Australian news, and some related international items

Minister Pitt on Kimba nuclear waste dump plan – inept, badly briefed, or just plain lying?

Peter Remta, 14 Nov 20, THE HON KEITH PITT MP  Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Member for Hinkler   MEDIA RELEASE 12 November 2020

‘The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility is a vital piece of  national infrastructure, which will support the ongoing development of our nuclear medicine and research industries.”

He still fails to explain how and why

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said this will be a permanent facility, where our low-level radioactive waste will be disposed of and then monitored over several hundred years, and intermediate level waste will be temporarily stored.
“The waste that will be managed at the facility is from the production of nuclear medicine (such as gloves, gowns and flasks) and from research activities,” he said.
“Waste has been accumulating for over 70 years, and for more than 40 years successive governments have been searching for a site.’‘  ”This waste is currently being stored in more than 100 locations around the country, including temporary facilities at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights campus that will start reaching capacity from 2026.”
Only a fraction of all the waste currently held in the numerous locations will actually find its way to the new national facility if it were built.
We need a better solution to safely consolidate this waste. Without it, valuable space at ANSTO will continue to be taken up, and they will have to divert more and more resources away from research and innovation and towards waste management.”
This is completely false as the waste accumulating at Lucas Heights is generated from the both the overseas reprocessing of spent fuel from the HIFAR reactor and the production of molybdenum-99 for nuclear medical procedures

All of this waste is classified as intermediate level waste although when France returned the reprocessed spent fuel to Australia it classified it as high level waste

There has not been any suggestion by either ANSTO or ARPANSA that this waste is causing any lack of storage space or other problems at Lucas Heights.
Most importantly and as previously explained this has nothing to do with nuclear medicine treatment or the requirement of establishing the waste facility at Kimba which only makes Pitt seem even sillier than he is.
“After four years of detailed, thorough, and transparent consultation, we have found a suitable site for this facility near Kimba, South Australia. The site is technically suitable and the facility is broadly supported by the community.”
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, the Hon Keith Pitt  MP, dispelled concerns that the facility could impact on agriculture.
How because he certainly does not do so by his subsequent comments?
It is not suitable according to international safety codes and prescriptions and is not broadly supported by the community as constantly claimed This was apparently made abundantly clear to the minister on his visit to Kimba last week.
“Firstly, the land where this facility to be sited is of marginal agricultural value, we are talking about 160 hectares out of 8.14 million hectares of agricultural land in South Australia,” Minister Pitt said.
Surely he is not that ignorant or badly briefed to not understand the large land areas that are needed as safety and buffer zones as shown by overseas experience
A minor escape of radioactive material can easily affect thousands of hectares of surrounding land with the consequent destruction of agriculture and the general environment.
“Secondly, we know that internationally, radioactive waste management facilities have existed side-by-side in agricultural communities for decades with no negative impact.”
He should specify the results of these so-called instances of coexistence of nuclear installations and agricultural industry ranging from open riots by local communities to substantial changes to the methods of storage and disposal due to community demands.
Please remember the ANSTO people who at an international nuclear safety conference were justifying Australia’s position of using Kimba and Hawker by its similarity to and modelling on El Cabril in Spain only to be told that the Spanish facility is located in a disused uranium mine in a very remote and heavily wooded part of Spain compared to the  recognised prime agricultural areas chosen in South Australia.
The countries we sell grain to have nuclear programs, as do the other grain producers in the international market”.

What difference does that make?
“And further, we have specifically dedicated part of the site for agricultural research and development and will continue to work with the local agricultural industry.”
International prescriptions and best practices are strongly against any form of research or scientific activity near or within the region of particularly above the ground nuclear facilities making this another idiotic claim by Pitt.

”Regarding alternative proposals, including Leonora in Western Australia, ” Minister Pitt said that ”while it may seem an attractive proposal, the proponent has not provided any evidence of broad community support for consultation nor provided relevant information to support any
The so called relevant information to support the Leonora nomination at the time it was made in July 2017 had begun over six months previously by a very detailed letter by the Shire of Leonora to the minister’s department to which no response was ever received.

The formal nomination on behalf of Leonora dated 27 July 2017 comprised 33 pages of very extensive and detailed information which was followed by comprehensive and equally detailed correspondence which covered practically all the requirements of the nomination
guidelines into their third phase.
The department literally begged for the nomination of the Leonora site
and certainly gave the Azark Project the clear understanding that it was
well at the front of the queue especially because of the underground
proposal which the department readily claimed had not even been
contemplated at that stage by it but understood it to be the safe and
acceptable course.

The technical and other information that the Azark Project had at the time
of the nomination was much more than what the department has now for
”This legislation currently before the Senate will allow the facility to be delivered at the Napandee site, and was supported by a recent Senate  Committee including by Labor members. The Minister encouraged One Nation to speak to the Kimba council and the landowner directly to ensure she’s heard all sides of the matter.”’

It seems very late to be doing this now particularly as the former and present ministers and the government refused to allow the members of the community opposing the facility over the past five years to be able to get their own independent assessment and advice
”The Government will continue to progress this legislation through the Parliament.
The facility will play a crucial role for Australia’s nuclear medicine industry, and our ability to drive further innovations in nuclear medicine. and research.”
Again what crucial role and how?

November 14, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics

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