Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

ANSTO’s dodgy classification of nuclear wastes. Kimba planned dump site prone to flooding

When the re-processed material is returned to Australia invariably the processing country refers to that material as high-level waste but ANSTO reclassifies it as intermediate level on the very weak argument of the classifications in Europe being different to Australia……  it seems ludicrous that it should assume its own manner of classification and against the treaty adopted classifications of IAEA and adhered to by other countries.

a known area of seismic volatility with several notable earthquakes recorded in the past fifty years…. the area is prone to flooding with expectations of increased magnitude of floods.
Peter Remta  – submission to Senate Committee on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020   [Provisions] Submission 65
Excerpt
“………MANAGEMENT OF FACILITY
The intended management by the government of the disposal and storage of the different classes of nuclear wastes at the Kimba facility is technically flawed and inappropriate based most recent scientific research and nuclear cycle experiences throughout the world.
The proposal by the government is to dispose of the low-level waste in containers above ground while the intermediate level waste would be temporarily stored for an unspecified period again in containers held above the ground.
Based on the prescriptions and requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) age of the different classes of nuclear waste at the Kimba facility is technically flawed and inappropriate based on ths outlined in its Safety Code11 :
(a) the low level waste should be disposed of by shallow burial; and
(b) the intermediate level waste should even when stored on a temporary basis be geologically buried at appropriate depths.
This is essential in the case of the intermediate level waste due to its highly dangerous and harmful status and the serious health consequences of human exposure.
In addition recent experience overseas has shown that many of the containers used for the above ground disposal and storage of nuclear waste are prone to corrosion and other integrity problems which can only be readily overcome by geological burial until better and longer lasting containers can be developed.
As a result most international experts are now advocating and even demanding underground burial of nuclear waste of all levels for disposal or even temporary storage and are quite surprised at the course being followed by Australia having regard to its prowess in the resources industry.
INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS
The prescriptive codes of IAEA have been fully adopted by ARPANSA12 as its standards for the classification and treatment and management of nuclear waste in Australia.
However and with seemingly little local criticism the government and its plans for the now chosen Kimba facility have ignored these prescriptions and requirements which may well lead to ARPANSA not licensing the various stages of the construction and operations of the facility at Kimba.
The government has been unable to assure the members of the Kimba community that ARPANSA will in all probability licence the various stages of the establishment and operations of the government’s facility.
Even more importantly the execution of the proposals of the government in establishing the facility and its subsequent operations are in breach of its international treaty obligations which would among other things give any aggrieved community group the right to complain to the United Nations.
CONVENTION OBLIGATIONS
It is interesting that a new subsection 3(2) of the Bill gives effect to Australia’s obligations as a party to the Joint Convention for the safe and secure management of what is defined as decontrolled material and in particular Australia’s obligations under Chapters 3 and 4 of the Joint Convention.
Despite this legislative provision the subsequent passing of the Bill cannot excuse or justify any preceding breaches by the government of its obligations in that regard.
However it suggests that the government has doubts about the validity and integrity of its proposals under international law relating to its convention obligations.
In any event the Joint Convention was in 1997 while the prescriptive safety codes of IAEA and ARPANSA referred to in notations 10 and12 requiring underground burial of nuclear waste were issued in 2009 and 2010 respectively and I suggest intentionally excluded from the explanatory memorandum and the Bill.
NATURE OF WASTE
The government has always stated that the facility at Kimba would only be used for the permanent disposal of low-level waste and indefinite storage of intermediate level waste with that storage period being up to 100 years.
As already stated in both instances the waste would be held above the ground which is against the prescriptions and requirements of the international regulatory bodies including in particular the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The waste generated at Lucas Heights by its reactor is of high level when it is sent overseas for re-processing but the government does not give it a classification or even describes it as waste before its departure.
When the re-processed material is returned to Australia invariably the processing country refers to that material as high-level waste but ANSTO reclassifies it as intermediate level on the very weak argument of the classifications in Europe being different to Australia.
Considering that Australia does not have a nuclear industry nor a highly regarded regime of controlling a relatively small amount of nuclear waste it seems ludicrous that it should assume its own manner of classification and against the treaty adopted classifications of IAEA and adhered to by other countries.
Nuclear waste generated at Lucas Heights and then sent by Australia to Scotland for re-processing will now under a substitution agreement between Scotland and England (to which Australia is not a direct party) be returned to Australia as high level waste which was generated in England and reprocessed at Sellafield which until recently was one of the largest multi-function nuclear industry cycle hubs in the world.
This has never been properly explained by the government to the Kimba community or in fact to the public in general even though its actions and conduct have been questioned by overseas experts within the nuclear industry.
Moreover and despite the substitution arrangements the so-called reprocessed waste being returned to Australia by England is completely contrary to the requirement of the facility at Kimba to deal only with locally generated waste.
In addition the government refuses to disclose the levels of radionuclides in the waste to be sent to Kimba which is a most important factor in the management and disposal of nuclear waste.
CENTRAL FACILITY
The government has described the facility at Kimba as being a central one for Australia with the implication that it would dispose of or store as required all the present legend or stockpiled waste in Australia and all waste generated locally in the future.
However the government has failed to explain how it or any future operator of the facility will gain or acquire the waste currently held in numerous locations (stated tobe over 100) throughout Australia since except for the waste from Lucas Heightswhich is run by ANSTO and some other federal government installations it has has no rights or control over the other waste.
At the very least it would require some constitutional changes by whatever means possible to gain legislative power over that waste which would undoubtably be a difficult exercise and to a large extent would completely defeat the notion of a central national facility.
TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT
After accepting Napandee as a nominated site the government engaged AECOM to carry out what is described as a characterisation study of the site at Napandee which concluded with a technical report dated 23 July 2018.
This study was preceded in February 2018 by a preliminary outline by AECOM of what work would be carried out at Kimba on both of the nominated sites under the characterisation study.
The Department itself had claimed what is designated as a phase 1 assessment under the nomination guidelines giving effect to the existing legislation and issued a summary report which while undated was probably made public in July or August of 2017.

That summary added little to the technical nature of both Kimba sites and dealt principally with community consultations and the results of a recent ballotWhile all three reports were colourful presentations with elaborate artwork and photographs in reality by technical standards they contained little proper information to support and satisfy the selection of Napandee as the site for the waste management facility.

The reason is that most of the concluding opinions in the reports by AECOM were inconclusive and suggested additional work to meet the required or desired status to be acceptable for the facility at Napandee.
The Department has recently issued what it calls a fact sheet on Napandee which is dated February 2020 and which again is a high standard presentation in its artwork and photography.
However the conclusion in the fact sheet under the heading of Site Characterisation
After completion of the technical assessments at Napandee, the Department ofIndustry, Science, Energy and Resources has been advised that with further assessment, any supporting infrastructure constraints and risks posed by
environmental hazards such as seismic and flooding events, can be mitigated via design solutions.

This conclusion again shows that the Napandee selection was both premature as to its choice by the government due to the lack of a full assessment and investigation of the site and completely unsuitable for the facility.

Again drawing on the experience of the mining industry the technical assessment of Napandee would be regarded as an uncommercial exercise well short of a scoping and feasibility study to determine its suitability for the waste facility.
It also gives proof to the adage that governments should not be involved in businesses as they invariably end up as commercial disasters.:
However irrespective of the government’s technical assessments and proposed engineering designing the Napandee site will remain highly unsuitable for the waste facility due to its sandy sedimentary setting from surface to a vertical depth of approximately 30 metres in a known area of seismic volatility with several notable earthquakes recorded in the past fifty years.
The area has a relatively shallow water table (being only some 10 metres down) which will undoubtedly lead to various problems of hydrology including contamination of underground water flows from the escape of any nuclear waste material to be brought to Napandee.
While no hydrology studies have been done AECOM recommended modelling to estimate the risks of floods as the area is prone to flooding with expectations of increased magnitude of floods.

May 30, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Megan Johnson: National Radioactive Waste Act – not democratic, not transparent, a hasty inadequate plan

I urge you to reject the bill until the community is presented with a transparent, democratic, comprehensive, long-term plan.

Megan Johnson to Senate Inquiry on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions]Submission 41 

  1. Democratic Process
    The Community Consultation process has not been adequate. This is a matter that affects all South Australians,
    and all South Australians should have the democratic right to vote on it.
    It is particularly concerning that the Barngarla were excluded from the vote – traditional landowners should be
    entitled to a vote, just as residents of Kimba District were entitled to a vote.
2. Adequacy of Information.
The proposed facility is for permanent disposal of low-level waste and temporary storage of intermediate-level
waste. These are two very different concerns, but there has been a down-playing of the role of intermediate-level
waste at the facility. The term ’gloves-and-gowns’ waste has become common parlance in the discussion. This is
not an accurate description of intermediate-level waste, which will not decay to an acceptable level
“during the time for which institutional controls can be relied upon”.
According to the DIIS website , the facility concept design clearly shows that intermediate-level waste is allocated equal area as the lowlevel
waste. Therefore, intermediate level-waste should be given at least equal discussion.
Australia’s intermediate-level waste currently resides at a purpose-built storage facility that was commissioned
into service only 5 years ago at Lucas Heights. No-one has been able to adequately explain what purpose is
served by moving intermediate-level waste from the Lucas Heights location to temporary storage at Napandee.
The DIIS brought a French delegation from Aube to Kimba, to talk to the local community about the proposed
facility. However, the Aube facility is for permanent disposal of low-level waste only. It is not at all comparable
to the proposed facility at Napandee, and is therefore misleading. In the interest of balance, DIIS should have
brought representatives from a community that lives near a temporary storage facility for intermediate-level
waste.
Again, referring to the concept design on the DIIS website, it is proposed that the intermediate-level waste will
be removed from Napandee between 50-100 years after it is installed. At this stage, the waste will be nowhere
near its half-life. There is no plan and no funding allocated for this re-location.
The community consultation process has been inadequate and misleading – either intentionally or
unintentionally. The community has not been given enough information to make an informed decision.
There are circumstances under which a nuclear waste facility could be the right deal for a community and a
permanent solution to our national waste management. However, the current offering is very poor – I urge you to
reject the bill until the community is presented with a transparent, democratic, comprehensive, long-term plan.

May 30, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Friends of the Earth condemns shameful Radioactive Waste Management Bill, offers positive alternatives

Friends of the Earth,. to Senate Committee on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions] Submission 54 

The National Radioactive Waste Management (NRWM) Amendment Bill is deeply flawed and should be rejected. Further, the existing Act is deeply flawed and should be repealed.

The proposal to proceed with the nuclear waste facility despite the unanimous opposition of the Barngarla Traditional Owners is unconscionable and must not be allowed to stand. Shamefully, the federal government excluded Barngarla Traditional Owners from a ‘community ballot’ held in 2019. Therefore the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation initiated a separate, confidential postal survey of Traditional Owners, conducted by Australian Election Company. This resulted in 100% of respondents voting ‘no’ to the proposed nuclear facility. If the results of the two ballots are combined, the overall level of support falls to just 43.8% of eligible voters (452/824 for the government-initiated
ballot, and 0/209 for the Barngarla ballot) ‒ well short of the government’s benchmark of 65% for ‘broad community support’.

There is no consent from Barngarla Traditional Owners let alone free, prior and informed consent. The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Act systematically disempowers and dispossesses Traditional Owners, and the Amendment Bill worsens the situation and strips Traditional Owners of their legal review rights. Legal advice in a Feb. 2020 report by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights notes that the Bill “would enable native title to be extinguished, without the consent of the traditional owners”, and it raises further concerns about the Bill’s intention to permit the acquisition of land for an access route without any Parliamentary oversight or right of appeal.
The Act, the Bill, and the proposed nuclear waste facility are all inconsistent with the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD Committee) has said that Australia’s historically “racially discriminatory land practices have endured as an acute impairment of the rights of Australia’s indigenous communities”. Imposing a nuclear waste facility on Barngarla Country will clearly exacerbate the problems identified by the CERD Committee
In 2017, the CERD Committee expressed concern “about information that extractive and development projects are carried out on lands owned or traditionally owned by Indigenous Peoples without seeking their prior, free and informed consent” and recommended that Australia “ensure that the principle of free, prior and informed consent is incorporated into the Native Title Act 1993 and in other legislation as appropriate, and fully implemented in practice”.
The Senate Committee should recommend rejection of the NRWM Amendment Bill, and rejection of the proposed nuclear waste facility, in light of the clear opposition of the Barngarla Traditional Owners. The Senate Committee should also recommend that the government follow the advice of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to “ensure that the principle of free, prior and informed consent is incorporated into the Native Title Act 1993 and in other legislation as appropriate, and fully implemented in practice”.
It should be noted that the willingness to override the rights and interests of the Barngarla Traditional Owners is opposed by the SA Labor Party. The SA Labor Party argues that Traditional Owners ought to have a right of veto over nuclear projects given the sad and sorry history of the nuclear industry in SA, stretching back to the British atomic bomb tests. That position dates from 2017, if not earlier. In 2017, then Premier Jay Weatherill wrote to then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recommending that the federal government adopt the policy of allowing a right of veto by affected Traditional Owners in relation to the planned national nuclear waste facility.
Deputy Leader of the Opposition Susan Close says that SA Labor is “utterly opposed” to the “appalling” process which led to the announcement regarding the Kimba site.1 The SA ALP State Conference on 13 October 2018 endorsed a resolution which pledged to support Traditional Owners in the Kimba region in their struggle to prevent a national nuclear waste facility being constructed on their country. The 2018 State Conference resolution further
committed the SA Labor Party to “support communities opposing the nomination of their lands or region for a dump site, and any workers who refuse to facilitate the construction and operation or transport and handling of radioactive waste material destined for any contested facility or sites including South Australian Port communities.”
The federal government’s willingness to override the rights and interests of Traditional Owners, and to strip them of further rights (including legal appeal rights) through the NRWM Amendment Bill, makes for a sad contrast with the situation in Canada. Earlier this year, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation voted against plans for a nuclear waste repository near Lake Huron after a lengthy consultation period. The Canadian government then announced that it will respect the decision and will no longer target the site.2
Deputy Leader of the Opposition Susan Close says that SA Labor is “utterly opposed” to the “appalling” process which led to the announcement regarding the Kimba site.1 The SA ALP State Conference on 13 October 2018 endorsed a resolution which pledged to support Traditional Owners in the Kimba region in their struggle to prevent a national nuclear waste facility being constructed on their country. The 2018 State Conference resolution further
committed the SA Labor Party to “support communities opposing the nomination of their lands or region for a dump site, and any workers who refuse to facilitate the construction and operation or transport and handling of radioactive waste material destined for any contested facility or sites including South Australian Port communities.”

Illegal under SA law: The proposed nuclear waste facility is illegal under South Australia’s
Nuclear Waste Facility (Prohibition) Act, introduced by the SA Liberal Government in the
year 2000 and strengthened by the SA Labor Government in 2002. The federal government is expected to take the draconian and unacceptable step of using regulations to specifically override the SA Nuclear Waste Facility (Prohibition) Act. South Australians are opposed to the proposed nuclear waste facility: a 2015 survey found just 15.7% support for a nuclear waste dump, and a 2018 survey found that those who strongly agreed with stopping the dump outnumbered those who strongly disagreed by a factor of three (41:14).

1 https://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/6454080/state-labor-party-weighs-in-on-nucleardebate/?
cs=1538
2 https://phys.org/news/2020-02-tribal-vote-nixes-radioactive-storage.html

Breaching NH and MRC siting guidelines: Only 4.5% of South Australia is arable land. It is of deep concern that a radioactive waste could be allowed to jeopardise the Eyre Peninsula’s agricultural industries. Indeed the government’s proposal is a clear breach of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s ‘Code of Practice for Near-Surface Disposal of Radioactive Waste in Australia’ which states that “the site for the facility should be located
in a region which has no known significant natural resources, including potentially valuable mineral deposits, and which has little or no potential for agriculture or outdoor recreational use”.

Long-lived intermediate-level waste: Measured by radioactivity, long-lived intermediate level
waste currently stored at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights site in NSW accounts for an overwhelming majority (>90%) of the waste destined for the nuclear waste facility in SA. There is no logic behind the proposal to move intermediate-level waste from interim abovegroundstorage at Lucas Heights to interim above-ground storage at the Kimba site. The proposed double-handling is illogical, it exposes communities to unnecessary risk, and ARPANSA’s Nuclear Safety Committee has indicated that it is not consistent with international best practice.
 
It beggars belief that double-handling ‒ and the movement of long-lived intermediate-level waste from a site with greater safety and security provisions to a site with lesser provisions ‒ is even being contemplated. This absurd situation demonstrates the incompetent handling of this matter by successive ministers and departmental officials over many years. The Senate Committee should recommend that portfolio responsibility for this matter is shifted
from Industry, Innovation and Science to another minister and department (e.g. health) who might do a better job.
The existing 2012 Act is flawed
Friends of the Earth Australia wishes to emphasise that not only is the NRWM Amendment Bill deploy flawed, the existing National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 (NRWMA) is undemocratic in many respects. The Act should either be repealed or radically amended to remove clauses which disempower Australians and in particular First Nations.The current Bill does the exact opposite..
A 2017 report released by Friends of the Earth Australia points to serious problems with the NRWMA.

Monash University fifth-year law student Amanda Ngo ‒ is posted at www.nuclear.foe.org.au/nrwma

The NRWMA gives the federal government the power to extinguish rights and interests in land targeted for a radioactive waste facility. 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 from Traditional Owners.

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. More precisely, 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.
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 also puts the federal government’s radioactive waste agenda above environmental protection as it seeks to curtail the application of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. A senior government official told a public meeting in Hawker in 2016 that the NRWMA is based on ‘world’s best practice’. In fact, the legislation systematically disempowers local communities and Traditional Owners and weakens environmental protections. It needs to be radically amended or replaced with legislation that protects the environment and gives local communities and Traditional Owners the right to say ‘no’ to radioactive waste facilities.
Some positive proposals
Previous, failed attempts to establish a Commonwealth radioactive waste facility (repository and store) assumed the need for off-site, centralised facilities. This assumption continues  with the current project configuration. However, a closer examination indicates both that this assumption may not be warranted and that there are major information gaps that need to be addressed before informed decisions can be made.
An important, preliminary task is to establish an accurate and up-to-date inventory of Australia’s radioactive waste stockpiles. That must include consideration of the nature and adequacy/inadequacy of current storage conditions, and the nature and adequacy/inadequacy of institutional control. Serious consideration of those issues is necessary if informed decisions about future waste management options are to be made, yet successive Governments have largely ignored these issues and information on waste inventories is superficial and unhelpful. The government should adopt a more nuanced approach which may allow it to make progress in a contested public policy area where previous governments have failed. This approach would involve:
(i) Differentiating waste that needs to be moved vs. waste that does not need to be moved, consistent with the net-benefit clause in the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act – the ARPANS Act. This in turn would require a more detailed inventory than has been compiled to date and consideration of issues (detailed in a 2014 briefing paper3 co-authored by Friends of the Earth) such as the number of legacy waste sites and
the adequacy/inadequacy of existing storage sites. The failure to actively address these basic issues has worked against progression to the resolution of this contentious public issue in recent decades.
(ii) Differentiating waste arising from the operations of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) from non-ANSTO waste. ANSTO is quite capable of managing its own waste, at least in the medium term. Permanent disposal of ANSTO waste should be explored and addressed in subsequent decades, keeping in mind
that ANSTO is likely to be operating at its current site for many decades to come.
Importantly, the current national facility proposal at Kimba explicitly does not seek to dispose of ANSTO’s most problematic radioactive wastes.
(iii) Differentiating low level radioactive wastes from long-lived intermediate-level waste. Plans to move intermediate-level waste from Lucas Heights (and elsewhere) to an above-ground store co-located with the low-level waste repository, and then to an unspecified site at an unspecified later date, make no sense from a policy perspective and
they significantly raise public-acceptance obstacles. The current co-location proposal would mean double handling i.e. transport to the interim national store then future transport to a currently non-determined disposal site. Such an approach would be likely fail the net benefit test that ARPANSA would need to apply in response to any license application
With a detailed inventory completed, thorough consideration of all waste management options is required. That work should be carried out by a dedicated National Commission or comparable public inquiry mechanism. A detailed discussion on how that Commission might be constituted and the issues it might address is contained in the 2014 briefing paper.4 For ANSTO waste, ongoing storage at Lucas Heights needs consideration. Relevant government agencies (and others) have acknowledged that ongoing radioactive waste storage at Lucas Heights is a viable option:
• Andrew Humpherson, ANSTO: “Lucas Heights is a 70-hectare campus with something like 80 buildings. It’s a large area. We’ve got quite a number of buildings there which  house radioactive materials. They’re all stored safely and securely and all surrounded by  a high-security perimeter fence with Federal Police guarding. It is the most secure facility we have got in Australia.”6
• Dr Clarence Hardy, Australian Nuclear Association: “It would be entirely feasible to keep storing it [radioactive waste] at Lucas Heights …”7
• Then ARPANSA CEO John Loy: “Should it come about that the national approach to a waste repository not proceed, it will be necessary for the Commonwealth to devise an approach to final disposal of LLW from Lucas Heights, including LLW generated by operation of the RRR [Replacement Research Reactor]. In the meantime, this waste will
have to be continued to be handled properly on the Lucas Heights site. I am satisfied, on the basis of my assessment of the present waste management plan, including the license and conditions applying to the waste operations on site, that it can be.”8
• Department of Education, Science and Tourism: “A significant factor is that ANSTO has the capacity to safety store considerable volumes of waste at Lucas Heights and is unlikely to seek the holding of frequent campaigns to disposal of waste holdings generated after the initial campaign.”9
• Dr Ron Cameron, ANSTO, when asked if ANSTO could continue to manage its own waste:
“ANSTO is capable of handling and storing wastes for long periods of time. There is no difficulty with that. I think we’ve been doing it for many years. We have the capability  and technology to do so.”5
3 Friends of the Earth, Beyond Nuclear Initiative, Australian Conservation Foundation, November

2014, ‘Responsible Radioactive Waste Management in Australia: The Case For An Independent
Commission Of Inquiry’, https://nuclear.foe.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Responsible-Radioactive-
4 Ibid. proposing double handling. With a detailed inventory completed,

6 September 2008,
7 ARPANSA forum, Adelaide, 26 February 2004,

8 April 2002, Decision by the CEO of ARPANSA on Application to construct the Replacement Research
Reactor at Lucas Heights. Reasons for Decision”, p.30.
9 Application to ARPANSA, 2003, Vol.iii Ch.9 Waste – Transfer and Documentation p.5.

May 29, 2020 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Maurice Blackburn: nuclear waste Bill Amendment is against natural justice, excludes Aboriginal community and concerns

the proposed bill removes the right of judicial review and greatly narrows the review rights of an administrative decision, after the site selection process is underway.
The removal of a fundamental right should only be considered in extreme circumstances,
such as in the case of an emergency. It is clear that the expansion of land for the site is not an emergency, and such, the removal of further review mechanisms is at odds with the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness.

Maurice Blackburn and Co.  Submission to the Economics Legislation Committee, National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions]   Submission 76

“……………  Maurice Blackburn is concerned with several amendments proposed in this bill which appear to remove and erase engagement with the Aboriginal community from the site selection process.
We note that the Bill repeals the definitions relevant to Aboriginal people and associated entities. We are concerned that any nomination process will not sufficiently engage with Aboriginal communities. Irrespective, we would also submit that the removal of key definitions as they relate to Aboriginal people send a concerning message to those communities.
 
In particular, we are concerned that at no point during the nomination process were the proposed amendments flagged to the community. This is deeply concerning as it is at odds with the Commonwealth’s overarching policy objective of dealing with waste management practices in an open and transparent manner. As highlighted above, the unexpected changes to the legislation have the ability to undermine trust in the Commonwealth and have the very real chance of being perceived as unilateral decision making by the Commonwealth to the exclusion of Aboriginal communities.
Further, we are concerned with the amendments proposed in Part 6C. Specifically, the wording in subsection 34G(4)(a), which states that a person who is conducting activities may do so if that person takes all reasonable steps to cause as little detriment and inconvenience, and does as little damage. However, we note that this is a general provision and does not
include any protection or consideration for cultural heritage or the protection for Aboriginal culture as part of this section.
While we note that Part 6C is of a transitional nature and replicates section 11 of the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 (Cth) (the Act), we submit that the lack of consideration for Aboriginal cultural heritage is an oversight and that this should be explicitly included in section 34G.
Further, while sections 34GA and 34GB are also transitional and replicate current provisions in the Act, we are concerned that the Bill simply replicates these provisions and does not include any explicit protection of consideration of Aboriginal culture or heritage. This is concerning to our clients and other Aboriginal communities (particularly the Barngarla
community) and reinforces a perception that the Commonwealth does not take Aboriginal culture and concerns seriously.
THE BILL: EXPANSION OF ACQUISITION OF LAND/PROCEDURAL FAIRNESS Maurice Blackburn is concerned that the amendments proposed in Schedule 1, Part 2. Sections 19A and 19B, which allow for regulations to prescribe additional land for the expansion of the facility and all-weather access respectively, are contrary to the interests of natural justice. Of key concern, it is deeply concerning that the bill, in its proposed form, removes the right of judicial review.
While we note that Part 6C is of a transitional nature and replicates section 11 of the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 (Cth) (the Act), we submit that the lack of consideration for Aboriginal cultural heritage is an oversight and that this should be explicitly included in section 34G.

Further, while sections 34GA and 34GB are also transitional and replicate current provisions in the Act, we are concerned that the Bill simply replicates these provisions and does not include any explicit protection of consideration of Aboriginal culture or heritage. This is concerning to our clients and other Aboriginal communities (particularly the Barngarla
community) and reinforces a perception that the Commonwealth does not take Aboriginal culture and concerns seriously.

The addition of section 19C in its proposed form purports to provide for procedural fairness, but it is limited in scope and does not prescribe any real requirements to the Minister to meaningfully consider community views or submissions.

The requirement that the Minister must invite any person who has a right or interest to the land to comment and to take into account those comments is a broad concept. It is not clear who will have a right or interest in the land. In our experience Native Title Holders and Traditional Owners are often excluded from consultation and community is often given a narrow interpretation. As we have seen from the community ballots conducted by the Flinders Ranges Council and the Kimba Council, many Native Title holders were precluded from voting in the ballot. This provision, and whether members of the Aboriginal community may comment is left ambiguous.

The requirement that the Minister must ‘take into account any relevant comments’ under subsection 19C(1)(b) is vague and does not prescribe any requirements for the Minister. It does not require the Minister to do anything with the comments or take any action, and minimises the community engagement and consultation paramount to any additional
acquisition or expansion of land.

