…and I “believe” she added that even under judicial review “community consultation” would not be entertained because it was not stated in legislation!
That’s where the BREAK suddenly occurred for “technical reasons”….
Back on board, Senator Patrick reiterated that the Amendments seek to deny people the judicial review right which stand under the current Bill. That, Senator Patrick said, the Minister in first documents published set up framework under his Ministerial word that there was a commitment for community consultation.
Again Sam Chard said “Community consultation was not a requirement under legislation”..
Senator Patrick reiterated that under Common Law people are allowed confidence and trust.
Sam Chard said that the Bill under its current form gives no provision for community fund and that it was a commitment of the Minister and that the COMMUNITY WANTED [?] the fund enshrined in legislation.
Senator McAllister addressed again details about the permanent siting of the ILW. Was told that there are few precedences for what is Australia’s situation.
That Australia DOES NOT produce HLW, whereas ILW in other parts of the world is coupled with HLW…
Sam Chard talked about LLW (quantity wise – NOTE not radioactive wise) constituting 3/4 of holding and that International Best Practise and International Obligations and Safe and Secure requirements give the facility a substantive purpose.
ILW constitues 1/4 of holdings and…. 96% is solid and constitutes gloves/gowns and building rubble….3% is liquid which will be put into “vitrified glass being synroc”…and 1% TN-81 cask….on a Temporary Basis at the facility.
The aim is to co-locate the ILW with the LLW and the waste from 100 different locations around Australia. That “we” have made commitment that there would be no liquid waste at the facility.
ANSTO provided advice that their storage facilities would be COMPLETELY FULL BY 2030 (which by the way is ONLY partly true, but forgot to include that all they would need to do is apply for licencing and building of more storage in Lucas Heights, which ARPANSA already has said would be granted!!)
That the regulatory approvals and availability for proposed Kimba Facility would run VERY CLOSE to the 2030 deadline!
Senator Patrick then addressed whether there were settled transport routes – there aren’t!
Senator Gallacher asked if there was a specialisd transport function involved, whereupon Sam Chard answered that waste and nuclear material is transported by road and rail methodologies done every day. (side stepped the question – what a surprise).Senator Gallacher “assumed” it was not an issue – which Sam Chard did not correct or add to.
So if you got to the end of this summation – congratulations!
Please make sure you read the ACTUAL transcript when it is released, because all of my notations will probably make more sense!!
This was totally my understanding of what happened today, from my own notes, and is in no way a COMPLETE record of what went down, but only to give an overview for those who requested it! Hope it makes sense!

August 29, 2020 - Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, politics

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