Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

ARPANSA may not give licence for Kimba nuclear waste dump. Nuclear wastes best managed at Lucas Heights


ANSTO’s proposed public works appear premised on an ill-considered, unassured and, arguably, untenable proposed transfer of intermediate-level waste into indefinite above-ground storage in South Australia. That’s a plan which may never come to fruition, just as the prior proposal by then Prime Minister Howard’s federal government to impose transfer and storage of ANSTO’s nuclear waste into South Australia, which was run between 1998 and 2004, had to be abandoned as a flawed proposal.

As the CEO of ARPANSA has said, nuclear waste can be safely managed at ANSTO at Lucas Heights for decades to come. With respect, that should be the premise on which your committee addresses the works before you.

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works 13/09/2021 Intermediate level solid waste storage facility, Lucas Heights, New South Wales

NOONAN, Mr David, Private capacity [by audio link] Mr Noonan : I have nearly 25 years experience of following nuclear waste issues in Australia, both in capacity, working for non-government organisations, and more recently as an individual—an independent consultant and campaigner.

My first key point is that the primary premise that your committee should consider, evaluate and scrutinise of ANSTO’s proposed works is in terms of the safety contingency set by the independent regulator ARPANSA to retain ANSTO’s nuclear waste at Lucas Heights until the availability of a final isolation and disposal option. With respect, I think that should be the primary matter that should have been addressed by ANSTO in their submission to you and apparently was not.

My second key point is that, in contrast, ANSTO, as, with respect, a vested-interest proponent, presents a plan of proposed works that relies on proposed transfer of intermediate-level waste into indefinite above-ground storage in South Australia—potentially for up to 100 years. Firstly, I’d say that is arguably untenable, and I’d welcome a question line on that if it suits the committee. Secondly, it appears to pre-empt the proper role of ARPANSA licensing decision-making. ARPANSA have said that they will require separate licence processes to assess potential siting, construction and operation of a proposed store for ANSTO intermediate-level waste in South Australia. ANSTO don’t have a right, in the design of their plan and works toward you, to pre-empt a potential grant of outcome to that, and ARPANSA have been clear that they may or may not grant those licences in future.

Thirdly, your mandate as a committee goes to both scrutinising and assessing proposed works. But it holds a fundamental provision, in that you have a right to alter the proposed works—and I would ask you to consider doing so—to make them best comply with the suitability of the overarching purpose of meeting the best public value in the proposed works and the best cost-effectiveness in expenditure of public funds. With respect, I would say that that assessment and the scrutiny which you provide to ANSTO’s application should be in terms of their capacity and willingness to match the safety contingencies set by the independent regulator to retain intermediate-level waste on site at Lucas Heights until availability of a final isolation and disposal option.

Fourthly: I think the scrutiny that your committee would conduct is best served by the highest level of transparency. In that respect, I would call for you to ask ANSTO to publicly release two fundamentally important reports with regard to their planning and capacities to manage intermediate-level waste at Lucas Heights that were due under their licensing conditions. These reports were due to the independent regulator mid last year, in June. Those reports, as far as I’m aware, are not before your committee in the public evidence, and they should be. With respect, I think they should have been available for members of the public to scrutinise in their preparation of submissions to you. Further, in terms of transparency, it would be best if you could bring onto the public record ARPANSA’s evaluation of those ANSTO reports on their plans and capacities to manage intermediate-level waste at Lucas Heights. Preferably, you would hear from the regulator, ARPANSA, given their overarching role in these public interest issues. They would give evidence before you as a witness, for instance, or you could at least put questions to them.

In conclusion, I would present that ANSTO’s proposed plan fails to meet the proper safety contingency for extended storage of intermediate-level waste on site at Lucas Heights. This is, with respect, the primary purpose and warranted public interest measure by which their work should be scrutinised, assessed and evaluated by your committee. In my view and experience, ANSTO’s proposed public works appear premised on an ill-considered, unassured and, arguably, untenable proposed transfer of intermediate-level waste into indefinite above-ground storage in South Australia. That’s a plan which may never come to fruition, just as the prior proposal by then Prime Minister Howard’s federal government to impose transfer and storage of ANSTO’s nuclear waste into South Australia, which was run between 1998 and 2004, had to be abandoned as a flawed proposal.

The then Prime Minister gave assurances that it wouldn’t be renewed for South Australia, and yet we have to face this federal government’s policy agenda to transfer waste out of Lucas Heights unnecessarily when, arguably, it could be safely and securely managed. As the CEO of ARPANSA has said, nuclear waste can be safely managed at ANSTO at Lucas Heights for decades to come. With respect, that should be the premise on which your committee addresses the works before you…. https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;db=COMMITTEES;id=committees%2Fcommjnt%2Fcfc4f9dc-b73c-4166-b484-eeaddcab5bc0%2F0001;query=(Dataset%3Acommsen,commrep,commjnt,estimate,commbill%20SearchCategory_Phrase%3Acommittees)%20CommitteeName_Phrase%3A%22parliamentary%20standing%20committee%20on%20public%20works%22;rec=4

October 4, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: