Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Do we want another nuclear industry puppet in the South Australian federal seat of Grey?

There are 3 contenders for this electorate, for the coming Federal election.

ANDREA BROADFOOT for Centre Alliance “This election is for our grandchildren, and theirs. Energy security, reliability and affordability through renewable sources” 

Andrea stood for this seat in 2016, and came very close to winning it, moving it from a (safely ignored by government safe seat) – to marginal (1.9%), which has brought millions of dollars of Government investment into the regions.

ROWAN RAMSEY The current Liberal Federal Member of Parliament, Rowan Ramsey, is an enthusiastic mouthpiece for the nuclear industry. If you tap his name into the “Search” slot on this page, you will see his many efforts on behalf of the nuclear industry.

RICHARD CARMODY  – Independent .

Kazzi Jai  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 17 Mar 19 writes: 

Richard Carmody originally from Cowell and now lives in Whyalla has tossed his hat into the ring as an Independent.

Purely ONLY so that people are informed of these candidates, here is his policy on Nuclear from his website – with an INTERESTING TWIST when it comes to his policy on Coal!!

Regardless, seems people are NOT HAPPY with Rowan Ramsey. I wonder why?….(rhetorical question of course!) – we must also be careful of EXACTLY what POLICIES these OTHER CONTENDERS PUT FORWARD!!!

“Nuclear Since I’ve worked at Roxby (a copper and uranium mine) and Beverley (a uranium leach operation) people wonder about whether I advocate for nuclear related things. I’m neutral on nuclear. I am not for it nor against it. I am concerned there is a really poor understanding of radioactivity, radiation and nuclear science amongst the public, thanks to many years of sensationalist media and documentaries, both for and against, with agendas to push. The first thing I’d like is for an education program for the public on radioactivity and nuclear science to be put out. Then after people are much better informed, then they can decide if they want nuclear energy or the waste dumps and once the people decide, then I’ll go along with what they want.”

And then the PENNY DROPS!! He is IN FAVOUR OF NUCLEAR POWER!!

“Coal
Coal’s effect on climate emissions is much higher than that for oil and gas, roughly double to triple, depending on how you look at it. So it would be unwise to have any new coal power. That said, it is sensible to maintain the existing coal fleet until we have sufficient renewables / storage or other types of low carbon energy(ie nuclear) to support at least 50% of our energy usage.”

The fact that he wrote on his home page: “I will donate the other half to small parties that are going in the right direction (Sustainable Australia, Real Democracy, Reason etc)”…should have been a bit of a give away…..

Just realised his policy on COAL involves the use of NUCLEAR!!!!! How the hell can you be “neutral on nuclear” when you then advocate “low carbon energy (ie NUCLEAR) to support at least 50% of our energy usage”?????????????

Noel Wauchope  not for it nor against it” means pro nuclear – as it means – just letting it happen. Let us not forget the lie about nuclear curing climate change is still a LIE. Carbon-14 is produced in coolant at boiling water reactors (BWRs) and pressurized water reactors (PWRs). It is typically released to the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide at BWRs, and methane at PWRs. EPRI | Product Abstract | Impact of Nuclear Power Plant Operations on Carbon-14 Generation, Chemical Forms, and Release”. www.epri.com.

Carbon emissions are released in lage amounts throughout the entire nuclear fuel chain – from uranium mining, milling, conversion, enrichment, fuel fabrication, through to radioactive trash management and eventual burial. AND all the transport involved in between these stages.. AND all the building of all the stages’ facilities, and eventual demolition thereof.

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March 18, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Uranium tailings at Olympic Dam – radioactive for at least 10,000 years- must be SAFELY managed!

Initial Scoping – Olympic Dam Expansion Issues 22 Feb 2019 David Noonan B.Sc., M.Env.St., Independent Environment Campaigner“……….Radioactive Tailings Management

The 1982 Indenture places an onus on the SA Gov. to grant approvals on terms to facilitate mining.

Roxby Tailings Storage Facilities are to be covered and ‘disposed’ above-ground as final landforms.

Civil society must not accept continued downgrade of standards in Roxby uranium mine expansions.

A full comprehensive safety assessment to determine long term risks from radioactive tailings must be a core required part of this assessment AND apply the 1999 standards set at Ranger mine.

The most recent assessment of Radioactive Tailings Management at Roxby granted Federal and SA Gov. Approvals (Nov 2011) to vastly increase tailings production (from the now lapsed open pit mine proposal) prior to actually carrying out this type of safety study on the long term risks from tailings.

The 2011 Roxby Approvals downgraded the key 1999 standards applied to Ranger uranium mine.

Instead of Federal Gov. required final disposal of tailings (in to a pit) “in such a way to ensure that:

  1. i)The tailings are physically isolated from the environment for at least 10,000 years;
  2. ii) ii) Any contaminants arising from the tailings will not result in any detrimental environmental impact for at least 10,000 years;” Olympic Dam Condition 32 Mine Closure (Nov 2011) defers a Mine Closure Plan and only applies unstated environmental outcomes: “that will be achieved indefinitely post mine closure”, and:

“c. contain a comprehensive safety assessment to determine long term (from closure to in the order of 10,000) risk to the public and the environment from the Tailings Storage Facility and Rock Storage Facility.”

Requiring outcomes to “be achieved indefinitely” does recognise that tailings risks are perpetual.

However, rather than specific high standards of outcome set at Ranger for at least 10,000 years, this 2011 approval has unstated outcomes and only references 10,000 yrs as a period of modelling study.

 In April 2013 Condition 32 was amended to further defer the safety risk assessment, from “within two years of the date of the approval”, to: “prior to the construction of the Tailings Storage Facility”.

 A “No Uranium Recovery” alternative leaves all uranium & associated radioactive decay products in the tails. Roxby mine extracts approx. 2/3 of the uranium from the ore, with 1/3 left in the tailings.

In current mining practice, tailings retain some 90 per cent of the radioactivity in the ore (given the decay product radionuclides remain, thorium & radium ect). Deporting all uranium to the tails doesn’t affect the public interest requirement, in any case, to isolate tailings for over 10,000 years.

 Note: BHP “Tailings Facility Update” (19 Feb 2019) claims a review shows “no significant deficiencies” at Olympic Dam Tailings Storage Facilities and says: “BHP supports calls for greater transparency in tailings management disclosure”. The BHP “Dams and Tailings Management” page cites “establishment of independent Tailings Stewardship Boards to undertake reviews”, and says: “A trial of the stewardship program has been completed at our Olympic Dam asset in SA”. https://nuclear.foe.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Noonan-Olympic-Dam-Expansion-2019.pdf

March 9, 2019 Posted by | politics, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

BHP wants the South Australian government to further weaken standards at Olympic Dam uranium mine

Initial Scoping – Olympic Dam Expansion Issues 22 Feb 2019 David Noonan B.Sc., M.Env.St., Independent Environment Campaigner “………   Mine Expansion Assessment – to drive down Standards?

BHP will shortly release a formal Application to the SA Gov., the SA State Planning Commission & Mines Minister will decide the level of assessment and reporting requirements, and the SA Gov. release “Guidelines” to the EIS. Public consultation & NGO input should occur on draft Guidelines.

 These Guidelines to the EIS are crucial to the credibility of the mine expansion assessment and this process is likely to be conducted before the Federal election and to be near binding thereafter.

There are a range of reasons for concern over this Roxby mine expansion project and assessment:

  • Public interest appraisal of this 2019 project needs to draw on analysis of BHP Roxby operations from 2005-06 and expansion proposals, process, decisions & conditions to 2013;
  • The outdated 1982 Indenture imposes extraordinary legal privileges and vested interests of the proponent, including over Aboriginal Heritage, that are intended to continue to apply;
  • A new SA Mining Act currently before Parliament to apply updated standards to all other mining projects in SA is not proposed to apply to SA’s largest mine: BHP Olympic Dam;
  • Roxby is also governed by the Mine Works and Inspection Act 1920 which solely provides the powers for Mine Inspectors to enter & inspect and to make Orders, however the Depart has sought to repeal this Act and roll these powers over Roxby into the proponents Indenture;
  • The SA Gov.’s Major Project Declaration has sought to impose serious limitations on this assessment, contrary to the standards, coverage, analysis and transparency that are required to inform good public interest decisions and conditions in this case

; · Successive SA Gov.’s have failed to secure a Rehabilitation Bond over the Olympic Dam mine. This process must now do so, requiring a new appraisal of liabilities over all mine operations: existing, enabling 200 000 tpa, and proposed expansion works and impacts; ;

  • Olympic Dam should be subject to a statutory mandated 100 per cent Bond applying the ‘most stringent conditions’ over estimated Rehabilitation Liabilities to ensure full costs in radioactive ore mining are secured in advance. See D Noonan submission (April 2017) to the Federal Inquiry on Rehabilitation of Mining (due to report 20 March
  • 2019): https://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.ashx?id=3ecf8af6-a640-47d9-96c0-22c03df14728&subId=510447
  • Radioactive Tailings Storages at Roxby are designed and operated to leak liquid wastes, with inadequate lining to cut costs. The BHP open pit expansion proposal was also designed to leak. This 2019 expansion project is highly likely to be designed to leak and to cut costs by failing to require physical isolation of tailings from the environment for at least 10 000 years;
  • This assessment should include a range of alternatives to the proponent’s vested interest preferences, including that the ‘No Uranium Recovery’ option to only trade in copper and other non-radioactive products should be assessed across all Roxby operations;
  • The SA Gov. has a significant conflict of interest in this case and the ‘one stop shop’ Bilateral Assessment Agreement Clause 8.1, c (ii) seeks to constrain the coverage of Conditions applied by the Federal Minister. In practice, this Federal Liberal Gov. failed to impose Conditions on Radioactive Tailings Management in granting uranium mine Approvals in WA;
  • The next Federal Gov. must apply the ‘most stringent conditions’ on all uranium mining operations & reject ‘clearly unacceptable impacts’ on MNES under EPBC including on the fragile Mound Springs, as the State of South Australia can-not be relied upon to do so…….  https://nuclear.foe.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Noonan-Olympic-Dam-Expansion-2019.pdf

March 9, 2019 Posted by | politics, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

BHP’s grand plans for Olympic Dam uranium mine, using old legislation for open slather on water, Aboriginal rights, environment

Initial Scoping – Olympic Dam Expansion Issues 22 Feb 2019 David Noonan B.Sc., M.Env.St., Independent Environment Campaigner The BHP Roxby ‘Major Project’ Copper & Uranium Mining Proposal: ‘Olympic Dreams: Major step for $3 billion, 1800-job North mine expansion’ (15 Feb, p.1 promo The Advertiser) as SA Gov. grant’s “Major Project” status to assess BHP’s latest expansion plan, to:

  • Increase copper production from 200,000 tonnes per annum to 350 000 tpa, with an increase in ‘associated products’ – uranium oxide: from 4 000 to approx. 6 000 tpa;
  •   Use the outdated 1982 Roxby Downs Indenture Ratification Act to control this EIS assessment under the Mining Minister, with the Indenture over-riding other SA legislation and subjecting Aboriginal Heritage to a constrained version of a 1979 Act across BHP Olympic Dam operations in the Stuart Shelf Area (covering 1 per cent of SA) – rather than the contemporary standards, process and protections in the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988;
  • Use a since replaced 1993 Development Act and “Major Project” status Sec. 46 (1) that excludes Appeals regarding the Environment Impact Statement (EIS) process and outcomes;
  • Use a ‘one stop shop’ Bilateral Assessment Agreement leaving the SA Gov. to conduct the assessment, including on Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES)under the Commonwealth Environment Protection legislation (EPBC Act 1999), on nuclear actions and on the fragile Mound Springs Endangered Ecological Community – reliant on GAB waters;
  • Use the SA Gov. Declaration to “Exclude” existing mining and “enabling activities” up to 200 000 tpa Cu & associated products and resultant impacts from this EIS assessment, “such as: waste treatment, storage and disposal, including but not limited to, Tailings Storage Facility 6, Evaporation Pond 6, additional cells for the contaminated waste disposal facility, and development of a low-level radioactive waste storage facility”;
  • And to increase extraction of Great Artesian Basin fossil water “up to total maximum 50 million litres a day annual average” (above the volumes last assessed in 1997 and set at a max of 42 Ml/day) and give BHP rights to take GAB water – potentially up to 2070, with “any augmented or new water supply pipeline from the GAB along with any other wellfield”;…… ……. . https://nuclear.foe.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Noonan-Olympic-Dam-Expansion-2019.pdf

