Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

John Quiggan demolishes the case for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors in South Australia

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINJOHN QUIGGIN John Quiggin is Professor of Economics at the University of Queensland.

John Quiggan’s Submission to the #NuclearCommissionSAust addressed Question 3.2 of the Issues Papers:

“Are there commercial reactor technologies (or emerging technologies which may be commercially available in the next two decades) than can be installed and connected to the NEM?” 

Extract “….Business SA wants Australia to adopt the PRISM reactor, a so-called Generation IV design. Unfortunately, “design” is the operative word here: PRISM is, literally, still on the drawing

(Tell them they’re dreaming • Inside Story http://insidestory.org.au/tell-them-theyre-dreaming 3 of 4 26/06/2015)

It does not exist even in prototype form. The US Department of Energy, along with designers GE and Hitachi, looked at the idea of building such a prototype at the Department’s Savannah River plant a few years ago, but the project has gone nowhere.

Much the same is true of another popular piece of nuclear vaporware, the “small modular reactor.” All but one of the American firms hoping to produce a prototype have abandoned or scaled back their efforts. The remaining candidate, NuScale, is hoping to have its first US plant operational by 2024, with commercial-scale production some time in the 2030s.

And, of course, there’s no guarantee that the new designs will work in economic terms, or that the problems of waste disposal and proliferation can be resolved. Even assuming this optimistic projection is met, small modular reactors aren’t going to be a viable option for Australia any time soon.

Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics from asserting, in its 2012 Australian Energy Technology Assessment, that “SMR technology could potentially be commercially available in the next five to ten years” and presenting it as a low-cost option for 2020. This absurdly optimistic claim was abandoned in the 2013 update, which drastically increased the estimated costs and dropped the claim that the technology would be feasible in 2020.

There is still a chance for nuclear power to contribute to decarbonisation of the global economy in China and other countries with an existing program or the state power to force through a crash program. But these conditions don’t exist in Australia, and there is no serious prospect that they will do so in time to play a substantial role in decarbonisation. Anyone who pretends nuclear power is a serious option for Australia under current conditions is dreaming or, worse still, deliberately diverting attention from the real issues. ……….” http://nuclearrc.sa.gov.au/app/uploads/2015/09/John-Quiggin-29-06-2015.pdf

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July 18, 2019 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

Huge volumes of water gulped by Olympic Dam uranium mine – even more with expanded mine

The nuclear cycle of destruction, Red Flag, James Plested, 12 July 2019  “……..The first stage of the cycle – the mining of uranium, the fuel used in nuclear power stations – is particularly relevant to Australia, home to an estimated 31 percent of the world’s known uranium reserves.

Uranium mining requires huge volumes of water – an obvious problem in arid Australia – and produces large quantities of toxic “tailings” which threaten the surrounding environment and people.

The historical record speaks for itself. According to the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, over the 38 years of operation of the Northern Territory’s Ranger mine, there have been around 200 leaks, spills or other breaches of the mine’s operating licence. In 2013, the collapse of a leach tank resulted in a spill of about 1 million litres of radioactive waste over the mine site.

Beyond the risk of accidents, there are many other downsides to nuclear power. One particularly relevant factor for Australia is that nuclear reactors require massive amounts of water. A typical US reactor, for example, consumes 114 million litres of water an hour. To put this in perspective, total residential water consumption in Melbourne, a city of 4.8 million people, in 2018 was around 32 million litres an hour.

Australian business heads and governments have long had an eye on further uranium mines. The anti-nuclear movements of the 1970s and early 1980s, as well as the later campaign against the proposed Jabiluka uranium mine (see article in this issue), kept this aspiration in check. In recent years, however, state and federal governments have renewed the push.

The South Australian government is supporting a proposal by BHP to expand massively the operations of its existing Olympic Dam mine – which contains the largest single uranium deposit in the world. And the day before the last election was called, the federal government abruptly announced its approval of a new uranium mine in Western Australia…….

The need for water means that reactors must be located close to rivers, lakes, dams or the ocean. In Australia, this would inevitably mean reactors would need to be built in or near densely populated areas…..” ……  https://redflag.org.au/node/6835

July 13, 2019 Posted by | environment, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

South Australian communities DID NOT voluntarily enter into process for hosting nuclear wastes

Katrina Bohr  No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 12 July 19
The Department has made a predictable media statement in reference to the Federal Court’s ruling today.

However please take note of the wording at the finish:

‘The department will examine the decision in detail in the coming days, before advising the communities who voluntarily entered into the process, of the next steps.’

When did the communities Voluntarily enter into the process?

The landholders volunteered their land, but the communities didn’t voluntarily enter into the process. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1314655315214929/

July 13, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

BIRDS VS BHP: Evaporation ponds at BHP’s Olympic Dam mine are killing hundreds of birds

BIRDS VS BHP: Evaporation ponds at BHP’s Olympic Dam mine are killing hundreds of birds

Hundreds of birds are dying each year after mistaking Olympic Dam’s evaporation ponds for wetlands. Environment campaigners want the miner to stop using them. Clare Peddie, Science Reporter, The Advertiser, July 10, 2019   

Conservationists want BHP to stop using evaporation ponds at Olympic Dam that kill hundreds of birds, including threatened species.

They want BHP to cancel plans for a new pond and phase out 146ha of existing ponds, which are used for the disposal of acidic waste water………

Scientist and environment campaigner David Noonan says it’s shocking that birds are drowned, choked or scalded by BHP’s highly acidic, toxic wastewater.

“They see this as a wetland in an arid region as they’re travelling through,” he said. “They’re typically poisoned by contact, they die on site or they’re poisoned and die later.”

BHP found 224 dead birds during weekly monitoring in the 2017-18 financial year and that included 39 banded stilts, a vulnerable species in SA.  The number of dead birds found annually has hardly changed since 2011-12, when the banded stilt, red-necked avocet, whiskered tern, grey teal, black swan, hoary-headed grebe, …..

Plans for a huge open cut mine that were shelved in 2012 would have required a phase-out of evaporation ponds, but BHP says that condition is no longer relevant or applicable to current growth and expansion of the underground mine.

BHP is preparing to make a submission to both state and federal governments for a sixth evaporation pond.

A separate submission on a the new tailings storage facility – about the size of the Adelaide CBD and ten storeys high – has already been made, triggering an Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act referral, as in the case of the endangered bird in the path of the interconnector.  https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/evaporation-ponds-at-bhps-olympic-dam-mine-are-killing-hundreds-of-birds/news-story/1b886e4946f87fb7a729e201282f5cfb

July 13, 2019 Posted by | environment, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium contamination in groundwater in an Adelaide suburb

July 8, 2019 Posted by | environment, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

South Australia the leader in energy efficiency

South Australia leads push for energy efficiency,   ,

July 1, 2019 Posted by | efficiency, South Australia | Leave a comment

BHP’s Olympic Dam uranium mine: tailings dump to larger than Adelaide and up to 30 metres high

David Noonan shared a link. No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1314655315214929/    June 22 19
BHP Olympic Dam Tailings dump to be larger than the CBD of Adelaide AND to be up to 30 metres high at the centre of the tailings pile – around the height of a 10 story building.
All BHP Olympic Dam radioactive toxic mine tailings waste must be isolated from the environment for over 10,000 years…
Please consider making a submission to the federal government who are inviting comments on the BHP Olympic Dam Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) 6 project – but only up to cob Friday 28th June, with no extensions (scroll down for info). Tell the fed’s they must not just approve this TSF 6 on the basis of the vested interest BHP Referral documents.
Key Recommendations are provided along with two Briefing papers prepared for Friends of the Earth Australia (FoEA) and available on-line:
“BHP seek a Toxic Tailings Expansion without a full Safety Risk Assessment” (DN, June 2019, 3 pages)
https://nuclear.foe.org.au/wp-content/uploads/ODM-Tailings-Briefing-22June2019.pdf
and
“Migratory Birds at Risk of Mortality if BHP continues use of Evaporation Ponds” (DN, June 2019, 3 pages)
https://nuclear.foe.org.au/wp-content/uploads/ODM-Migratory-Birds-BHP-Evaporation-Ponds-22June2019.pdf
A set of Key Recommendations on these issues to put to the federal government:
1. The Olympic Dam operation be assessed in its entirety with the full range of project impacts subject to public consultation
Given that uranium mining at Olympic Dam is a controlled “nuclear action” and Matter of National Environmental Significance (NES) under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), the integrity of environmental protection requires that the entire Olympic Dam operation be subject to impact assessment so that regulatory conditions can be applied “to consider impacts on the whole environment”. Continue reading

June 25, 2019 Posted by | Olympic Dam, politics, South Australia, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Tailings dams at Olympic Dam uranium mine are in the “extreme risk” category.

it is deeply disturbing that BHP recently confirmed that three of the tailings dams at Olympic Dam are in the “extreme risk” category.

This is the highest risk status according to what is often regarded as the best global industry benchmark – the Canadian Dam Association’s safety standards – and relates less to the likelihood of collapse and more to the severity of the resulting human and environmental impacts if a failure did happen.

The environmental threat of tailings dams    https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/the-environmental-threat-of-tailings-dams,12805

By Dave Sweeney  14 June 2019  BHP has applied to expand the Olympic Dam mine in SA, but with the recent failure of tailings dams, caution must be taken, writes Dave Sweeney.

AWAY FROM THE airbrushed corporate head offices, staged media events and slick communications products, the reality of the mining trade is pretty basic and very intrusive.

An orebody is identified, extracted, processed and removed and while the clothing might be high-visibility, many of the industry’s impacts tend to stay pretty low on the wider world’s radar.

Right now, the world’s biggest mining company, BHP, has formally applied to expand the massive Olympic Dam mine in northern South Australia.

This plan deserves serious attention and scrutiny for three key reasons: it involves the long-lived and multi-faceted threat of uranium, it proposes to use massive amounts of finite underground water and the company is in trouble globally over the management of mine wastes and residues currently stored in multiple leaking – and sometimes catastrophically failing – tailings dams.

BHP has recently commissioned a “tailings taskforce” to conduct a high-level review of the management of the company’s tailings dams or tailing storage facilities.

The move comes in the literal wake of the collapse of a tailings dam at the Samarco iron ore operation in Brazil in 2015 that saw 19 deaths along with widespread and continuing environmental damage.

The mine was a joint operation of BHP and Vale, a Brazilian mining multinational that is a major player in global iron and nickel production, promoting its mission as transforming natural resources into prosperity.

Or maybe not after an estimated 40 million cubic metres of toxic sludge from the collapsed dam poisoned the Doce River and utterly devasted the lives of the local Krenak people.

Nothing quite focuses the corporate mind as a high profile and high cost legal action and in May, BHP was served with a multi-party damages claim for over $7 billion on behalf of around 235,000 claimants.

The memory of Samarco and the dangers of large-scale tailings dam failure were tragically highlighted in January this year when another Vale tailings dam at the Brumadinho mine failed, resulting in terrible loss of life with a death toll of between two and three hundred people and massive environmental impact.

In this context, it is deeply disturbing that BHP recently confirmed that three of the tailings dams at Olympic Dam are in the “extreme risk” category.

This is the highest risk status according to what is often regarded as the best global industry benchmark – the Canadian Dam Association’s safety standards – and relates less to the likelihood of collapse and more to the severity of the resulting human and environmental impacts if a failure did happen.