We submit that the proposed provision places a proactive requirement on the Minister to:
1. Publish any relevant comments on a public forum; and
2. The Minister publish a response showing the consideration given to these comments.

Further, section 19C(4) provides that:
“This section is taken to be an exhaustive statement of the requirements of the
natural justice hearing rule in relation to the following:

(a) a decision about the making of regulations under subsection 19A(1);
(b) the Minister’s decision whether to make an instrument under subsection 19B(1)”.
Maurice Blackburn considers such an exhaustive provision to be draconian in nature, as it limits the ability for community members to challenge and appeal the decisions of the Minister, and submit that this be reconsidered.

In its current form, the proposed bill removes the right of judicial review and greatly narrows the review rights of an administrative decision, after the site selection process is underway.
The removal of a fundamental right should only be considered in extreme circumstances,
such as in the case of an emergency. It is clear that the expansion of land for the site is not an emergency, and such, the removal of further review mechanisms is at odds with the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness.

We submit that section 19C be amended to include meaningful community engagement and mechanisms to challenge and appeal the regulations and decisions by the Minister that accordance with Natural Justice. We propose that this take the form of a mandatory request for submissions from the relevant community and a public response by the Minister within a specified timeframe.

Finally, in recognition of the special connection Aboriginal people have with the land, this provision should make it clear that members of the Aboriginal community are included in this  process irrespective of whether they are local residents or title holders.

May 28, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Brett Pike: The overwhelming majority of South Australians do not want a nuclear waste dump in their State

 

Brett Pike  to Senate Committee on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions] Submission 67

I am writing today to register my concern and frustration at the continued reoccurring proposals of a Nuclear Waste Dump here in my home state of South Australia.

From the devastating environmental impacts with being so close to National Parks, the long term prolonged economic impact of the local Kimba region due to the stigma associated with hosting a Nuclear Waste Dump, the already vocal disapproval from the local indigenous authority and the cherry picking of voters in the local ballot all suggest that the shadiness of the operation to clout the public’s best interest and render the land useless for the rest of time.

To put it plainly, we don’t want any Nuclear Waste Dumps here in South Australia. We never have and we never will. The overwhelming majority of South Australian’s do not want it here. This bill has to go.

May 28, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Nancy Lennon:: ensure that key environmental laws are applied to National National Radioactive Waste Management Act

Nancy Lennon  National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 202 [Provisions] Submission 66 

I respectfully request your rejection of the federal governments proposed changes to the National Radioactive
Waste Management Act.

The government has not made a clear case about the need for the planned national facility at Kimba. Moving
radioactive waste across long distances is extremely hazardous and completely unnecessary. This waste is
presently managed near the site it is generated at Lucas Heights, and it should remain stored in that area.

In particular, I am requesting you to remove options for judicial review of the government’s site selection
under current laws. Rather, please ensure that the key environmental and cultural heritage protection laws are
applied to any future changes in the NRWM Act.

May 28, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

David Myer : nuclear lobby bullying their way by their effort to change the National Radioactive Waste Management Act

David Myer  to Senate Committee on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions] Submission 68 

The proposed waste facility at Kimba is a bad idea.

1. Handling and transport of nuclear waste is seriously hazardous.

2. The native people of the Kimba regoin have not been consulted. This is deeply troubling after years of being
ignored, we finally apologise for our historical appalling treatment of our aborigines, and now here we are
again, pretending they don’t exist, don’t have an opinion and don’t matter. Talk about third class citizens.

3. Removal of common law rights, as proposed in the draft legislation, through the denial of access to judicial
review and exempting environmental and heritage legislation, is tantamount to admitting that “this proposal
won’t stack up so we are bullying our way through.” How dare they exempt the law of the land!
Please do not support the proposed changes to the Act.

May 28, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

A WASTE OF TIME – submissions re radioactive waste dump Inquiry- ONLY TECHNICAL MATTERS will be considered

Noel Wauchope 27 May 20  It looks like the Senate Committee inquiring into the Bill to amend the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012  will limit the scope of their inquiries to mainly technical and scientific information. This will be done for two reasons.

The first reason is to bolster ANSTO’s position for getting all the licences for the facility at Napandee as described in ARPANSA’s submission since there are strong and real doubts that ANSTO will not succeed in getting them.

This would make the whole selection process a futile and unnecessary exercise without a result. We all know that this cost millions of dollars.

The second reason is that by concentrating on the technical factors the Committee will be able to avoid dealing with the more emotive questions based on the differences within the community, the outcome of the Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights and the destroying of Native Title and other matters. The result is that many of fine submissions to the Committee will now be simply ignored as they do not include technical data.

What hope does the general community have?

May 27, 2020 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Bob and Sue Tulloch: scrutiny needed on Radioactive Waste Management Amendment- paves the way to import foreign nuclear wastes

 

Bob and Sue Tulloch ( Flinders Local Action Group ) to Senate Inquiry on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions] Submission 72 

There is a lot of misinformation about the Federal Government’s proposed National
Nuclear Waste Management Facility at Kimba. Information has been with held from most Australians via a deliberate, discriminatory voting process, with only two South Australian communities ( Hawker / Quorn and
Kimba ) allowed to vote, (1300 citizens) a process that has so far failed them.

Do our law makers understand WHAT they are voting for?
This is NOT, just mainly a low level nuclear waste dump for hospital gloves and gowns. Two dumps co-located are planned. The second, a temporary storage facility, for far more dangerous intermediate level waste. This will include reprocessed spent fuel rods, used in the nuclear reactors at Lucas Heights, being returned to Australia from
France and the UK. Waste needing serious isolation from humans and the environment for 10,000 years. It is the temporary storage of this ILW, that worry people.

Case for keeping ILW at Lucas Heights
World’s best practice for dealing with Intermediate Level Waste, or High Level waste as classified in France and the UK, is permanent, deep underground burial. There are currently no plans for this to happen in Australia. There is also no time limit set for the storage of this waste, to be placed ‘temporarily’ in an above ground shed at Kimba, if moved from its current modern safe, secure storage facility at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights complex.

It is well documented that the cost of establishing a permanent, deep underground disposal facility for Australia’s relatively low volumes of ILW, is prohibitive. Unless the Australian Government is planning to subsidise the cost of establishing a nuclear waste storage and disposal facility at Kimba, by importing nuclear waste from overseas,
one must question the economical rational to relocate ILW to a second, temporary storage facility at, huge expense to the Australian tax payer.

Australian Nuclear Waste Law
Ref. Protecting Authority, Burying Dissent: An Analysis of Australian Nuclear Waste Law – Angela
Morsley. 2016
 This paper considers the Australian legal framework for a national nuclear waste repository. The paper argues that the current law protects the Commonwealth’s decision- making in relation to a repository site, at the expense of ‘the place for
public participation in the development of the land’, conservation of Aboriginal heritage and environmental impacts, legitimate protections that under the proposed changes to the Act will be even more eroded.

In 2010 the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee recommended that the NRWMA not be enacted unless mandatory provision was made for a Regional Consultative Committee. Closer analysis reveals that the RCC
has no power or influence over a Ministerial declaration, it’s function being merely to ‘facilitate communication’ between the host community and the Commonwealth’.
….. ‘Consultation may be provided for under the NRWMA, but there is no evidence to suggest that it has anything other that a tokenistic place within a legal framework that positions site selection as an almost inevitable outcome of nomination, supported by Ministerial fiat, rather than broadly sought public consent.’

The South Australian Parliament has legislation in place under the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 to prevent the construction of such a facility and the transportation of radioactive waste through the state. The proposed
amendment to the NRWNA to nominate the Napandee site near Kimba as the‘relevant land’, will exclude all state legislation from regulation of all activities associated with the NRWMF. ARPANSA’s Code of Practice for the Safe Transport
of Radioactive Materials, is merely a code of practice and not a statute, is unenforceable in regards to the transportation of radioactive waste through South Australia.

Australia’s Future Nuclear Industry Involvement
Questions about nuclear power generation in Australia, future lucrative ‘fuel leasing’ plans involving an Australian Nuclear Fuel Industry as detailed in the following government reports, and the role a ILW storage facility at Kimba will play, need
clarification and public disclosure.
Australia’s Uranium – Greenhouse friendly fuel for an energy hungry world
A case study into the strategic importance of Australia’s uranium resources for the Inquiry into
developing Australia’s non-fossil fuel energy industry. November 2006

Final Report and recommendations of the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.
May 2016
Not without your approval: a way forward for nuclear technology in Australia;
Report of the inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia; Dec 2019
A report by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment & Energy.

The proposed amendments to NRWM Act, 4A, specifically, refers to ‘radioactive waste’ to be replaced with ‘controlled materials’ (ref ARPANSA Act 1998 ‘controlled material means any natural or artificial material, whether in solid or liquid form, or in the form of a gas or vapour, which emits ionizing radiation spontaneously’), and removal of the words ‘domestic origin’, can allow future operations of the storage facility to encompass nuclear power and nuclear fuel leasing industries as detailed in the Dec 2019 ‘Not without your approval’ report.

For these reasons, more scrutiny on this proposal should be obligatory, and a genuine national discussion implemented. Information supplied to the communities of Hawker/Quorn, Kimba did not include these possibilities, and ballot results obtained from 1207 votes does NOT therefore represent an honest national conversation.

To pass the proposed amendments to the NRWM Act now, would be irresponsible and premature to say the least.

May 26, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Legal action to follow the shonky National Radioactive Waste Management’s processes?

 

This is an extract from  Peter Remta  – submission to Senate Committee on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020   [Provisions] Submission 65

“…………..PROVIDED INFORMATION
All of the information on which the government has based its proposals for the facility has been completely one-sided and self-serving and without any opposing or contrary research and opinions being presented to the Kimba community.

At no stage has the government provided or suggested any review or assessment of its information by the general community of Kimba especially when its members have asked some awkward questions which were mostly responded to by deflecting information or simply left unanswered.

When it was requested to do so the government neither responded nor provided any financial assistance for an independent assessment and scrutiny of its proposals and the information provided by the government and the District Council to the Kimba community.

This is a most unfair and unsatisfactory situation considering the quantum of substantial grants made by the government to the Kimba and previously Hawker communities in order to obtain their approval for hosting the government’s facility.

To that extent the members of the Kimba community opposing the government’s proposals have been deprived of properly and fully testing the validity of the information given by the government as in many instances it lacked credibility and caused grave concern within the Kimba community.

All of this flies completely in the face of the facts and the implications of human rights described in the explanatory memorandum especially as the members of the Kimba community were deprived of the full benefits of those rights and their consequences.

BALLOTS
The Kimba District Council has held two ballots to gauge the community support for
proposed facility with the later being in October 2019.
The results of that ballot were:
Voting papers issued 824
Formal votes accepted 735
Yes vote 452
No vote 283
Informal (no vote) 89

The government decided that the result is the percentage of yes votes of the total formal votes accepted and this is 61.5% in favour. However if the informal 89 votes were rightly included then the result is 54.8% in favour.

The voting base for this ballot was relatively limited as explained in the Federal Court decision dismissing the Barngarla appeal and even excluding the Barngarla many people within the Kimba region who should have been given a vote were not included The irony is that there were residents of the Kimba area who were denied a right to
vote yet they lived closer to the town than some of the eligible voters.

A previous community ballot was held at Kimba in June 2017 with people in the District being encouraged to participate in voting. While it was claimed that this ballot achieved voting of 57.4% in favour and 42.6% against on a total of 691 votes accepted the result in favour dropped to slightly less as they were not resident ratepayers which was the necessary qualification prescribed for the voting.than 50% based on the total of 793 voting papers issued.

INFORMED CONSENT

For a proper and fair ballot vote the Kimba District Council which arranged the ballot should have provided the voters with full written explanations accompanying the voting papers as to both sides of the question to be decided by the ballot so as to enable the intending voters to make a fully considered and informed decision. This has not been done and therefore makes the result highly suspect and unreliable.

Most importantly all the information regarding every aspect of the facility has been provided solely by the government and has been completely one-sided without any information to the contrary or at least a proper scrutiny of the government’s proposals.

Still on the issue of informed consent the government has never enabled or offered the members of the Kimba community who oppose the facility to obtain their own independent advice and assessment of the government’s proposals or to provide funds to meet the costs involved.

This has become extremely important as some of the information given by or on behalf of the government or the District Council of Kimba as proponents of the facility has been misleading or plainly wrong.

It is a well established legal principle that the Kimba District Council owes a duty of care to its community in providing proper and full information on any important issue such as the proposal to establish the facility but the Council has quite clearly failed tosatisfy that duty at law.

Leaving aside any legal rights and remedies available to the Kimba community in that regard the most pragmatic and practical solution would be for the government to pay for a full and proper independent assessment and critical analysis of the whole situation for or on behalf of the members of the community opposing or questioning
the government’s proposals.

This could then be followed by a much wider based ballot which would include explanations of the for and against cases in full so that a properly informed decision can be made by the intending voters. In the overall situation this is probably the most important factor having regard to the mainly disingenuous or at least misleading information from the government over the past four years.

This becomes even more relevant having regard to the numerous requests for information which have never been satisfied by the government in any of its guises and to that extent the community of Kimba were deprived of their full rights described in the explanatory memorandum.

LEGAL ACTIONS
It would seem that in all the circumstances the members of the Kimba community opposing the facility (should they feel so inclined) would have a right of action against the District Council and probably the federal government on the issues of failing to provide full and proper information and holding a fair and more extended ballot based on that information.

It could readily be argued by the Kimba community members who feel aggrieved by the actions of the District Council and the government that the voting rights should be extended to a much broader area and include persons who are not necessarily on the ratepayers’ roll but still have a close affinity to Kimba. For example there are apparently instances of community members who are not on the roll but are much closer to the Kimba township than some of the persons entered on the roll.

May 26, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Australian nuclear dump decision trashes indigenous peoples’ rights

May 26, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

The false economics promised by the government’s National Radioactive Waste Management plan

on all proper assessments and studies it is quite clear that the suggested benefits will not become a reality and in fact may lead to a deterioration in the value of the farming lands and residential properties at Kimba due the presence of the nuclear waste facility.

the government is doing no more than attempting to  create a false economy which regrettably is being seized on by some members of the Kimba community as the misconceived salvation of its present depressed rural conditions which are actually common to the rest of Australia.

This is an extract from  Peter Remta  – submission to Senate Committee on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020   [Provisions] Submission 65

“………FINANCIAL GRANTS
The government has made significant financial grants to Kimba and also previously Hawker to gain community approval for its proposals. While it is a little difficult to ascertain the exact amounts of the grants the list of
recipients indicates that many of them were for rather nebulous and unnecessary purposes with little support or justification. In December 2018 the government first mentioned a so called community purposes
grant of $31million  but failed to provide full details of the grant and its application.

Eventually it was explained that this grant would be a community development package to build economic capacity skills and resilience within those communities and to help realise the economic benefits of hosting the facility.

The three components of the package were:
(a) $8 million for community skills and development
(b) $3 million from the government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy to support economic opportunities for the local Aboriginal community
(c) $20 million as a community fund to contribute towards a range of community focused projects including sustainable health services agricultural research and development and enhancements to local infrastructure such as roads and telecommunications

Even if component (a) were excluded the remaining applications of money should be part of the normal expenditure by the federal and state governments and be completely unrelated to and independent of the community’s  acceptance of the facility.

In fact the local Aboriginal community considers that the moneys from the Advancement Strategy would be available to it in any event under previous arrangements.

Yet at the Senate estimates hearing on 21 February 2019 Manager Chard of the so called national radioactive waste management taskforce stated on behalf of the Department that the community development package of $31 million (she referred to it as $30 million) was being “enshrined” in legislation because this was requested by the community.

She also said that fund – being presumably the component of $20 million of the total package – was “not dependent on the legislation change” since it was envisaged that a fund would be established to support the community when the existing legislation was “conceived” in 2012 even though there had never been any public release or mention of the package and its value until December 2018.

ECONOMIC BENEFITS

The  government has constantly promoted the notion and claimed that the establishment of the facility will lead to significant economic benefits for the Kimba region and its community.

The argument espoused and promoted by the government is that Kimba is a dying agricultural area with no future prospects of revival and consequently the establishment of the facility will provide significant increased employment and other infrastructure benefits ensuring its future for an even quoted figure of 300 years. The economic prospects for Kimba would also be augmented and improved by the intended grants from the government already described as the community development package.

However on all proper assessments and studies it is quite clear that the suggested benefits will not become a reality and in fact may lead to a deterioration in the value of the farming lands and residential properties at Kimba due the presence of the nuclear waste facility.

Based on proper and considered financial advice it seems that the government is doing no more than attempting to  create a false economy which regrettably is being seized on by some members of the Kimba community as the misconceived salvation of its present depressed rural conditions which are actually common to the rest of Australia.

This is a completely wishful but unrealistic perception since it has already been shown by other examples that the facility would in a normal commercial sense need less than 10 workers unlike the government’s constantly quoted figure of 45 workers. Moreover the construction of the facility at Kimba will probably be carried out by already qualified and well experienced contractors from outside of Kimba and their presence during the building stage will add little to the local community……….”

May 25, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Napandee is geologically and geophysically unsuitable for Australia’s nuclear waste dump

This is an extract from  Peter Remta  – submission to Senate Committee on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020   [Provisions] Submission 65

“……….NAPANDEE

Napandee near Kimba in South Australia is the site chosen by the government for its national radioactive waste management facility which would be given legislative effect by the enactment of the Bill.

Unlike what was stated by the responsible minister Napandee is not a locality or community but simply the name of the farm part of which will be acquired by the government by purchase to host the facility. Again contrary to what the minister has said there is no community at Napandee supporting the government’s proposals other than the resident owners of the farm whose opinion must be discounted because of their financial interest.

SUITABILITY
The Napandee site is both geologically and geophysically unsuitable for hosting the facility.

This is confirmed by many experts locally and overseas who are surprised at thechoice of Napandee since it is a most inappropriate ground and soil mineral structure for the construction and the operations of the waste facility.
Because of the soil and ground conditions it would be extremely difficult to properly clean up the area in the event of any escape of waste and would probably leave the ground contaminated for many decades.

The main reasons for its unsuitability are that the Napandee site is on sands of unconsolidated sediments to a depth of some 30 metres in an area of known seismic volatility with several significant earthquakes having been recorded in the past fifty years.

LOCATION
Kimba (and this includes the Napandee farm which is located some 25 kms by road west of the Kimba township) is a prime agricultural area renowned for its cereal crop growing and livestock pastures and is a totally inappropriate and unsuitable location for the facility.

Again based on well regarded and authoritative expert opinion the establishment of the facility at Kimba will be greatly detrimental to its agricultural and farming industry from which the region may never recover.

The financial and economic loss within the agricultural industry for the Kimba region will be incapable of being replaced by any economic benefits claimed by the government to be gained from the waste facility.

The government has attempted to show that agriculture and nuclear waste management can coexist in a satisfactory manner as is the case with the Champagne district of France.

However that situation together with many others throughout Europe has completely changed with significant opposition – and even violent demonstrations – against the storage of nuclear material in their regional localities.

NATURE OF FACILITY
The facility to be constructed at Napandee is based on the model of the El Cabril waste repository in the Córdoba province of Spain.

However the first major difference between the two is that Napandee is in prime agricultural land with many neighbouring and well established farms while El Cabril is  in relatively isolated foothills country and until some years ago was a uranium mine  which immediately provided a remote and generally uninhabited environment and  barrier for that waste facility.

The second is that El Cabril is a very large and highly technical installation with its attendant complexities and costs and consequently is not really an ideal reference example for a very scaled down version for Napandee.

In any case El Cabril despite being regarded as one of the best above ground repositories in the world has recently experienced some water problems which has led the Australian government to look for other possible models for the Napandee facility but no details of this have been publicly released.

In reality El Cabril was probably a bad model to choose for the government’s facility in the first place………..”

May 24, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Peter Remta: Misleading and inaccurate information provided by authorities on National Radioactive Waste Management

 

Peter Remta  – submission to Senate Committee on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020   [Provisions] Submission 65

“………. EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM The explanatory memorandum accompanying the Bill simply repeats many of the
inaccurate and misleading comments and information provided by the Department of Industry Innovation and Science and ANSTO  to the communities of the initially accepted sites in South Australia since the beginning of the nomination process under the existing legislation.

………I must stress that the serious and unacceptable manner in which quite inaccurate information has been disseminated on behalf of the government on such an important issue both now and during the nomination and selection process has only caused more concern and community dissension and I suggest will lead to a greater general apprehension of starting a nuclear industry in Australia

Explanatory memorandum assertions :
1. While the concept of a single and purpose-built nuclear waste facility is a desired objective as outlined at the start of the explanatory memorandum it will be difficult to achieve as is now proposed.

To begin with it is wrong to say that this facility will support nuclear science and technology since it fails to meet the safety prescriptions for a facility of that nature.

It is also wrong to link the provision of nuclear medicine to the proposed storage and disposal of waste at the facility as the various entities generating waste from medical and research activities will continue relying on their own disposal methods and will not necessarily use a government run business for that purpose.

2. Most importantly it is a totally false and misleading proposition to suggest that the failure to establish the facility as proposed by the government will somehow lead to a reduction in nuclear medical services and treatment and the government should quickly correct that serious misconception since this has been a rather distressing concern for the community at Kimba and generally. It is therefore disingenuous to give that impression that this will be a central
facility for all nuclear waste in Australia.

3. While existing waste is held in numerous locations around the country there is no legal or other requirement that this waste would be disposed of at the facility and it is therefore disingenuous to give the impression that this will
be a central facility for all waste in Australia.

4. The reference to meeting with the international obligations under the Joint Convention4 ignores the safety code requirements promulgated some 12 years later under which it would be very difficult to establish the proposed
facility.

5. The suggestion of acquiring additional land for such things as all weather road access is only another example of the intrinsically unsuitable nature of the chosen site and the lack of planning and the necessary technical knowledge for construction of the facility.

6. The process of identifying a suitable location being a 40 year effort again shows the inability of the government or simply ignores that the current process in a proper manner only began after 2012 under the existing legislation.

7. To suggest proper and successful consultations with community members is a test of normal intelligence having regard to the strong and spirited opposition to the facility from the outset by the community generally and the fact that a concerned Aboriginal group has litigated its opposition to an appeal to the Federal Court5 and may now resort to a referral to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

8. The financial aspects of the government’s proposals lack frankness and justification when it has been claimed variously that the amount so far spent in selecting the site is $55 million or $85 million over the past five years but with a constant refusal to provide any details as to how that money has been spent or applied.

Surely there should be proper public disclosure of this quantum of expenditure when compared to the usual outcry where there is only a fraction of that amount involved if there is no reasonable explanation given. Moreover this should be gauged against the persistent refusal of the government to pay for an independent assessment and scrutiny of its
proposals by the members of the Kimba community who oppose the facility.

9. The statement as to compatibility with human rights is again with respect rather nonsensical when the government was incapable of holding a proper and valid ballot (albeit through the District Council of Kimba) which totally ignored the inclusion of an opposing argument contrary to the recognised and applicable principles of human rights. That ballot and the previous one as well as some claimed community surveys failed to meet the principles of informed consent which places a high standard of compliance on both the government and the District Council.

This becomes even worse by excluding the Aboriginal peoples from the ballotIf the government were genuine then it should hold another ballot with a more appropriate and wider base for voting and with the prior provision of all pertinent
information including the arguments or case against the facility. This goes back to providing a proper assessment and scrutiny of the government’s proposals by the opposing members of the Kimba community which has never been
the case.

Regrettably the compatibility statement is more prescriptive in its content instead of actually dealing with the facts of the situation and circumstances that occurred and which have been presented in the statement in a most favourable light for the government. when under the most basic of constitutional and democratic rights they
should have been included in that process…………

Sections on NAPANDEE    FINANCIAL ASPECTS  INFORMATION, BALLOTS, and INFORMED CONSENT  LEGAL ACTIONS  MANAGEMENT of FACILITY  INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS   TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT [these will be published here separately, later]

…. CONCLUDING COMMENTS aand RECOMMENDATIONS Continue reading

May 23, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Dianne Ashton on Government untrustworthiness – the rushed, unethical decision on nuclear waste site

Dianne Ashton  to Senate Committee on INQUIRY INTO NATIONAL RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT
FACILITY  Submission No 63

Herewith is my submission and reasons for opposing the establishment of a National Radioactive
Waste Management Facility in South Australia.

Having been a part of the Barndioota Consultative Committee for the four years it was operational,
prior to a decision being made by the Government as to the proposed site of a Facility, I questioned
the trustworthiness of the Federal Department (DIIS at the time), the lack of ethics when it came to
Consultation and the reason why South Australia was chosen for a proposed NRWF when, clearly
South Australians are patently against having nuclear waste stored in the state.

South Australians voted against a High Level Nuclear Waste Facility being built in South Australia.
Unfortunately had DIIS been patient until that decision was made, they would have realised that
their hope of the long term Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste (ILW) in a High Level Facility in South
Australia was nothing more than a pipe dream. Unfortunately this decision by South Australians, left
DIIS in the unenviable position of looking for a temporary place to store this highly dangerous waste.
To store ILW temporarily above ground for up to 100 years or more, is not a good decision, which is
now what is intended at the proposed NRWMF.

ll that withstanding, the whole process which was undertaken by DIIS to find the proposed site for
a NRWMF in Australia was flawed in so many ways. If DIIS had actually undertaken the process with
World’s best practice in mind, the outcome may have been very different.

A NRWMF would have been chosen, but only after deep consultation with the neighbours, standing
council and community members of the area. The consultative process would have been a two way
process, information being given from all sides of the situation and then discussed. If there were
divisive issues the aim would have been to build greater connections and understand between
community members, because the notion of “divide and conquer” does not belong in community
engagement. This is not what happened, trust was not built, divide and conquer abounded and
information was the only means forward according to DIIS. Also continuity of engagement would
have been important instead of around 25 staff members leaving the team during the process.
Surveys would be been well thought out and extensively conducted instead of hurried and rushed
with flawed results. DIIS did not do enough to fully engage the community and work with them in an
ethical manner to bring the process to an amenable conclusion. This created mistrust of DIIS and
their process.

If the proposed site at Kimba goes ahead without full scrutiny of the process which put it there, it
will be a sad day for any future proposed facilities, as a wonderful opportunity to all work
collaboratively will have gone missing and will continue to be absent, until there is a new approach
to the process.

Covid 19 is paving the way for change in Australia for the better. The government is called to be
acting on behalf of the people (taxpayers) not on behalf of itself. Let’s hope we can all wake up
before it is too late.

May 23, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment