Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Grossly inadequate Senate report on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill

The report released on 14 September 2020 by the majority of the Senate committee inquiring into the National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Site Specification,Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill  is  both grossly deficient and biased and does no credit to the members of the committee.

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I can only put this down to a combination of lack of knowledge and possibly even ignorance on the part of both the committee members and the researchers from the committee secretariat of the subject of the inquiry which is of major and lasting importance to all of Australia and needs more than truck driving experience for its proper consideration.
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While I do not intend to comment on all of the report in detail I will refer to some aspects of the introduction being chapter 1 including the conduct of the inquiry but more extensively to the second part of the report dealing with support for the legislative changes and the evidence of the witnesses who appeared before the committee.

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……… In describing the background for the inquiry the committee has relied on rather older information which is surprising considering the very recent developments in the field of nuclear waste management which have been completely ignored in the report.
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……. it seems that the committee has heavily relied on the explanatory memorandum accompanying the bill and the subsequent ministerial statements and responses having blithely accepted them with little or no proper scrutiny of their content and accuracy.
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This also applies to the submissions by ANSTO and the Department of Industry Science Energy and Resources which did not elicit any questioning or testing of the accuracy of their content.
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……….. the heart of the intended legislative changes  will remove various fundamental rights including seeking judicial and administrative reviews.
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……….. It should have been obvious to the committee that the Barngarla will under no circumstances permit the storage and disposal of nuclear waste in any part of their lands within South Australia irrespective of what discussions and negotiations may take place even with an independent mediator.
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………. The conduct of the inquiry also leaves a lot to be desired since the committee failed – and seemingly deliberately – to call any experts on nuclear waste from overseas to provide proper advice and suggestions to the committee instead of relying exclusively on the technical evidence by or on behalf of the government.
This makes the majority report even less credible which is already the view of some overseas experts who are surprised at the deficiencies in the evidence to justify the main recommendation of the report.
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……. many of the supporting views are said to be based on general scientific or technical reasons but  some of these are made in sheer and blind acceptance of the government’s information without any testing or examination of their veracity..
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………… The concept of the local agricultural industry coexisting with the nuclear facility is completely disingenuous as is amply demonstrated by recent situations overseas including in particular in France and to suggest that the facility will not affect the agricultural environment and produce of Kimba is nonsensical.
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What is more the report has completely ignored the provisions of the Disposal Facilities Code (2018) of ARPANSA which provides at section 3.1.22 as to the criteria for the selection of a non-radiological site that “the immediate vicinity of the facility has no known significant natural resources   ………… and has little or no potential for agriculture or outdoor recreational use”
It follows that these two factors significantly displace the perceived economic benefits which should be a major consideration as to the facility’s proposed establishment..
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………..from surveys a large percentage of up to 80% of the South Australian population is against the facility which is also the stated position of the state’s parliamentary opposition.
The submissions in support of the facility by the three presumably knowledgeable bodies being the Nuclear Association and Academy of Science together with the local Chamber of Mines and Energy failed to provide any really technical or scientific information and seemed to more of a political nature judging by their brevity which I understood in the case of the Nuclear Association and probably the Chamber was to enable the start of a nuclear energy industry in this country.
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Again it has surprised me that the committee did not seek any meaningful explanations from these groups as presumably they would hold themselves out as having some expertise with regard to nuclear waste.
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The evidence and submissions in support of the facility by the local community including the District Council are self servicing and appear to swayed by the perceived financial grants and benefits provided by the government which surely must be understood to be creating a false economy doomed to ultimate failure……….
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Perhaps the most glaring examples of the insular and ignorant conduct of the community  supporters of the facility are their contentions that its establishment and the voting for its acceptance are applicable and relevant only to Kimba. Considering the importance of this issue to the whole nation and that it is to intended to be a central national facility it should and must extend well beyond their unrealistic and quite selfish attitude by is seen by their rather ludicrous contentions.
What is even more critical is that the inquiry made no attempt to ascertain the accuracy of these claims despite their national significance………..
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What really makes the majority report so unconvincing is that none of the evidence has been questioned or tested as to its competence and accuracy and the committee as chosen not to call evidence from international experts who would very quickly show the incompetence of the government as to the underlying technical issues of the inquiry to justify the legislative changes.
This becomes even worse when a principal witness on behalf of the government is accused of lying which in a court of law would have lead to a preferment for perjury……….
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………. the government has rejected many requests for detailed information of the radionuclides inventories and funding for an independent assessment and scrutiny of the government’s proposals which will no doubt be a consideration for ARPANSA in dealing with the licence applications
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Unlike the committee stating “that the issue of radioactive material is an emotive one” it is in fact very important and scientifically technical especially as it concerns present and long term safety of the whole population.
The committee has badly failed in its inquiry in both testing the credibility of the claims by the government and other supporters of the facility proposal and in neglecting any examination of the lack of expected and prescribed requirements including among other things the safety case and the radionuclides counts.

October 2, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, spinbuster

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