Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Submission: AZARK PROJECT says that Kimba nuclear waste plan is completely unnecessary, and irrelevant to nuclear medicine.

national nuclear waste facility at Kimba the existence or otherwise of which will have no effect whatsoever on the production of nuclear medicine by ANSTO

the importance and use of nuclear medicine locally is significantly
decreasing as there is a general reluctance and reduction by modern medicinein using nuclear isotopes for medical purposes in preference to much safer means to diagnose and treat medical conditions which were previously the
subject of nuclear medicine.

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works Inquiry into the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Intermediate Level Solid Waste Storage Facility at Lucas Heights
SUBMISSIONS BY AND ON BEHALF OF AZARK PROJECT PTY LTD, Peter Remta 26 July 21

INTRODUCTORY SUMMARY OF SUBMISSIONS

A. The proposed increase in the nuclear waste storage capacity at Lucas Heights by constructing a new storage facility is a completely unnecessary and expensive exercise which is only perpetuating the government’s inappropriate plans for a waste management facility at Kimba.

B, Serious and urgent consideration should be given to the establishment of the underground nuclear waste facility at Leonora by Azark Project due to its international recognition and acceptance for its unsurpassed suitability and safety.

C. Several members of the Committee should be excluded from any participation in deciding the merits of establishing or funding of the facility for the additional storage since they have previously made ill-founded and unjustified statements praising the proposals for Kimba…….

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has
provided a statement of evidence on behalf of itself and its responsible department being the Department of Industry Science Energy and ResourceIn support of the required funding for increasing the storage capacity for nuclear waste at its Lucas Heights operations

This increased capacity is to be achieved by the construction of what is
described as a purpose-built facility to store intermediate level solid radioactive
waste (ILSW) on an interim basis at Lucas Heights


However it is submitted that the construction of this facility is completely
unnecessary despite the funding for its construction of $59.8 million having
already been approved in the federal government’s budgets for 2020-21 and
2021-22

The main ingredient of the statement is the deliberately inaccurate claim that
the production of nuclear medicine will be jeopardised and even stopped
unless the additional storage space is created at Lucas Heights which has also
been the disingenuous claim for the need of the proposed national facility at
Napandee near Kimba in South Australia

The statement also seems to be an attempt by ANSTO to distract from the
shortcomings and difficulties in establishing the national nuclear waste facility
at Kimba the existence or otherwise of which as already mentioned will have
no effect whatsoever on the production of nuclear medicine by ANSTO
The accompanying claim in the statement that the additional waste facility at
Lucas Height s is needed for the cont inued manufacture of
radiopharmaceutical products is completely misleading and inaccurate – or
plainly false.

To begin with only about 10% of the total production by ANSTO of
radioisotopes representing on average 10,000 to 12,000 nuclear medicine
procedures a week is all that is used in Australia which equates to
approximately 550,000 doses used by Australia annually

The balance of the production is sent overseas to mainly third world countries
which cannot pay for the nuclear medical products and hence it becomes a
completely gratuitous exercise on the part of the Australian government as
foreign aid with no financial return for ANSTO,

Even in normal commercial situations the production of nuclear medical
isotopes is a loss making exercise and ANSTO is therefore very careful about
disclosing the actual cost of production of its isotopes often citing commercial
confidentiality so that it is another example of the federal government funding
a loss-making operation to provide nuclear medicine locally and financially
prop up ANSTO which in any event is a substantial drain on the public purse

However the need for the continuous production of isotopes by ANSTO is
nowhere as significant and necessary as claimed since there are instances
when production of isotopes for medical purposes had to be stopped at Lucas
Heights due to the repeated breakdowns and stoppages of the reactor
producing the isotopes which ANSTO and the Australian Radiation Protection
and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) seem reluctant to disclose publicly in
Australia.

When this occurs Australia acquires the isotopes from overseas which does
not appear to cause any difficulties or additional cost and is therefore a
relatively easy and immediate solution to any disruption in local production

In any case the importance and use of nuclear medicine locally is significantly
decreasing as there is a general reluctance and reduction by modern medicine
in using nuclear isotopes for medical purposes in preference to much safer
means to diagnose and treat medical conditions which were previously the
subject of nuclear medicine.

ANSTO also claims in the statement that its production of nuclear medicine
and the storage of the resulting nuclear waste will be greatly assisted through
the use of its Synroc waste management technology but this seems an empty
claim when it has taken the government some 40 years to develop the
technology and now that it has been finally completed its use generally has
been overtaken overseas by other and preferable recent technology(1)
It is interesting to note in the context of nuclear medicine production that
Canada – which is similar in population size and outlook to Australia – will no
longer fund exporting isotopes globally

This seems to somewhat distract from the shortcomings and difficulties in
establishing a national nuclear waste facility at Kimba but its existence or
otherwise will have no effect whatsoever on the production by ANSTO of
nuclear medicine………

the planned new facility is still in part an above the ground structure with
below-ground shielded vaults for the waste storage as is the present general
storage method used at Lucas Heights but this still fails to meet the
internationally prescribed requirement and standards for underground
geological burial of the waste in question………..
The whole concept of the proposal by ANSTO is flawed as it based on the
double handling of the nuclear waste with all of its attendant risks which would
be avoided in any proper waste management………….

The total cost to the federal government for examining and deciding on the site
at Kimba is in total in excess of $80 million and probably more like $100 million
(for which there is little positive outcome) which added to the required $60
million for the new shorter term facility at Lucas Heights will still be several $million…….

The Department (which was then known as Department of Industry Innovation
and Science) is well aware of the details of the Azark Project proposed facility
as its officers had extensive communication and contact with Azark and the
Shire of Leonora having initially encouraged and strongly requested the
nomination of the Azark facility site under the enabling legislation of 2012 for
that purpose(5)…………..

[ The submission goes on to discussion and recommendation of the AZARK plan for a nuclear waste reposirary at Leonora, South Australia]


The proposal for the new facility at Lucas Heights seems to be a very belated
but unrealistic attempt to overcome the problems and difficulties by the
government with its site choices in South Australia and the failure to follow and apply the the internationally prescribed codes and standards for nuclear waste
management……

 https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Public_Works/ANSTOLucasHeights/Submissions

July 26, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics

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