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Olympic Dam, politics, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Paying a small tribute to Fr Denis Edwards RIP (March 5th) and his love of Earth and All connected

I am opposed to an international waste dump in SA, because I believe we are called by God to love and to respect this land as a gift, and to protect its integrity for future generations. As Pope Francis has insisted, “intergenerational solidarity is not an option, but a basic question of justice.” He insists on the priority and fundamental role of indigenous peoples in all such decisions about the land: “For them land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values”  (Laudato Si’, 146).”

Professor Denis Edwards Theology, Australian Catholic University, Priest of the Archdiocese of Adelaide

Paying a small local tribute to Denis and his memory- from  No Dump Alliance website. 
Thank you Denis
Michele Madigan
Acknowledging Ngarrindjeri Ruwe

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, religion and ethics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Friends of the Earth congratulates “The Advertiser” on its coverage of the safety dangers of Kimba nuclear waste dump plan

Jim Green shared a link. Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia  Unpublished letter to The Advertiser  … Congratulations to The Advertiser for exposing the terrorist risks associated with Canberra’s plan to establish a national nuclear waste dump in SA. The government’s claim that the dump would pose “no security or safety risk to the community” is contradicted by the plan to station 14 security and safeguards officers at the site.

The nuclear dump would be subject to aircraft strikes and intrusions. It would also be a target for terrorists removing drums to make a radioactive “dirty bomb” ‒ risks that have previously been flagged by nuclear engineers Alan Parkinson and John Large:

”If terrorists can raid a nuclear waste repository or store and steal radioactive material,” Mr Parkinson said, “they can easily spread it by conventional explosives.”

Nuclear terrorist hazards also apply to nuclear waste transportation. In 2006, a reporter succeeded in planting a fake bomb on a train carrying nuclear waste in north-west London.
A NSW Parliamentary Inquiry found there “is no doubt that the transportation of radioactive waste increases the risk of accident or incident – including some form of terrorist intervention”.
Premier Steven Marshall did himself proud by standing up against the dangerous plan to turn SA into the world’s nuclear waste dump. Will the Premier now stand up to Canberra and oppose the plan to turn SA into the nation’s nuclear waste dump?
Jim Green, Friends of the Earth  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

February 28, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, media, South Australia | Leave a comment

Olympic Dam Major Development Declaration

Olympic Dam Major Development Declaration, Friends of the Earth 28 Feb 19.  The South Australian Minister for Planning has declared that a proposal by BHP Ltd to expand the operations of the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine, located 550 km NNW of Adelaide, shall constitute a Major Development under section 46 of the Development Act 1993.

The proposal covers the expansion of mining and processing activities at Olympic Dam, including an additional take of water from the Great Artesian Basin. It allows for an increase in copper production from 200,000 tpa Cu and associated products to up to 350,000 tpa Cu and associated products, as well as new and/or expanded facilities to support the development.

The declaration of a Major Development takes the project outside the bounds of the usual development assessment process.  The type of assessment and reporting required for this project has yet to be decided by the State Planning Commission and Minister for Energy and Mining.  That decision will determine the degree of public consultation on offer, which this eBulletin will endeavor to report as soon as possible.

February 28, 2019 Posted by | South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Scrap the plan for a national nuclear waste dump at Kimba, South Australia

Facility should be scrapped, Eyre Tribune, AUSTEN EATTS, Kimba, 20 Feb 19,

My concerns are not with ANSTO, I appreciate and am aware of the work that is done there and its value.

My concern is the disposal of the waste that is created in the proposed National Radioactive Waste Facility in the Kimba district.

I realise the need for the waste facility for Australia’s waste only.

 If it is as safe as claimed why transport the waste half way across Australia to become the responsibility of the rural community also when we have so much arid and semi-arid land in Australia.

The site will be here for hundreds if not thousands of years the responsibility of future generations.