In preparing to contest the new Olympic Dam expansion, environmental groups have commissioned a detailed analysis that clearly shows the tailings present a significant, near intractable, long-term risk to the environment.

However, there are serious concerns that BHP is seeking this major tailings expansion without a full Safety Risk Assessment — such an approach is inconsistent with modern environmental practice and community expectation.

Olympic Dam tailings contain around 80 per cent of the radioactivity associated with the original ore as well as around one-third of the uranium from the ore.

Since 1988, Olympic Dam has produced around 180 million tonnes (Mt) of radioactive tailings. These are intended to be left in extensive above-ground piles on-site forever.

BHP’s radioactive tailings at Olympic Dam are extensive and cover 960 ha or 9.6 km2, an area one-third larger than Melbourne’s CBD.

They have reached a height of 30 metres, roughly that of a ten-storey building, at the centre of tailings piles where water sprays are used to limit tailings dust release and potent radioactive radon gas is released to the atmosphere.

Critics of the planned expansion are calling for safety to be comprehensively and transparently assessed across all tailings at Olympic Dam, without any restrictions, exemptions or legal privileges to the company, before any decision on new storage facilities or more radioactive tailings production.

In the public interest, a full comprehensive tailings Safety Risk Assessment is required from BHP in the expansion Assessment Guidelines and this must be subject to public scrutiny in the EIS Assessment process.

Environment groups are demanding that the EIS Guidelines adopt the Federal Government’s Olympic Dam Approval Condition 32 Mine Closure (EPBC 2005/2270, Oct 2011) as a requirement on BHP for a full Comprehensive Safety Assessment, covering all radioactive tailings at Olympic Dam including that the tailings plan must:

‘…contain a comprehensive safety assessment to determine the long-term (from closure to in the order of 10,000 years) risk to the public and the environment from the tailings storage facility.’

In recognition that tailings risks are effectively perpetual, Condition 32 on Mine Closure requires environmental outcomes:

‘…that will be achieved indefinitely post mine closure.’

The SA Government’s Guidelines and the full comprehensive tailings Safety Risk Assessment must also incorporate the higher environmental standards set by the Federal Government in 1999 to regulate the Ranger Uranium Mine in Kakadu in the Northern Territory:

‘to ensure that:

  1. The tailings are physically isolated from the environment for at least 10,000 years;
  2. Any contaminants arising from the tailings will not result in any detrimental environmental impact for at least 10,000 years.’

There is an obligation for these Guidelines to mandate the application of the ‘high environmental standards’ set out in Object D of the Commonwealth-SA Assessment Bilateral Agreement.

BHP must demonstrate a plausible plan to isolate radioactive tailings mine waste from the environment for at least 10,000 years, in line with the Federal Government’s environmental requirements at the NT’s Ranger uranium mine.

And the South Australian and Federal Governments have a clear duty of care to make sure they do. After Brazil, no one in industry or government can ever say they didn’t know.

June 15, 2019 Posted by | South Australia, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Federal election candidates for Grey express their views on nuclear waste dump plan

Battle lines drawn in radioactive waste debate,  Transcontinental, Amy Green, 1 May 19

Radioactive waste plans have been a topic of contention in Grey for three years so it’s no surprise federal candidates were asked to clarify their views at an election forum at Central Oval on Wednesday.

Battle lines were drawn as current Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey continued with his support to locate a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at sites in the Flinders Ranges……..

Centre Alliance candidate Andrea Broadfoot rejected plans for the facility to be placed at either of the current proposed sites, a decision welcomed by the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association.

“It is Australia’s responsibility to take care of its own waste,” Ms Broadfoot said.

“We are calling for there to be broad community support … but we haven’t seen a definition of broad community support.

“Barndioota and Kimba are not the places and we need to go back to the drawing board.”

Candidate for Labor Karin Bolton and candidate for United Australia Party Alexander Warren echoed Ms Broadfoot’s sentiments.

Australia’s radioactive waste is currently stored at a purpose-built ‘Interim Waste Store’ at Lucas Heights in new South Wales and has been since 2015.

Nuclear Free Campaigner Dave Sweeney rejected claims by Mr Ramsey that the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) will no longer licence this facility unless there are plans to relocate the waste by 2022.

“ARPANSA have licensed this facility through to 2055, it requires periodic updates about the status of the government project, but its license is in no way in doubt and for Rowan Ramsey to suggest, state or imply that it is, is incorrect,” Mr Sweeney said.

“His motivation is his to clarify but that statement is incorrect and where it becomes a problem in the current situation is that it could further the pressure on people over saying yes or no to a national radioactive waste dump.

“The really important thing here from the view of the Australian Conservation Foundation is that nuclear medicine in Australia is secure with or without the proposed government facility.

“To create a situation where the person who is elected to represent the one electorate in Australia that is facing this challenge and this issue is putting out information which is demonstrably incorrect. It’s not helpful.”

The selection process for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility will continue after the May 18 federal election.  https://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/6101887/battle-lines-drawn-in-radioactive-waste-debate/?fbclid=IwAR0Pbmh2mUWat1wuglHeuXjIumwnNGD9Alk-Tz_CciFYlmBprO5LfCHJuEk

May 2, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

“Australia’s nuclear waste is a national issue and putting the burden on two semirural communities isn’t fair”

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australian aborigines again face a nuclear threat – as Federal Government plans a nuclear waste dump

Trident celebrations ignore Aboriginal victims of British nuclear weapons testing, Green Left, Linda Pearson, April 26, 2019 Issue 1218, Scotland   New threat from nuclear waste dump

“………..Aboriginal communities in South Australia now fear that they will be forced to bear the risks of radioactive contamination again. The Australian government is currently considering three sites for the location of a national nuclear waste dump, two on Barngarla land, near Kimba, and one on Adnyamathanha land at Wallerberdina Station, near the Finders Ranges.

The dump will host nuclear material currently stored at different sites in Australia, plus waste from Britain pursuant to a 2012 agreement between the British and Scottish governments. The agreement relates to waste generated by the reprocessing of Australian nuclear fuel at Dounreay. However, that waste is to remain where it is and a substituted amount will be shipped from the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing and decommissioning site, located on the coast of the Irish Sea.

The views of traditional owners have been sidelined throughout the process for choosing the dump’s location and Adnyamathanha’s traditional owners say that federal government contractors have already damaged sacred sites. As a result, two separate human rights complaints are outstanding in Australian courts.

Campaigners have called on the British and Scottish governments to halt the shipment while there is a risk that it will end up dumped on Aboriginal land without the consent of the Traditional Owners. However, the British government said the shipment “will comply with all relevant international laws” and the eventual destination of the waste is “a matter for the Australian authorities”. The British Environment Agency has so far failed to respond to requests to halt the shipment of waste from Sellafield.

The Scottish government has also failed to act to stop the shipment, despite expert advice it commissioned, which states that the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and, ultimately, Scottish ministers could refuse to authorise the shipment on human rights grounds.

Britain’s plans to celebrate 50 years of at-sea nukes erases the experience of Indigenous people affected by nuclear weapons testing. Those experiences should be front and centre in any discussion about nuclear weapons, as ICAN recognised.

Instead of celebrating, we should be looking at ways to redress the past and prevent future harm. Britain should apologise for its nuclear weapons testing and pay adequate compensation to those affected. The shipment of nuclear waste from Sellafield should be stopped.

But there is only one way we can prevent more lives being destroyed by nuclear weapons and that is by eliminating them altogether. https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/trident-celebrations-ignore-aboriginal-victims-british-nuclear-weapons-testing

April 27, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Busting ANSTO’s deceptive pro nuclear propaganda to the Kimba and Hawker communities

Kazzi Jai     https://www.facebook.com/groups/941313402573199/ Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste In The Flinders Ranges  23 Apr 19, How many times do you have to explain this to people? In response to some of ANSTO’s propaganda directed at the rural communities targeted for nuclear waste dumping……

So you have a specific inventory of what’s in the drums do you? You must be very special then – because that is not what has yet been released to the public! You seem to assume it’s in your words “aprons and gloves” from handling radioactive objects. There is much more to it. Did they mention that it must be shielded to be handled safely? The steel drums themselves act as the shield for the Low Level Nuclear waste and must be monitored to ensure they remain intact. The proposed dump is for the PERMANENT DISPOSAL of the Low Level Nuclear Waste as an above ground dump, but covered with yet to be determined substance so that it qualifies as an “near-surface” disposal site…and must be monitored for several hundred years for safety.
No-one in their right mind would guarantee that there will not be some form of leakage during all of those hundreds of years! Steel drums…concrete….do not last forever….especially when it comes to radioactivity as well as other external factors.
And then there’s the above ground “Temporary” storage of the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste which will be coming with it. We have been told that the proposed dump is not worth doing without the Intermediate Waste being “temporarily” stored there, from Lucas Heights – which is in fact double handling and NOT World’s Best Practise in any way shape or form! What is in the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste shielded casks – Did they say? Did they say how long the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste remains dangerous? Did they say how long the casks were guaranteed by the manufacturers?

Did they mention any hazards or risks? Any at all? 

IF it is so safe as they say – why was Sally’s Flat NSW not hounded to take this waste instead? Sally’s Flat is MUCH closer to Lucas Heights at 260kms – Lucas Heights is where over 90% of Australia’s nuclear waste is generated on site – and Sally’s Flat was deemed suitable as one of the six sites chosen by the Federal Government! Even Oman Ama in Qld is closer! Why transport it over 1500+kms into a prime export grain area or into the iconic world renowned Flinder’s Ranges in South Australia?

The answer is that once it is over the state border it becomes South Australia’s responsibility and liability and South Australia’s problem!
And to top it off – as the NATIONAL Nuclear Dump – not just ANSTO’s – the title of it should ring alarm bells – then all of the other states can effectively become “nuclear-free” at South Australia’s expense!

This is NOTHING to do with FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN or “green goo”. It is nothing to do with comparing it with other objects which frankly is pretty stupid because it is just a way of selling it and blurring lines of understanding! It is MUCH to do with SHAFTING nuclear waste from Lucas Heights, where it is currently safely stored and monitored, and is securely held. Lucas Heights in fact are the first to say “not in my backyard”!

Keep it all at Lucas Heights until the Intermediate Nuclear Waste can be PROPERLY dealt with! Then the Low Level Nuclear Waste can go in with that! In fact that was the intention of Lucas Heights and its enormous space all along – is that they would retain any waste they generated on site UNTIL they had found a suitable way of dealing with it once and for all and not for the next generations to have to come to deal with this man-made problem which they continue to generate! They had given themselves 80 – 100 years to find a solution. This current proposal is NOT a solution. It is simply burying the waste and abandoning it – a caveman’s solution to a 20th century problem!

South Australia is NOT the Nation’s Nuclear Dumping Ground!

NO means NO!     https://www.facebook.com/groups/941313402573199/

April 23, 2019 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Incompetent management of CSIRO’s nuclear waste – used by ARPANSA to promote South Australian Hawker waste dump plan?

This article looks like one of those softening up articles that ANSTO and ARPANSA like to put  out –  to persuade the Australian public that a radioactive waste dump is needed, in the beautiful Flinders Ranges.

It’s time that we all really woke up to the fact that the nuclear industry, its ignorant lobbyists and craven politicians, are incompetent simpletons regarding the global nuclear mess, and should not be trusted with their decisions that are aimed at furthering this toxic industry.

Rusted barrels of radioactive waste cost CSIRO $30 million  Steven Trask, Canberra Times, 7 Mar 17 

CSIRO faces a $30 million clean up bill after barrels of radioactive waste at a major facility were found to be “deteriorating rapidly” and possibly leaking.

An inspection found “significant rusting” on many of the 9,725 drums, which are understood to contain radioactive waste and other toxic chemicals.

CSIRO flagged a $29.7 million budget provision for “remediation works” at a remote location in its latest annual report.  Fairfax Media can reveal the work will take place at a CSIRO facility located on Department of Defence land near Woomera, South Australia.

The Woomera facility is currently one of Australia’s largest storage sites for low and intermediate-level radioactive waste.  A damning report of the Woomera facility was issued by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) after an inspection in April last year.

“Evidence was sighted that indicates the drums are now beginning to deteriorate rapidly,” read the report, seen by Fairfax Media.  “Significant rust on a number of the drums, deterioration of the plastic drum-liners and crushing of some stacked drums was observed.” Tests confirmed the presence of radioactive isotopes at one location and inspectors said there was a possibility the drums were leaking.

“Although unlikely, there is the possibility that the presence of deceased animals such as rodents and birds may indicate that some of the drums, which contain industrial chemicals, may be leaking into the environment.”

The mixture of water and concentrated radioactive material inside some of the drums also had the potential to produce explosive hydrogen gas, inspectors found.

They also noted CSIRO had little knowledge of what was inside many of the barrels, some of which are believed to date back more than 50 years.

“Without full knowledge [of] the contents of the drums, risks cannot be fully identified and risk controls cannot be appropriately implements to protect people and the environment,” inspectors noted in the report.

Many of the drums are understood to contain contaminated soil generated by government research into radioactive ores at Melbourne’s Fishermans Bend throughout the 1940s and 1950s.

The toxic soil was discovered by the Department of Defence in 1989, who sent it to Sydney’s Lucas Heights facility before it was palmed off to Woomera in 1994.

An ARPANSA spokeswoman said the $29.7 million estimate would cover the characterisation, handling, re-packaging and storage of the toxic material.

“As a result of an ARPANSA inspection in 2016, it was recognised that additional work was required to scientifically characterise some of the contents of the legacy materials more accurately,” she said.

“The work that needs to be undertaken is significant.”

A spokesman for CSIRO said the first phase of the three-year clean up would begin next month.

“CSIRO currently has a radioactive waste store located on defence land at Woomera, South Australia. The store currently has 9,725 drums of long-lived waste,” he said…..

The country’s other major radioactive waste storage facility at Lucas Heights, Sydney, is rapidly approaching full capacity. Coupled with issues at the CSIRO site, the revelations highlighted the urgent need for a national radioactive waste storage solution, experts said.. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/rusted-barrels-of-radioactive-waste-cost-csiro-30-million-20170307-gusb6v.html

April 5, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Where do candidates stand on nuclear waste dumping? Friends of the Earth are finding out

Sounding out candidates on nuclear   https://www.whyallanewsonline.com.au/story/5991908/sounding-out-candidates-on-nuclear/?fbclid=IwAR3jlaHvuyECA2gwYQCZOGo6ysCmFwSKSGtyFUA8hD4IEex8CKJg6lK3GkQ, Louis Mayfield  3Apr19

April 4, 2019 Posted by | election 2019, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australian Mining touts Honeymoon uranium mine, but only IF URANIUM PRICE IMPROVES

They headed the article “Boss discovers ‘major breakthrough‘ for Honeymoon uranium expansion ” and went on to detail how the Honeymoon uranium mine project restart in South Australia will ramp up production.   But even  in its enthusiasm, , Australian mining gave a hint about the low prospects for the uranium industry. It will all happen –  “ assuming a favourable global uranium price for shareholders is achieved”    https://www.australianmining.com.au/news/boss-resources-discovers-major-breakthrough-for-honeymoon-expansion/

April 4, 2019 Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment