Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

No need for Kimba interim nuclear waste storage, as Australian Government budgets for increased storage capacity at Lucas Heights.

the present nuclear waste storage site at Lucas Heights is in no danger of running out of room. ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) is the nation’s nuclear regulator. In 2020 in parliamentary testimony, Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson clearly stated, ‘Waste can be safely stored at Lucas Heights for decades to come.’ In fact, the recent federal Budget provided $60 million for further decades of extended storage capacity for Intermediate Long-lived Waste at ANSTO Lucas Heights, building onto the operation of existing stores to 2026. There is no emergency.

As nuclear waste storage Bill passes, the fight continues,   https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article/as-nuclear-waste-storage-bill-passes–the-fight-continues?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Eureka%20Street%20Daily%20-%20Tuesday%2027%20July%202021&utm_content=Eureka%20Street%20Daily%20-%20Tuesday%2027%20July%202021+CID_ef6ae62e9543e5b0c91147f8dd3a4683&utm_source=Jescom%20Newsletters&utm_term=READ%20MORE Michele Madigan 26 July 2021   

For several decades, successive federal governments have tried but failed to establish a national nuclear waste repository, primarily to take waste from the nuclear research reactor site operated by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at Lucas Heights, 30 km south of Sydney. Currently, a site near Kimba on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula is being targeted.

Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt has always had the power to make a ministerial declaration of a particular site for the new national radioactive waste storage facility. But instead of making a selection, for over twelve months he chose to take his NRWMF (National Radioactive Waste Management Facility) Amendment Bill legislation to Parliament. Under his proposed legislation, any group that opposed the site he selected — including the Barngarla Traditional Owners — would not have the power of judicial review.

Last month, the Senate came to a decision approving an amended Bill that would allow Traditional Owners judicial review if the location was disputed. Minister Pitt was forced to admit defeat.

Over the course of the Bill’s passage, the Coalition had the numbers in the House of course, with the legislation passing in 2020 only after informed and strong opposing speeches by Labor, the Greens and Independents. The Senate, however, was a different matter. Labor, the Greens and the majority of the other five Crossbenchers continued for months standing firmly against legislation that denied judicial review to opposition groups.

Minister Pitt, having listed the legislation a number of times, was then forced every time to withdraw his Bill. In regular media statements, Pitt harangued opposing Senators, especially Labor, with increasingly extravagant claims for the necessity of the dump for the future of nuclear medicine.

Government arguments to the contrary, the present nuclear waste storage site at Lucas Heights is in no danger of running out of room. ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) is the nation’s nuclear regulator. In 2020 in parliamentary testimony, Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson clearly stated, ‘Waste can be safely stored at Lucas Heights for decades to come.’ In fact, the recent federal Budget provided $60 million for further decades of extended storage capacity for Intermediate Long-lived Waste at ANSTO Lucas Heights, building onto the operation of existing stores to 2026. There is no emergency.

During last month’s Senate debate many salient points were made by the Greens and other Crossbench Senators. During the debate, the previous Minister for Resources Matthew Canavan gave assurances that the invited submissions would be taken into consideration, but 95 per cent of the submissions made were against the proposed new site.

Further, it was pointed out that in the Kimba district, 36 non-residents with property were permitted to vote while the Traditional Owners, and also farmers whose properties were closer to the Napandee site but outside the Kimba Council region, were not.

So where are we up to in this long-running saga?

With the intermediate level waste simply being moved from one part of the nation to be again stored above ground for a cited 100 years, the can is being kicked down the road for future generations to deal with. What is needed is an independent expert inquiry..

And with judicial review allowed in the amended legislation, Labor were able to say they were supporting the Traditional Owners and then voted with the government to ensure the amended Bill became law.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) is finally free to proceed to court. The resources Minister within the coming weeks will formally declare the site, almost certain to be Napandee in the Kimba region in SA. From there, the project will require EPBC (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation) procedure and the regulator ARPANSA licensing, both offering significant public opportunities.

Finally: there are two elections looming: South Australia’s State elections on 19 March, 2022, as well as Federal. Both SA Liberal and Labor past Premiers have initiated successful state legislation ‘prohibiting the establishment of certain nuclear waste facilities’ in this state. Environmentalists are now calling on South Australians to make the federal government’s radioactive waste plan that counters this legislation, an election issue.

At times, in such a long campaign one can ask, is opposition really worth the struggle? 

I received an answer to that question on 18 June, on State Parliament House steps, when a colleague and I conducted a rehearsal for a larger sit-in. In the cold I was in a long dress, gloves, scarf, woollen cap, hoodie jacket. After our shift, my companion went to get the car leaving at my feet our magnificent banner hidden by its worn tarpaulin cover. As a group of high school children rushed past me towards the railway station, a lively-looking student, maybe 15 years old, said something to her teacher. Then she approached and stood in front of me offering an almost-full packet of chips. ‘Do you want them?’ I stared back at her, not understanding. Again: ‘Do you want them?’ Looking down at the old tarpaulin, I realised she was feeding the homeless!

This girl is an example of the beautiful future generations whose well-being we are responsible for. They deserve far better than radioactive waste, toxic for 10,00 years, being stored above ground in their state. The fight continues.

Donate to the Barngarla crowdfunder to fund a legal challenge.

July 29, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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