Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Traditional owners seek documents in nuclear dump case

The Transcontinental. By Tim Dornin, August 15 2022 ,

Traditional owners have asked for wide-ranging access to federal government documents as part of their efforts to block the construction of a nuclear waste dump in South Australia.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation is engaged in Federal Court action seeking to stop the proposed dump at Napandee, near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula.

On Monday their lawyers outlined the reasons why the government should hand over a considerable volume of material it relied on in choosing the site and in preparing supportive legislation.

Some of the most contentious material related to correspondence the applicants contend must have taken place between then resources minister Keith Pitt and his department.

Others related to commitments the previous government made not to impose the dump on an unwilling community.

But the Commonwealth argued the Barngarla had been given a “complete record of the decision-making process” and what was being asked for went far beyond an orthodox judicial review.

“They should focus their efforts upon minister Pitt’s conduct rather than essentially seeking to have a royal commission into the cacophony that surrounds the drafting of legislation and the announcement of particular political decisions,” the court was told.

Justice Natalie Charlesworth indicated she was mindful to allow discovery of some of the material, regarding it relevant to the case.

However, she asked the parties to negotiate further to potentially narrow the scope of the documents being sought, particularly in two of the seven categories outlined.

Justice Charlesworth also cautioned that while production of the documents might be ordered, whether or not they proved admissible in the substantive case, now likely to be heard in March next year, was yet to be determined.

The case will return to court next week.

The Barngarla launched their action last year seeking to overturn the coalition government’s decision to develop the dump by quashing the ministerial declaration.

The corporation also recently wrote to new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese urging him to scrap plans for the dump.

It said the previous federal government had tried to silence the traditional owners at every turn, denying their right to participate in a community ballot to gauge local support for the site.

The corporation said the coalition also refused access to the land to undertake a proper heritage survey and tried to remove its right to judicial review.

Ahead of Monday’s hearing, Barngarla chairman Jason Bilney said it was hoped the new federal government would quickly realise how badly the former government handled the project.

“We fought 21 years to win our native title and if we have to fight 21 years to stop this nuclear waste dump damaging our country, then we will have to do it,” he said…… more https://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/7861791/traditional-owners-seek-docs-in-dump-case/

August 16, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, legal | Leave a comment

How even small nuclear war would kill billions in apocalyptic famine

 https://www.9news.com.au/national/even-small-nuclear-war-would-kill-billions-from-famine/0aadd094-e5be-471f-8278-b8bf485f759a By Mark Saunokonoko • Senior Journalist Aug 16, 2022,

Australia may be the best place in the world to shelter if nuclear war broke out, a study has predicted, although an “influx of refugees” from Asia and other regions would likely rush the country to try and survive the atomic holocaust.

Various apocalypse scenarios showed even a small nuclear war would cause devastating climate chaos, plunging the world into mass famine and starving billions to death.

The study estimated more than 2 billion people would die from a contained nuclear war between India and Pakistan, while more than 5 billion around the world would perish inside two years if the US and Russia launched thousands of nukes at each other.

Nuclear strikes on major cities and industrial areas would unleash massive firestorms, the peer-reviewed study said, injecting soot into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface and severely limiting food production.

Such catastrophic “soot loadings” would cause at least 10-15 years of disruption to global climate, researchers said.

As land and ocean food production faltered, and in the face of worsening hunger, the study said food exporting countries such as Australia would hunker down and hoard supplies.

“Wherever there’s scarcity, you start to see more conflicts,” Dr Ryan Heneghan, a co-author of the study from Queensland University of Technology, told 9news.com.au.

“Whether that makes Australia a (post-nuclear war) target, I don’t know.”

Being a food exporter and its location in the southern hemisphere, away from likely conflict zones, were the key factors that meant Australia was able to weather a nuclear catastrophe better than most, Heneghan said, with New Zealand not far behind.

“Australia has some resilience if there were drops in food productivity because of changes in climate caused by a nuclear war,” he said.

“We already produce more than enough food for our population.”

But waves of migrants would inevitably put “pressures” on any Australian stockpiles.

One factor not included in the models, but which could seriously affect Australia’s ability to cope, was the country’s lack of domestic fuel supplies, Heneghan said.

“Australia isn’t energy independent.

“So we would probably have shortages of fuel.”

Australia, the planet’s sixth largest country after Russia, Canada, China, the US and Brazil, would face huge challenges trying to transport food from agricultural heartlands into big, densely populated urban centres, he said.

“Even though we might make enough food, we might not be able to move it to where it needs to go,” he said, calling that a “big caveat” to the study’s models.

Researchers modelled the impacts of six atmospheric soot-injection scenarios, based on one week of nuclear war, on crop and fish supplies and other livestock and food production.

Even if humans reduced food waste reduction and began to eat crops grown primarily as animal feed and biofuel, researchers predicted livestock and aquatic food production could not compensate for reduced crop output in most nations.

Any nuclear weapon detonation that produces more than 5 teragrams (5 trillion grams) of soot, such as 100 warheads fired between India and Pakistan, would likely cause mass food shortages in almost all countries, the study said.

A nuclear war between the US and Russia could send more than 150 teragrams of soot into the stratosphere.

The bushfires that swept across Australia in 2019-20 generated 0.3 – 1 teragrams of smoke, which swirled around the world and lingered for many months.

August 16, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment

Elon Musk’s SpaceX now leaving junk in our own backyard

Independent Australia, By Darren Crawford | 10 August 2022 After a SpaceX capsule crashed onto an Australian farm, we’re left wondering if Elon Musk will clean up his own mess, writes Darren Crawford.

ACCORDING TO the ABC, the Australian Space Agency (ASA) has confirmed that debris found in a sheep paddock in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia, belongs to Elon Musk’s SpaceX Dragon capsule, which was launched in November 2020.

Local authorities were alerted after nearby residents heard a loud bang earlier this year on 9 July. It is now thought the bang was the noise of the capsule re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. New South Wales Police and the ASA visited one of the sites on Saturday 31 July and confirmed that two of the pieces are from a SpaceX mission.

According to the ABC, the ASA is continuing to engage with its counterparts in the U.S. as well as other parts of the Commonwealth and local authorities.

An ASA spokesperson said:

“The agency is operating under the Australian Government Space Re-entry Debris Plan which outlines roles and responsibilities for key Australian government agencies and committees in supporting the response to space re-entry debris.”

So who is responsible for the clean-up?

According to the ABC report, the space debris will remain in place for now. However, the pieces could eventually be returned to U.S. soil.

Australian National University’s Institute of Space deputy director Dr Cassandra Steer said there was an obligation under international space law to repatriate any debris to the country from where it originated.

Dr Steer went on to confirm that “Any space object, or part thereof, has to be repatriated” and should be sent back to the U.S. However, SpaceX has only confirmed that the debris is theirs and is yet to commit to the costs associated with returning it to the U.S.

Dr Steer added:

“We have clarity in terms of lines of responsibilities. The U.S. is liable for any damage that is caused by this space debris… and Australia could go to the U.S. and seek some form of compensation if there are any costs involved in cleaning it up.”

Elon Musk and SpaceX have a poor environmental record

As reported earlier this year, Elon Musk and fellow billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos are currently participating in a dick-swinging rocket contest to see who can get to Mars first. Suffering from massive rocket envy, these three men are speeding up the climate change process by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide and other gases in the Earth’s atmosphere with every launch.

The Guardian reports that one rocket launch alone can release up to 300 tons of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s upper atmosphere and it can stay there for years. This is in comparison to a standard long-haul flight which produces three tons of carbon dioxide per passenger/per flight, into the lower atmosphere.

These impacts do not include what happens on the ground during a launch, including the heat and noise pollution in the immediate area, or the impacts on local wildlife.

There appear to be few controls put in place to protect the planet and its inhabitants from falling space junk by Elon Musk and SpaceX. In March 2021, a SpaceX rocket blew up on launch and debris was scattered throughout the protected area. According to a local non-profit environmental group, it took three months to clean up the mess.

According to the report, launch site ditches on SpaceX land and public property in the U.S. have dumped runoff water directly into the tidal flats threatening local fish breeding grounds, and public beaches and roads have been closed for longer than the agreed times.

Finally, at an earlier launch in 2018, a jettisoned SpaceX booster rocket missed its target drone ship a few hundred kilometres out to sea and destroyed itself on impact slamming into the ocean at 500 km/hour.

So, will Elon Musk and SpaceX clean up their mess down under?

This is the great unknown, as Elon Musk’s environmental record in relation to his SpaceX program is extremely poor.

It is also clear, as can be seen by his recently abandoned Twitter purchase, that Elon Musk doesn’t care who he burns, or how hard he burns them, to get his own way.

It is apparent that Elon Musk sees the increasing amount of pollution produced by his SpaceX endeavours as little more than collateral damage and less of a threat to our civilisation. Similarly, he doesn’t care whose backyard he trashes (as long as it’s not his, obviously).

Instead of turning his immense intelligence (and wealth) to solving our current problems, Elon Musk (and his billionaire space mates) seek to exacerbate these problems by polluting the planet further.

It will be interesting to see whether he does the right thing by the Australian Government and its people and pays for the clean-up of his mess.

Update, 10 August 2022:

The ABC is reporting that SpaceX has confirmed that the space debris spread throughout an Australian sheep paddock is indeed remnants of their Dragon Capsule and is sending a team down under to investigate………………………….

What was not stated was whether any ASA or government agencies were aware of or engaged in any of SpaceX’s planning. Space Law Lecturer at UNSW Canberra, Duncan Blake, wondered if they had coordinated with Australian agencies prior to their risk assessment — “If they didn’t, then that seems somewhat arrogant to make a decision that affects Australia without consulting Australians,” he said.

There has been no mention of the cost of removal or the debris, or as to whether Elon Musk and SpaceX will be more honest and open in the future and advise all Australians about the potential damage falling SpaceX junk may cause in their country.
 https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/elon-musks-spacex-now-leaving-junk-in-our-own-backyard,16650

August 11, 2022 Posted by | technology, Victoria, wastes | Leave a comment

Alarm on nuclear waste transport

Clare Peddie, Sunday Mail 31 July 2022, Rural 1st Edition p.22

A DECISION to exclude the risks of shipping and trucking intermediate-level radioactive waste from the environmental impact assessment of the planned Kimba nuclear waste dump has riled MPs, experts and Whyalla locals.

Independent environment campaigner and consultant David Noonan said Whyalla was the only port in the region with the infrastructure to take the 110-tonne casks the waste would be shipped in.

Mr Noonan wrote to the federal government in June demanding an explanation for excluding shipping and transport of ‘waste residues from reprocessing spent research reactor fuel’ from the EIS.

‘It is nonsensical and contrary to the public interest,’ he said. ‘It is just not credible to claim a later separate referral and assessment can somehow cover (it) … after the dump has been pushed through.’

Environment Department assistant secretary Kylie Calhoun said separating the transport issue would result in a ‘better-informed assessment of (it) at a future point in time.’

South Australian Greens senator Barbara Pocock said that was an ‘unacceptable’ position.

State Giles MP Eddie Hughes called for a ‘round-table dialogue about the responsible long-term disposal of our domestic long-lived intermediate waste, not moving it from one interim site to another’, given it ultimately required ‘deep geological disposal’.

Nuclear industry expert and author Ian Lowe, an adjunct professor at Flinders University, said the ‘serious’ transport risks deserved proper scrutiny and consultation.

Whyalla resident Andrew Williams has raised his concerns with the council.

Mr Williams said he firmly believed the transport routes should be publicly disclosed and subject to extensive consultation.

July 31, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Labor should halt plans to dump nuclear waste on South Australia – Greens Senator Barbara Pocock.

29 July 2022

Greens Senator for SA Barbara Pocock has called on the Albanese Labor Government to abandon plans to dump nuclear waste on South Australia, after it was revealed the environmental impact statement won’t consider shipping and transport routes for the toxic waste.

The latest concerns have arisen while the Traditional Owners of the selected waste dump site at Kimba on SA’s Eyre Peninsula were visiting parliament this week. The Barngarla people were not consulted before the site was selected and are in the midst of a Federal Court battle opposing the dumping of waste on their traditional lands. They were in Canberra asking the new Minister to listen to them and halt the plans of the Morrison Government.

Senator Pocock said:

“The Albanese Labor Government should stop the pursuit of the Morrison Government’s plans to dump on SA.

“If this dump goes ahead, radioactive waste will be transported through South Australia’s regional roads, streets and waters for decades to come, yet these towns and cities – and most South Australians – have never consulted.

“Now it’s also clear the new government has no plans to consider the environmental impact of the shipping and transport of the waste throughout our state. This is unacceptable.

“This week I met with the Barngarla People who were again in Canberra pleading for the government of the day to listen to them.

“The Labor Party continues to talk about giving First Nations People a voice to the parliament yet is failing to listen to their voices right now, on a current issue. The Prime Minister is addressing the Garma Festival on implementing the Statement from the Heart this weekend. His words will be hollow if his government does not listen to the voice of the Barngala people and instead pursues the radioactive waste dump rejected by Traditional Owners.

“The Greens will fight to ensure that all South Australians have a say about this dump and we will keep listening to the voice of the Barngarla people who, to a person, oppose this dump.”

July 30, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Scientist sheds doubt on the viability of Australia’s planned Kimba nuclear waste dump.

Peter Remta 7 July 22, This is the comment by the scientific expert who has been  responsible for Australia’s only two nuclear waste  management facilities and is often asked by ARPANSA for  advice .

There was an oblique reference to aerodynamic surveys in  the characterisation reports by AECOM.  

I have no idea why they would be doing this now.

This is the kind of survey that would be undertaken prior to  selecting a site to identify prospective geology and avoid areas of commercial mineralisation that would be sterilised  by siting a radioactive repository. It smacks to me of  someone with a bottomless budget to spend or be lost. 

As a consultant advising a client on site evaluations on a  regular basis, I do my best to minimise the extent of work  done to only that which is required and will provide  important supporting information, as such survey work is  costly. 

A good comparison is Deep Isolation from California  which apparently has raised USD$35 million but most overseas experts  regard its technology as old hat and not really workable and above all not safe

+

July 7, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Kimba nuclear waste dump – phase 3 in progress, but the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA) has not completed phase 2 !

Peter Remta. Timeline for development of Kimba facility 6 July 22.

Out of interest this is the timeline produced by the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA) showing where the progress of the Kimba nuclear waste facility development was as at 16 March 2022.

From this timeline it appears that the government is already into phase 3 of the Kimba development but this is completely false as it has still not completed phase 2 in accordance with the prescriptions of its official nomination guidelines issued in November 2016 and titled Radioactive Waste Management Land Nomination Guidelines.

July 7, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

ERA looks at funding options for Ranger

 https://www.australianmining.com.au/news/era-looks-at-funding-options-for-ranger/?fbclid=IwAR0d8ZOC6Sw7adxsNmSSEDnOWzZ319hiuqJB4clv0bQtKX5INnhiTtalqeY June 27, 2022 Ray Chan Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) is reviewing all available options to ensure that the forecast increase in the cost of rehabilitation of its Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory will be adequately funded.

In January 2021, ERA – in which Rio Tinto holds 86.3 per cent shares – ceased all mining and processing activities at Ranger after 40 years of operation. It was Australia’s longest continually operating uranium oxide producer.

ERA said it was committed to delivering a positive legacy for Traditional Owners and for all Australians for the future, with its closure plan outlining the path for progressive rehabilitation, which began in 1981, with final rehabilitation to be completed by January 2026.

But given ERA’s current cash on hand position, it said an urgent interim funding solution was required.

The company is engaging with its substantial shareholders in relation to a potential interim entitlement offer to raise ongoing funding for the rehabilitation of the project, the size, price and structure of which are still to be determined.

The operations of ERA are located on Aboriginal land and surrounded by, but separate from, Kakadu National Park. ERA respectfully acknowledges the Mirarr, Traditional Custodians of the land on which the Ranger project area is situated.

During its lifetime, Ranger produced in excess of 132,000 tonnes of uranium oxide.

June 28, 2022 Posted by | Northern Territory, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Earthworks approved for nuclear waste dump despite opposition from traditional owners, court hears

Barngarla traditional owners vie to overturn federal government’s decision to develop site near Kimba in South Australia

Australian Associated Press, Wed 15 Jun 2022 

Traditional owners attempting to block the construction of a nuclear waste dump in South Australia have told a court the federal government has already approved plans to begin earthworks, despite an active legal challenge.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation applied for a judicial review of the project in December, and a directions hearing was held in the federal court in Adelaide on Wednesday.

Legal argument will be heard in July ahead of a substantive hearing, most likely before the end of this year. The court was told that there were plans to begin earthworks at the Napandee site, near Kimba on SA’s Eyre Peninsula, before September…….

Justice Natalie Charlesworth asked that sufficient notice be provided to allow time for the court to hear applications to halt the works. Charlesworth said such notice would avoid the need for an urgent hearing.

“What I would like to avoid is what I might call a pyjama hearing where it’s called at midnight and we all come in here in our pyjamas and we have an unnecessarily urgent argument,” she said.

The Barngarla are seeking to overturn the Coalition government’s decision to develop the site by quashing the declaration of former resources minister Keith Pitt.

The corporation also wrote to the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, and the resources minister, Madeleine King, a week after the federal election, urging them to scrap plans for the dump.

It said the previous federal government had tried to silence the traditional owners at every turn, denying their right to participate in a community ballot to gauge local support for the site.

The corporation said the Coalition also refused access to the land to undertake a proper heritage survey and tried to remove its right to judicial review.

“Although we appreciate all that Labor have done in opposition, the Barngarla people unequivocally make it clear that we request that the new Labor minister revoke the declaration or consent to the orders quashing the declaration,” it wrote in its letter to Albanese.

The Labor government has given no indication that it would take a different view on the matter than the previous administration.  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jun/15/earthworks-approved-for-nuclear-waste-dump-despite-opposition-from-traditional-owners-court-hears

June 16, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, legal | Leave a comment

Nuclear Waste Dispute in Court Wednesday 15 June 

Kimba Radioactive Waste Facility Judicial Review in Federal Court. Wednesday 15 June 2022:
initial directions hearing and hearing on discovery

Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC ICN 8603 
• The first directions hearing will occur in the Federal Court of Australia this Wednesday at
9:00am in Adelaide, with some solicitors and counsel attending by MS Teams.
• The directions hearing will start off the long process of judicial review on the facility.
• An immediate issue is that the former Minister Pitt would not provide the Barngarla
documents Barngarla needed for the judicial review. It is not clear what the new Labor
Minister’s position is now that they have won Government.
• The dispute on discovery includes records of all of the commitments Minister Pitt and
Minister Canavan made that a facility would not be placed on an unwilling community.
Minister Pitt abandoned this requirement in his reasons when he made the declaration to
select Napandee.

The Government is refusing to provide these records and the matter may now need to be
argued as a contested discovery application.
• Any dispute on discovery is likely to take several months.
• Barngarla, Indigenous leaders around Australia, and the environmental movement have all
called for the declaration to be withdrawn now that Labor has won Government.
Barngarla spokesperson quote:
“There were serious failings when the National Party selected Napandee, too many to outline of the area, trying to legislate away judicial review, breaching UNDRIP and abandoning the test ofbroad community support at the last minute without any warning to anyone. The former Ministerwouldn’t provide us the material we need to run our case. Leaving aside these tricks and theseefforts to exhaust us, we remain confident that we will win this if we have to go to Court. However,because of the terrible mishandling by the National Party, we again call upon the new Labor Ministerto quash the declaration. We do not want to spend the next two years in Court against the LaborGovernment. They know what the National Party did and they should do the right thing andwithdraw the declaration.”
For further comment, please contact: barngarlamedia@gmail.comhere.They included, denying the First Peoples the right to vote, not conducting a proper heritage survey

June 14, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, legal | Leave a comment

The National Radioactive Waste Management Act is racist and the Act must be amended or repealed and replaced.

Submission to Legal & Constitutional Affairs References Committee
Inquiry into the application of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Australia Friends of the Earth Australia nuclear.foe.org.au/racism nuclear.foe.org.au/waste
June 2022

Article 29 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources. States shall establish and implement assistance programmes for indigenous peoples for such conservation and protection, without discrimination.
  2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.
  3. States shall also take effective measures to ensure, as needed, that programmes for monitoring, maintaining and restoring the health of indigenous peoples, as developed and implemented by the peoples affected by such materials, are duly implemented.
    https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/wp-
  1. SUMMARY SUMMARY & RECOMMENDATIONS
  2. Friends of the Earth Australia welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission to this inquiry and would be happy to appear at a public hearing.
  3. This submission argues that successive Australian federal governments have repeatedly breached the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in relation to nuclear waste management plans, and that the National Radioactive Waste Management Act contains multiple indefensible clauses designed to disempower Aboriginal Traditional Owners

The recommendations are as follows:

  1. The Committee should recommend revocation of the Morrison Coalition Government’s declaration of a site near Kimba in SA for a national nuclear waste dump. The opposition of Barngarla Traditional Owners is unanimous. It would be unconscionable for the Labor Government to do anything other than to revoke the declaration and abandon the former government’s plan for a nuclear dump on Barngarla Country.
  2. The Committee should recommend that the federal Albanese Labor Government adopt South Australian Labor policy whereby traditional owners have a right of veto over any nuclear waste sites.
  3. The National Radioactive Waste Management Act is racist through and through, it breaches the UNDRIP on multiple counts, and the Act must be amended or repealed and replaced.
  1. THE PROPOSED NATIONAL NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP ON BARNGARLA COUNTRY IN SA
    The Morrison Coalition Government’s plan to establish a national nuclear waste dump on Barngarla Country on SA’s Eyre Peninsula ‒ despite the unanimous opposition of Barngarla Traditional Owners ‒ clearly violates Article 29 of the UNDRIP:
    “States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent”.

In a 2018 submission to the UN OHCHR United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Morrison Coalition Government claimed that “the [radioactive waste] facility will not be forced on an unwilling community, in line with Article 29(2) of the Declaration [on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples].”
Article 29(2) of the UN Declaration stresses free, prior and informed consent:
“States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.”

The proposed Kimba dump does not have the “free, prior and informed consent” of Barngarla Traditional Owners. They are unanimous in their opposition. There is no consent.
The Morrison Government excluded Barngarla Traditional Owners from a sham ‘community ballot’. So the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) engaged the Australian Election Company to conduct an independent ballot which revealed unanimous opposition among Traditional Owners. The ballot was ignored by the federal government.
Jason Bilney, Chair of BDAC, noted:
“It is a simple truth that had we, as the first people for the area, been included in the Kimba community ballot rather than unfairly denied the right to vote, then the community ballot would never have returned a yes vote.”

In April 2020, federal parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights Committee concluded that the Morrison government was violating the human rights of Barngarla people. The Committee noted the unanimous opposition of the Barngarla Traditional Owners to the proposed nuclear dump and it concluded that the National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill did not sufficiently protect the rights and interests of Traditional Owners and that “there is a significant risk that the specification of this site will not fully protect the right to culture and self-determination.”

Importantly, the Human Rights Committee’s report was unanimous and was endorsed by Liberal and National Party members as well as Labor members. However the Morrison Coalition Government ignored the Human Rights Committee’s report and continued in its efforts to dispossess and disempower Barngarla Traditional Owners.

The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill was the Morrison Government’s attempt to amend federal legislation to prevent Barngarla Traditional Owners from launching a legal challenge against the nomination of the dump site. Thankfully, the attempt to prevent a legal challenge failed due to opposition from Labor and cross-bench Senators.

Barngarla Traditional Owners have launched a legal challenge in the Federal Court against the Morrison Government’s declaration of the Napandee site, near Kimba, for a national nuclear waste dump. It would be unconscionable for the incoming Labor Government to engage in a legal fight in order to allow the government to ignore and override the unanimous opposition of Barngarla Traditional Owners to the proposed nuclear dump.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation states:
“It remains shocking and saddening that in the 21st Century, First Nations people would have to fight for the right to vote in Australia and that the Federal Government would deliberately remove judicial oversight of its actions in circumstances where the Human Rights Committee, a bipartisan committee no less, has considered the process to locate the NRWMF flawed.”

A 22 June 2021 joint statement by Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation and No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA group states:2

“The Government has completely and utterly miscarried the site selection process. There are many examples of this. No proper heritage assessment of the site was ever undertaken, and they have marginalised the voices of the farming community throughout the entire process. However, the most obvious and appalling example of this failed process was when the Government allowed the gerrymandering of the Kimba “community ballot”, in order to manipulate the vote. The simple fact remains that even though the Barngarla hold native title land closer to the proposed facility than the town of Kimba, the First Peoples for the area were not allowed to vote. They prevented Barngarla persons from voting, because native title land is not rateable. Further, they did not allow many farmers to vote, even

though they were within 50km of the proposed facility, because they were not in the Council area. They targeted us, because they knew that if they had a fair vote which included us, then the vote would return a “no” from the community.”
BDAC has written to Prime Minister Albanese calling on the Labor government to scrap Morrison’s plans for a nuclear waste dump in SA.3 The letter states:
“Although we appreciate all that Labor have done in opposition, the Barngarla people unequivocally make it clear that we request that the new Labor minister revoke the declaration or consent to the orders quashing the declaration. We call for this to occur at the earliest opportunity possible.”

The BDAC letter further states:
“Sadly, the former Government at every turn tried to silence us in this process, as the Government did not allow us access to the land to undertake a proper heritage survey, tried to remove our right to judicial review, sought to legislate the location directly, abandoned their commitment to ensure that the facility had broad community support, altered the proposal to include military waste inconsistently with the treaty and tried, through various affiliated organisations, to interfere with our ability to bring judicial review including having parties costs orders against us as a means to blocking the Barngarla people from going to Court.

“Despite this, we stood tall, and we have brought these legal proceedings. They were brought against Minister Pitt, but because you have won the election, the matter now becomes your Governments to deal with.

“Although we appreciate the right to bring these proceedings and all that Labor have done in Opposition, the Barngarla people unequivocally make it clear that we request that the new Labor Minister revoke the declaration or consent to the orders quashing the declaration. We call for this to occur at the earliest opportunity possible in the new Labor Government, because we do not want to fight against your Government in Court which would not only take a number of years, but result in spending our vulnerable community’s resources protecting our people against the contemptuous behaviour of the last Government; nor do we want your Government to be tarnished by these horrible failures of the former Government. …
“The Uluru Statement from the Heart makes clear that our “sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown”. Again, as we said to the new Minister, our spiritual sovereignty has been violated by the former Government, and we hope and believe in your Government that you will not violate it further.”

Right of Veto
The Albanese Labor Government should adopt South Australian Labor’s policy whereby traditional owners have a right of veto over any nuclear waste sites. This is of course consistent with UNDRIP principles regarding free, prior and informed consent.
Susan Close, now Deputy Premier of South Australia, noted in a September 2020 media statement:
“This was a dreadful process from start to finish, resulting in fractures within the local community over the dump. The SA ALP has committed to traditional owners having a right of veto over any nuclear waste sites, yet the federal government has shown no respect to the local Aboriginal people.”
Likewise, in October 2021 SA Labor supported a parliamentary motion stating that in light of the opposition of the Barngarla Traditional Owners, the (since defeated) Marshall Government should oppose the federal government’s attempt to impose a national nuclear waste dump in SA and stands condemned for its failure to do so.4


Labor’s Kyam Maher spoke in favour of the parliamentary motion:5
“We have had since before the last election, and maintained the view since the election, that for a nuclear radioactive storage facility it is fundamental that traditional owners’ views are taken into account. Since Jay Weatherill was Premier we have taken the view ‒ and that has continued in this term while we are in opposition ‒ that for a nuclear radioactive dump or storage facility the traditional owners should have a right of veto, a right of refusal of such a thing on their land. That has not changed and that is why we support this motion, from that one very simple principle which we have had and which remains unchanged.”
The Albanese Labor Government should respect SA legislation banning the import, transport, storage and disposal of nuclear wastes ‒ the SA Nuclear Waste Storage (Prohibition) Act 2000. The Act states:
“The Objects of this Act are to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of South Australia and to protect the environment in which they live by prohibiting the establishment of certain nuclear waste storage facilities in this State.”

The Nuclear Waste Storage (Prohibition) Act is supported by South Australians; the proposed nuclear waste dump is not. A 2018 poll found that 55% agreed that SA should stop the federal government from building a national nuclear dump in SA while 35% disagreed. A 2016 Sunday Mail-commissioned poll found that support in SA for a national dump (39.8%) was well short of a 50% majority and even further short of the Morrison Coalition Government’s own benchmark of 65% to demonstrate ‘broad community support’. A 2015 Advertiser-commissioned poll found just 15.7% support for a nuclear waste dump in SA.
SA Unions, the peak body representing trade unionists in South Australia, unanimously passed a resolution in March 2022 supporting Barngarla Traditional Owners in their struggle

against the Morrison government’s proposed nuclear dump.6 SA Unions Secretary Dale Beasley said the that South Australian labour movement stood shoulder to shoulder with the Barngarla Traditional Owners:
“South Australian unions are completely united in their support of the Barngarla Traditional Owners and their opposition to the proposed nuclear waste site at Kimba. … We have in South Australia a shameful legacy of imposing the impact of nuclear technology on aboriginal communities. Decades after the end of British nuclear tests around Maralinga, radioactive particles containing plutonium and uranium still contaminate the landscape. Given that history, we would have expected Steven Marshall to stand up for the Barngarla Traditional Owners. … South Australian unions join with the Traditional Owners and the South Australian Community in complete opposition to the dangerous proposal.”

Recommendations:

  1. The Committee should recommend revocation of the Morrison Coalition Government’s declaration of a site near Kimba in SA for a national nuclear waste dump. The opposition of Barngarla Traditional Owners is unanimous. It would be unconscionable for the Labor Government to do anything other than to revoke the declaration and abandon the former government’s plan for a nuclear dump on Barngarla Country.
  2. The Committee should recommend that the federal Albanese Labor Government adopt South Australian Labor policy whereby traditional owners have a right of veto over any nuclear waste sites.
  1. THE NATIONAL RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT ACT
    The National Radioactive Waste Management Act (NRWMA) is wildly inconsistent with UNDRIP principles.
    The NRWMA gives the federal government the power to extinguish rights and interests in land targeted for a radioactive waste facility.7 In so doing the relevant Minister must “take into account any relevant comments by persons with a right or interest in the land” but there is no requirement to secure consent ‒ or to back off if consent is not forthcoming.
    Aboriginal Traditional Owners, local communities, pastoralists, business owners, local councils and State/Territory Governments are all disadvantaged and disempowered by the NRWMA.
    The NRWMA goes to particular lengths to disempower Traditional Owners. The nomination of a site for a radioactive waste facility is valid even if Aboriginal owners were not consulted and did not give consent. The NRWMA states that consultation should be conducted with

Traditional Owners and consent should be secured ‒ but that the nomination of a site for a radioactive waste facility is valid even in the absence of consultation or consent.
Needless to say, that is in no way, shape or form compliant with UNDRIP clauses regarding free, prior and informed consent.
The NRWMA has sections which nullify State or Territory laws that protect the archaeological or heritage values of land or objects, including those which relate to Indigenous traditions.
The Act curtails the application of Commonwealth laws including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 and the Native Title Act 1993 in the important site-selection stage. The Native Title Act 1993 is expressly overridden in relation to land acquisition for a radioactive waste facility.

The NRWMA has been criticised in both Senate Inquiries and a Federal Court challenge to an earlier federal government attempt to impose a national radioactive waste facility at Muckaty in the Northern Territory.
The NRWMA needs to be radically amended or replaced with legislation that gives local communities and Traditional Owners the right to say ‘no’ to nuclear waste dumps.
Sadly, the only recent attempt to amend the NRWMA was the Morrison Coalition Government’s attempt to strip ever more rights from Traditional Owners, by removing the right for judicial review. Thankfully, that attempt to further weaken the legislation failed.
Recommendation:

  1. The National Radioactive Waste Management Act is racist through and through, it breaches the UNDRIP on multiple counts, and the Act must be amended or repealed and replaced.

June 4, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, reference | Leave a comment

Indigenous owners call on the Labor government to scrap the nuclear waste dump plan

Bega District News, By Tim Dornin, June 1 2022 Traditional owners have called on the new federal Labor government to scrap plans for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia.

In December the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation launched legal action in the Federal Court to block the dump planned for Napandee, near Kimba.

It was seeking to overturn the Coalition government’s decision to develop the site by quashing the declaration of former resources minister Keith Pitt.

On Wednesday the corporation wrote to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese urging him to step in.

It said the previous government had tried to silence the traditional owners at every turn, denying their right to participate in a community ballot to gauge local support for the site.

The corporation said the coalition also refused access to the land to undertake a proper heritage survey and tried to remove its right to judicial review.

“Although we appreciate all that Labor have done in opposition, the Barngarla people unequivocally make it clear that we request that the new Labor minister revoke the declaration or consent to the orders quashing the declaration,” it wrote in its letter to the PM.

“We call for this to occur at the earliest opportunity possible.”

The Barngarla said if the facility was built it would forever be located on a site where the First People did not get the right to vote.

“For these reasons we think that the government and country that you now lead needs to withdraw the declaration or consent to it being quashed,” the group told Mr Albanese.

“We see no other way.

“These are clearly not your failings or the failings of your government. You inherited them like we did.”

The Barngarla’s action is due to resume in the Federal Court on June 15.

In November last year, the previous government announced it had acquired 211 hectares at Napandee with the proposed facility subject to heritage, design and technical studies……..https://www.begadistrictnews.com.au/story/7763627/labor-urged-to-scrap-nuclear-dump/

June 2, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

The Greens oppose nuclear waste dump on Kimba, South Australia

May 5, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency Key explanatory ARPANSA quotes on nuclear waste management in Australia.

ARPANSA approves nuclear waste storage at Lucas Heights, Sydney until 2037 [So Kimba dump not only unwise, but also unnecessary]

In light of the established feasible alternative for decades of Extended Storage of ANSTO nuclear wastes at the existing Lucas Heights site there is now no credible reason to proceed with proposals for indefinite above ground storage of ANSTO nuclear wastes at Napandee near Kimba on Eyre Peninsula in SA.
Secure storage of ANSTO nuclear waste at Lucas Heights has been extended out to 2037 by the federal nuclear regulator ARPANSA (16 March 2022) see: 

ARPANSA approves siting licence for ANSTO waste facility | ARPANSA

An important consideration in granting the ILWCI siting licence was the conceptual safety and security design of the facility“, says Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, Chief Executive Officer of ARPANSA. 

This follows a $60 million investment by the federal gov in extended storage at Lucas Heights, made last year.

A detailed Statement of Reasons and the Regulatory Assessment Report for the newly issued licence to site the ILWCI Facility at Lucas Heights can be found in the following documents:

PDF
                              icon Regulatory Assessment Report – A0339 Siting Licence for ILWCI FacilityPDF iconCEO Statement of Reasons – A0339 ILWCI Facility Siting Licence Application –

Unions SA have a clear position (March 2022): 

“Unions SA stands with Traditional Owners in rejecting nuclear waste dump

The Liberals want to dump nuclear waste in Kimba, South Australia.

Don’t let them!

We stand with the Traditional Owners against the dump.

This election, stand up for SA’s future.”

SA Unions > SA Unions stands with Traditional Owners in rejecting nuclear waste dump

For further info see David Noonan Submission No.1 to the CEO of ARPANSA (Nov 2021) on the Feasible Alternative of storing ANSTO’s “highly hazardous” nuclear fuel waste and ILW at Lucas Heights:
Public Submission 1 (arpansa.gov.au)

ConclusionExtended storage of ANSTO’s ILW on-site at Lucas Heights is a warranted public interest

measure and a necessary Safety Contingency until availability of a final disposal option.

For further info see David Noonan Submission No.1 to the CEO of ARPANSA (Nov 2021) on the Feasible Alternative of storing ANSTO’s “highly hazardous” nuclear fuel waste and ILW at Lucas Heights:
Public Submission 1 (arpansa.gov.au)

ConclusionExtended storage of ANSTO’s ILW on-site at Lucas Heights is a warranted public interest

measure and a necessary Safety Contingency until availability of a final disposal option.

And a 2 page Brief:”Why impose indefinite storage of ANSTO nuclear waste onto SA when its already in secure Extended Storage at Lucas Heights?” 

 (DN, August 2021)

citing Recommendations by MAPW:

• an open and independent review of nuclear waste production and disposal in Australia, and • progressing a shift to cyclotron rather that reactor-based production of isotopes for nuclear medicine as rapidly as feasible.–

April 2, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Australian Radioactive Waste Agency – a couple of English nuclear waste officials conning the Australian public?

This should send shivers up any Australian’s spine! Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch Australia, https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052 Kazzi Jai 28 Mar 22

This has scary echoes of Maralinga…..

We have the newly appointed CEO of Australian Radioactive Waste Agency – Sam Usher – who comes from the UK after working at Dounreay and Sellafield, and is now appointed to the newly created role of the CEO of ARWA in Australia, but has returned back to the UK to come back mid year…..doing a Memorandum of Understanding….. with the CEO David Peattie of Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Cumbria!

Sellafield is in Cumbria UK by the way…..

Despite the Memorandum of Understanding NOT being released to the Australian Public….we have an English man from Cumbria, doing a deal with an English man from Cumbria regarding AUSTRALIA’S INTERESTS!

And it will ALL LAND IN THE TINY COUNTRY TOWN OF KIMBA – in a TOTALLY ALL ABOVE GROUND NUCLEAR DUMP!

NO, NO, NO! ….They say – The nuclear dump won’t take nuclear waste generated from overseas!

Really? Then what is the SUBSTITUTED NUCLEAR WASTE or what they now call RADIOACTIVELY EQUIVALENT NUCLEAR WASTE called which landed in Port Kembla a couple of weekends ago in a second TN-81 CASK!

Whatever name you want to call it – it IS Nuclear Waste generated from overseas – from nuclear power and nuclear weapons generation from overseas! It is not our nuclear waste – it is overseas generated waste!

As much as ARWA wants to appear “established” it isn’t. It still remains bluff and bravado – acting as if everything is going as it should…..but it isn’t, and may never get there.

March 28, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment