Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Kimba nuclear waste dump is absolutely not a foregone conclusion – David Noonan.

ANSTO have made decisions on the location of this new facility relative to the existing facility, and they’ve made that decision in terms of how much waste there will be and for how long they consider it to be their responsibility to retain those wastes on site. I think that those evaluations should have been made with the primary safety contingency in mind to retain not just existing waste and the next decade’s waste, but—if their intention is to operate the OPAL reactor through to 2057 under this existing licence—the full complement of waste that they intend to produce.

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 ZAPPIA: Mr Noonan, you expressed some concerns about the facility in South Australia proceeding. What are those concerns? That is, why do you believe that it is still not a foregone conclusion that that facility will be built?


Mr Noonan : In a number of respects it’s absolutely not a foregone conclusion. You should first consider prior evidence that with all of the power and influence of the Howard federal government, which tried between 1988 and 2004 to do, analogously, the same imposition of ANSTO nuclear waste on South Australia, and they failed. They had to abandon their plan and proposal. They recognised it was flawed and electorally unacceptable in the lead up to the 2004 federal election.

Secondly, it’s illegal in South Australia. The plan as proposed by ANSTO—the import, transport and storage of nuclear waste—was made illegal by the previous South Australian Liberal Premier, John Olsen AO. He passed legislation that prohibits the import, transport and storage of those wastes. So it’s against the law. It’s against the will of the parliament and the people in South Australia. It’s highly publicly contentious. The South Australian opposition ALP oppose the plan. They say that the process is flawed.

Federal Labor have raised some concerns about the double-handling and the failure of the government to further any proposal to reach a waste-disposal isolation capacity. There are significant concerns at the public level that it’s untenable and unacceptable, in terms of safety and security for SA, to simply bring ANSTO’s nuclear waste complement over to SA and store it above ground, potentially indefinitely—for up to 100 years, according to the regulator—in what is effectively a fancy shed in regional SA, on agricultural land, against the will of traditional owners, compared to the safety and security that is already provided for at Lucas Heights.

ARPANSA hold the deciding factor, essentially, on whether licences are ever granted in future to site, construct and operate the proposed store that ANSTO’s plans—the works before you—rely on. In terms of democracy within South Australia, and in terms of the consideration that your committee and ANSTO should have to give to not pre-empt ARPANSA’s future licensing decisions, I think there are multiple time lines and tests that would have to be passed by ANSTO’s plan to transfer waste to South Australia before that could ever be relied upon, and one of those tests is the South Australian election early next year.

…….. Mr PASIN: You’re obviously concerned about an engineering matter that would prevent it operating in the long term. I would have thought that, whether you’re storing waste for a short period or a long period, a facility like this would have to be engineered to similar standards, wouldn’t it?

Mr Noonan : For instance, ANSTO have made decisions on the location of this new facility relative to the existing facility, and they’ve made that decision in terms of how much waste there will be and for how long they consider it to be their responsibility to retain those wastes on site. I think that those evaluations should have been made with the primary safety contingency in mind to retain not just existing waste and the next decade’s waste, but—if their intention is to operate the OPAL reactor through to 2057 under this existing licence—the full complement of waste that they intend to produce. They should have to show a plan and a capacity to retain those wastes at Lucas Heights for the period required, and I don’t know if the existing works as proposed match that public purpose….  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

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