Australian news, and some related international items

Australian Senate now deliberating on the controversial Nuclear Waste Dump Bill

The Australian Senate is about to finally debate and decide on a new amendment to the National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020, which has been languishing in the Senate for months.

The crux of the matter is that whereas the Bill previously designated Napandee, a farm near Kimba, South Australia, as the site for a nuclear waste dump, it now slightly, (but significantly)  changes that , mentioning the possibility of other sites.  Minister Keith Pitt is now almost certain to formally declare Napandee as the site.
The whole process has been obscure, while being highly promoted to the local community as both a ”Australian medical necessity” and a ”local economic boon”. Information provided to the local area has been promotional material and speakers from ANSTO and the Industry Department, but with no independent voices explaining the negative  aspects. Local residents, farmers, and business people  are calling on the government for a portion of the grant funding to Kimba to be allocated to an independent review and assessment of the project.

The Barngarla Traditional Owners were excluded from a community vote that approved the project, as were other landholders close to the Napandee site.    They will now have the right to legally challenge the nuclear dump plan.Residents of the wider Eyre Peninsula, have had no say in the Kimba decision. Nor have the various  communities whose residents are likely to object to having radioactive waste carried through their area, in this unnecessarily long transport from one temporary storage to another. South Australia has clear laws prohibiting the establishment of a nuclear waste dump in that State, the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000.

The most significant contributor to this planned waste dumping  will be intermediate level nuclear waste produced by ANSTO’s nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights, Sydney. These toxic wastes are in interim storage in large canisters at Lucas Heights, where they are safely managed and guarded.. There is ample room for more storage at Lucas Heights, and no reason for this double handling, sending the same temporary storage canisters to Kimba.
If this Bill is now passed by the Senate, it will bring on a more chaotic situation of uncertainty for the people of Kimba, but with not one step towards what is really needed.

The Senate should reject this poorly devised Bill.   Australians deserve a thorough, properly researched independent inquiry  into finding a permanent and safe solution to  ANSTO’s nuclear waste problem.

June 21, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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