I went to the first meeting organised by Rowan Ramsey our federal member, he said it would be low level waste that would be deposited in the proposed site.

The next meeting there would also be stored on a temporary basis intermediate level waste for a time of approximately three or four decades and an offer of ten million dollars and 15 jobs.

Now it is $31 million plus two million dollars every year for at least two years, a total of $35 million, plus 45 jobs.

The storage time for the intermediate waste could be 100 years.

The cost to build the waste facility is estimated to be approximately $200 million.

The 100 hectares of land will become federal government property, our local government, state government and present federal government will have no control over its future use.

The money offered is a bribe to call it anything else is just playing with words.

Regarding the proposed voting, at present between 700 and 800 people in the Kimba district have the right to vote.

The population of South Australia is approximately 1.5 million people.

The voters in the Kimba district will make the decision as to whether not only Kimba or Eyre Peninsula but the whole of South Australia will have a radioactive waste facility whether they want it or not.

It is undemocratic, unfair, the whole proposition should be scrapped.

Eyre Peninsula is a unique part of South Australia, don’t spoil it with a radioactive waste facility.https://www.eyretribune.com.au/story/5914045/letters-to-the-editor/?fbclid=IwAR03Y5IJmNdL0bkVW3-l89eRaixcbcpRvJgXhE75rWcR0JVaP0f3uqfe8vs

February 26, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | 1 Comment

Kimba and Hawker communities kept in the dark about the dangers of hosting nuclear wastes

Risk of terrorism at radioactive waste site kept secret from residents near earmarked sites, Jade Gailberger, Federal Political Reporter, The Advertiser February 24, 2019
https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/risk-of-terrorism-at-radioactive-waste-site-kept-secret-from-residents-near-earmarked-sites/news-story/2d275aa3353d665011b9b4792b5dea17  

The risk of terrorist activity at a radioactive waste site, including the removal of drums for use in a “dirty bomb”, has been kept secret from residents near two sites earmarked for a new national dump.
As the communities of Hawker and Kimba remain divided on the site selection for a new waste site, documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws reveal the Defence Department identified a potential risk of terrorist activity at a dump at Woomera.
The revelation has cemented the security concerns of residents, who say they have been ignored by Government officials.

The now closed Koolymilka dump, situated on Defence land at Woomera, was licensed for temporary radioactive waste storage but has not taken new material since 2010.

An emergency response plan for the site, which still houses waste that is anticipated to be transferred to a national facility, details scenarios that may affect it including:

    • TERRORISTS removing drums to make a “dirty bomb”.
    • MISSILE and aircraft strikes, fire, flood or a storm in Woomera that could damage the building and cause contamination if drums ruptured.
    • CIVILIAN protest activity.

Defence has said it has no responsibility to inform the public of the risks because the new waste dump is an Industry Department project.

Kimba farmer Peter Woolford, who is opposed to radioactive waste storage on agricultural land, said security, terrorism and fire concerns at a national site had been raised but “fobbed off” by officials who claimed it “would be safe”.
“The (Industry) Department continually says it is going to be open and transparent but you have to obtain FOI documents to get the full story,” he said. “It’s an issue that the department should be … explaining.”

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick said communities had been denied information needed to make an informed decision about a dump in their region.
At a Senate estimates hearing last week, Mr Patrick asked if the Industry Department had briefed the communities about potential terrorism. Industry Minister Matt Canavan said: “I have never been provided with any advice that this is at all a risk … this has never been raised as an issue”.
The Industry Department said the new dump would pose “no security or safety risk to the community” and “significant detail” on safety and security had been made public.
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation said 14 of 45 jobs at the new dump would be security.

February 25, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Earthquake sends tremor through Kimba’s proposed Nuclear Waste Dump Site

Michael Kilowsky 18 Feb 19 

Today’s Cleve 3.1M Earthquake sends tremor through Kimba’s proposed Nuclear Waste Dump Site

February 19, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Are there ANY members now on the Kimba radioactive dump community consultative committee?

At 7th February 2019, all positions on the Kimba radioactive dump community consultative committee are vacant.
Committee members  as in 2018 – the committee doesn’t seem to have been active since June 2018?
  • Allan Suter (Convener)
  • Dean Johnson (Deputy Convener)
  • Symon Allen.
  • Heather Baldock.
  • Jeffrey Frank Baldock.
  • Pat Beinke.
  • Randall Cliff.
  • Kellie Hunt.

February 19, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

News Corps Adelaide Advertiser is well in the grip of the nuclear lobby, as is The Australian

Noel Wauchope, 19 Feb 19 Today’s Adelaide Advertiser makes it clear. Adam Creighton , Economics Editor at The Australian, is quoted approvingly, as he calls for Australia’s laws against nuclear power to be removed – “for the public good”

According to Mr Creighton – nuclear power is ” ‘the best, most reliable, emissions-free form of power’”

Never mind that nuclear power is hugely expensive, takes decades to set up, lacks the flexibility needed in modern energy systems, and produces toxic wastes  –  https://www.ecowatch.com/nuclear-power-cost-renewables-2625524662.html

Emissions free?  That’s a lie . more – http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/05/why-nuclear-power-is-not-low-carbon/

February 19, 2019 Posted by | media, South Australia | Leave a comment

In this time of critical drought, water shortage, South Australia’s govt lets BHP expand its water-guzzling Olympic Dam uranium mine

 

Why does BHP get this water for free?

 

SA boost for Olympic Dam expansion  https://www.sbs.com.au/news/sa-boost-for-olympic-dam-expansion  15 Feb 19, The South Australian government has granted the expansion of the Olympic Dam project major development status.  BHP’s plans for a $3 billion expansion of its Olympic Dam project in South Australia’s north have been granted major development status by the state government.

The government’s move, gazetted on Thursday, clears the way for the company to increase annual copper production from 200,000 to 350,000 tonnes.

It also allows it to boost gold, silver and uranium production and to lift water extraction from the Great Artesian Basin to a maximum of 50 megalitres a day.

Declaring BHP’s proposed expansion of Olympic Dam a major development is a key milestone in this important project,” Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said.

“Olympic Dam is already the state’s largest mining operation, providing jobs, investment and royalties for South Australia.

“(This is) a very important project that, if it goes ahead, would contribute 1800 additional jobs in South Australia during construction, and another permanent 600 jobs on site at Olympic Dam.”

But the minister said the project was still subject to thorough assessment, particularly the plan to extract more water.

“All potential environmental impacts, potential social impacts, potential economic impacts will be considered incredibly thoroughly,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

Local communities will also be consulted on the company’s plans.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said it would be several years before an expanded mine could begin operation.

The state government’s declaration also covers BHP’s development plans outside the mining lease, including proposals for extra accommodation. The proposed expansion of Olympic Dam has had a chequered history after first being mooted by the previous owners, Western Mining, back in 2002.

BHP initially proposed a $30 billion expansion, including development of one of the world’s largest open cut mines, but put the plans on hold in 2012.

The company has since been looking at lower-cost, smaller scale, alternatives to its original proposals.

February 16, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Mental health issues in Kimba community divided by nuclear waste dump proposal

Nuclear waste site selection process triggers mental health concerns, business boycotts and division, FOI documents reveal https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-13/foi-documents-show-kimba-divided-over-nuclear-waste-site/10807462  ABC North and West By Gary-Jon Lysaght   (FOI documents are attached on the original) Freedom of Information (FOI) documents reveal the Federal Government has been aware of potential mental health issues, from as early as 2017, caused by the search for a site to store the nation’s nuclear waste.The Federal Government is currently considering two sites at Kimba and one near Hawker for a facility that would permanently store low-level waste and temporarily store medium-level waste.

Kimba, a small town on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, has been divided on whether to support or oppose the facility. Some residents believe the facility could help bring much-needed business to the rural town, while others suggest it could damage the region’s agricultural reputation.

“Many of the opposed group have raised the issue of mental health in submissions and direct discussions,” the FOI documents, written in 2017, said.

They believe mental health issues are arising in Kimba due to the stress of being in this process.

“These issues have been raised with the Kimba doctor and counsellor.”

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick obtained the Freedom of Information documents and hoped the concerns were a catalyst for change.

“In my view, that creates a very strong obligation for the Government to act,” he said.

“They’ve clearly known about this issue since 2017 and it is now time to ask the minister exactly what he is doing in relation to that.”

Industry, Innovation and Science Minister, Matt Canavan, is responsible for determining which site should be chosen for the facility.

“If anyone in Kimba advises they have concerns about their health, they can be referred to the Kimba Mental Health and Wellbeing Group,” a department spokesman said.  “Following a Community Benefit Program application, that group received funding of $30,000 for Healthy Mind Healthy Community workshops to improve resilience, mental health and wellbeing.”

Site selection process ongoing

The site selection process has been put on hold since traditional owners took the District Council of Kimba to court over a proposed community ballot on support for the facility.

The Barngarla Native Title Determination Aboriginal Corporation took the matter to the Federal Court because not all native title holders were included in the ballot.

A decision will be made on the court action this year, with Native Title holders claiming the ballot would breach the Racial Discrimination Act.

owever, an early technical assessment gave the Napandee property a score of 90, while Lyndhurst received 82.

“Both sites were ranked as ‘highly suitable’ by the initial desktop assessment,” the FOI documents said.

“This assessment involved a multi-criteria site assessment where the sites were evaluated against criteria of health, safety, security, environment protection, equity, economic viability, and stable environment.

“On balance, it is recommended that if there is a decision to proceed, both sites should be taken forward.

“If only one site is taken forward, it is recommended to be Napandee.”

This is despite a consultation in 2016, mentioned in the documents, found “that the Lyndhurst site was preferred by the community”.

“Given the perception it is ‘further out of town’ and on less productive land, but there is no strong basis for this assessment.”

Community divided

The documents also revealed that the Federal Government was aware of the “strong division” within Kimba that the site selection process was causing.

“It is unlikely community views will change significantly in the short to medium term, with a block of around 40 per cent persistently strongly opposed,” the documents said. “There is strong division in the town and this is expected to continue and may become more vocal in the short term.”

Jeff Baldock owns Napandee, the site indicated to be preferred by the Federal Government in the FOI documents.

“It’s been a very long process,” he said.

“When it first started out, there was probably a few things that could have been done better.

“But as it’s gone along, everyone’s had plenty of opportunity to find out what they want to know.”

Mr Baldock said there had been “vague references” to mental health concerns. (Below: Jeff Baldock and family) 

“But I’ve never actually spoken to anyone who feels particularly that way and I know that the department did have an open offer that they could contact them.”

Peter Woolford is Chair of No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or South Australia, an organisation against the facility.

He said there was no doubt that the site selection process had caused mental health concerns within the community.

“We’ve lost people from our community because of it,” he said.

“People I speak to are reluctant to go into Kimba much these days.

“It’s disappointing to say the least that if you went up the street and tried to have a conversation about the nuclear waste facility from people from opposite sides, you wouldn’t get much of a conversation.”

Boycotting businesses

Another section of the documents found there had been some cases of businesses being boycotted by locals if the owner either supported or opposed the facility.

“Business owners have noted that boycotting of businesses by the opposed group is occurring,” the documents said.

“While these claims may be exaggerated, this would appear valid and detrimental to the town.”

The ABC has also been told that those opposed to the facility were boycotting businesses that supported it.

It has also been told that up to 90 per cent of businesses at Kimba supported the facility.

Senator Patrick was concerned about the impact boycotting businesses could have on a town like Kimba.

“Kimba is a very small township and the last thing you want to have is animosity developing across members of the community,” he said.

“To the point where they simply won’t go and shop in a particular shop because of someone’s view on this issue.”

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Anti nuclear campaigner Eileen Wani Wingfield honoured posthumously at the 2018 SA Environment Awards. 

Family accepts Lifetime Achiever Award in Eileen’s honour  https://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/5892492/eileen-wingfield-honoured-as-a-conservation-legend/?cs=1538&fbclid=IwAR0EgYbVPqxhd1EkhHXcL5Z-k8cuWyWWjDAHvuJznCeeDlliHoOudQ1toSo#slide=1, Amy Green, 13 Feb 19, 

February 14, 2019 Posted by | personal stories, South Australia | 1 Comment