Australian news, and some related international items

Media keeps mum about earthquake near planned nuclear waste dump.

Kazzi Jai, Fight to stop a nuclear waste dump in South Australia 20 Jan 23

Port Augusta had a magnitude 3.2 earth tremor Sunday morning with epicentre near Port Paterson and not a peep in the media!

It was just below 4.0 (and above)which is considered an earthquake …

Only Geoscience Australia officially recorded it.

So, surely there should have been noise about it in the media….or is it just “selective” news these days?

Port Augusta isn’t that far from Kimba…and we’ll remember the greedy landowner commenting once that the nuclear dump would only “bounce up and down” in the event of SEISMIC ACTIVITY!!

Don’t know about anyone else…but concrete and steel drums bouncing up and down results in cracking of concrete and possible breaching of steel drums (steel and concrete interfaces results in concrete corrosion …not to mention the corrosion caused by interaction of radiation emissions contained within)!

Not SAFE AT ALL considering this dump is meant to FULLY CONTAIN this nuclear waste from the environment FOR 300 YEARS!!!


January 23, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, media | Leave a comment

Greens Senator Barbara Pocock ‘s reminder that the Kimba nuclear waste storage has no longterm plan for removal of that waste to permanent disposal

Yesterday’s visit to Kimba by Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King failed to acknowledge the fact that the proposed radioactive waste dump at Kimba includes temporary storage of intermediate level waste which must await a long term solution.

We Greens are standing with the Barngarla Native Title holders in their legal battle to halt the waste dump and with farmers in the region who don’t want to jeopardise the export of their crops to European markets.

January 17, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Minister Madeleine King visits Australia’s proposed nuclear waste dump site – methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Peter Remta. 14 Jan 23 Minister visits Kimba to discuss Nationa Radioactive Waste Management Facility, 13 January 2023

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, the Hon Madeleine King MP, has visited Kimba to meet with local community members and view the planned site for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

It is going to be a long wait for another 10 years

The town of Kimba, on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, has been involved in more than seven years of consultation on the location of Australia’s National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

Still have not provided a safety case or even details of the radionuclide inventories and activity of the intermediate level waste.

Will the high-level light waste processed in France be included in the storage?

“It was a pleasure to visit Kimba for the first time as Minister for Resources and Northern Australia and meet with community members to understand their views firsthand,” Minister King said.

“I was also able to meet with representatives from the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) Board in Kimba and other Traditional Owners.”

Minister King said she was strongly committed to protecting the cultural heritage of the site.

If she is so committed why does she continue opposing the Barngarla peoples’ review litigation?

The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility will consolidate Australia’s low level radioactive waste permanently and intermediate level waste temporarily, which is currently stored in more than one hundred locations across the country.

Please correct this total lie as many of the more than one hundred locations handle their own low-level waste and in the federal government’s own previous statements it will be lucky to get 10% of that waste for disposal at the national facility.

Most of this waste comes from nuclear medicine production, which is an essential part of an advanced healthcare system like ours and one that most Australians will benefit from over their lifetimes.

Again please don’t be cute as the waste you are speaking about is the intermediate level waste generated at Lucas Heights in the course of producing nuclear medicine and that should soon be dramatically reduced as the medical profession worldwide is turning away from reactor generated medicine

“As part of my visit, I engaged with a number of local community groups and stakeholders to discuss how the social and economic benefits of the project could be maximised for the local community,” Minister King said.

None of this will in any way improve or safeguard the community from all the potential problems of the aboveground facility and the destruction of its agricultural industry.

“I understand there is a wide range of views about the project in this community and I wanted to listen to those views firsthand.”

Minister King also met members of the community at a sundowner event at the upgraded Kimba Medical Centre, which was funded under the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Community Benefit Program.

“The upgrades to the Kimba Medical Centre will drive health and social improvements in a community that sorely needs it,” Minister King said.

[Ed note: I understood that Kimba was a thriving, healthy community, a State leader in agriculture.

Are we to understand that instead, it is a sickly pathetic situation, and indeed, the radioactive waste dump’s purpose is to be the saviour of this sad place?]

The only benefit of upgrading the so-called medical centre will be hopefully to provide better care for the people who are affected by radiation – and there will be quite a few believe me with the above ground facility.

Other projects funded in previous rounds include the upgrades to the Kimba Medical Centre, resurfacing Kimba District sporting fields, as well as various mental health initiatives.

[Ed. note. I wonder how much mental health and community cohesion have been damaged by this whole nuclear waste fiasco?]

January 14, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Federal minister visits South Australian site for nuclear waste as legal challenge continues

ABC North and West SA / By Nicholas Ward

Works to establish Australia’s first national nuclear waste facility near Kimba on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula are continuing apace, despite ongoing legal disputes surrounding the project.

Key points:

  • Site preparation works for the nation’s nuclear waste storage are well underway
  • More federal money for the host town of Kimba is reliant on the facility’s construction
  • The federal resources minister says there are currently no plans to store high-level nuclear waste at the site

Federal Minister for Resources Madeleine King, who is responsible for the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA), made her first visit to the town this week to inspect the chosen site at Napandee.

Federal Minister for Resources Madeleine King, who is responsible for the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA), made her first visit to the town this week to inspect the chosen site at Napandee.

“The studies being taken out at the site at the moment are site-characterisation studies,” she said.

They are entirely remedial. They are what I would call small-scale.

“There is a cultural heritage management plan that is informed by the research of the Barngarla people.

“There are strict protocols around the work that is going on right now to make sure there is no disturbance of cultural heritage.”

‘Reversible’ preparation underway

ARWA Safety and Technical general manager David Osborne said concurrent works at the site included tests of its seismology, hydrology and background radiation.

“We have to do all of this work before we can even think about construction,” he said.

“This is about gathering information and all of the work is reversible. We’re simply collecting information that any organisation would do before a construction project.”

Mr Osborne said the work was anticipated to take between 18 months to two years to complete.

Meeting to address concerns

Local grain farmer Peter Woolfood met with the minister to express concerns about the facility’s threat to the region’s “clean, green, agricultural image”.

“We just can’t understand why you would expose this great agricultural industry we have here in grain production to any potential risk at all by having a nuclear waste dump here,” he said.

“Australia’s a big place, so there are plenty of areas this could go without impacting people or industries, simple as that.”

Ms King said those concerns had been taken on board and made assurances that the facility would only be used to store low and intermediate-level nuclear waste.

“There is no high-level waste produced in Australia and there will not be high-level waste stored at the facility so far as planned,” she said.

More money tied to construction

Kimba District Council has benefited from a $6 million federal grants program, currently in its final round, for waste site candidates.

Another $20 million is in the pipeline for the community, but the minister says several hurdles need to be cleared before the money can flow.

“The facility has to get its operational licence. That does require construction and construction is a long way off,” Ms King said.

“There is a judicial review [involving the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation] going on right now and it depends on the outcome of that case.”

Kimba District Council Mayor Dean Johnson gave the minister a tour of the town’s new $1 million medical centre, funded by federal grants.

He said that despite legal challenges, there was a growing expectation that the town’s future was fixed.

“Ultimately, Napandee [the waste site] is earmarked as the final site for the national radioactive waste facility and we believe that will happen,” he said.

January 14, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Kimba nuclear waste dump plan lacks a safety plan and is fracturing the local community

Peter Remta 7 Jan 23. I have again passed on more information to Professor Orellana who is the United Nations special rapporteur mandated as to the human rights aspects of nuclear and hazardous waste

What is really needed is for various community members to contact him direct and explain to him how stressful the whole situation at Kimba has been leading to a fractured society which may never properly recover from this ordeal

The federal government at every turn has failed to abide by or follow the international prescriptions relating to its proposals for Kimba which among other things include the lack of a safety case and after so many years being unable to provide the radionuclide inventory of the intermediate level waste to be stored in the above ground facility

Australia prides itself as a leading first world country on having a most democratic system of government yet this situation would not be tolerated in most third world countries which seem to give greater credence to human rights than locally 

Everything for Special Rapporteurs Orellana shoulder sent to his assistants:

Sonia Cuesta

Halida Nasic

January 7, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Howard ministers considered extinguishing native title over South Australia site earmarked for nuclear waste dump.

Cabinet papers 2002: documents shed light on strategy amid decades-long battle to create national storage centre  Tory Shepherd, Sun 1 Jan 2023 

John Howard’s government considered extinguishing native title over a South Australian site earmarked for a nuclear waste dump “by agreement or by compulsory acquisition”, the 2002 cabinet papers reveal.

The records, released on Sunday by the National Archives of Australia, shed light on the Howard government’s part in the decades-long battle to create a national storage site for Australia’s low- and medium-level nuclear waste.

The Keating government began searching for a site to store the nation’s nuclear waste as early as 1992.

In 2012 the Gillard government passed a controversial bill to create the nation’s first nuclear waste dump – saying it hadn’t yet decided on a location, although many believed it was destined for remote Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory.

Now preliminary works have started on a site at Napandee, near Kimba in South Australia, after the Morrison government resources minister Keith Pitt declared native title had been extinguished there.

The legal and political obstacles were apparent in 2002 when the finance minister, Nick Minchin, and science minister, Peter McGauran, brought their submission to cabinet.

They proposed that federal laws should be used to override SA laws that would ban the establishment of a dump, and that Indigenous land use agreements could be used to override native title.

If native title parties had not “agreed to the surrender of their native title through an ILUA”, the government should consider compulsory acquisition, they said.

Cabinet noted that “the extinguishing of native title, whether by agreement or by compulsory acquisition, is likely to raise difficult issues”.

The cabinet submission noted there were “strong imperatives” for “the safe keeping of hazardous radioactive waste materials” that arise from medicine, industry and research. The waste is now stored at Lucas Heights outside Sydney, and more than 100 institutions across the country.

“Given the sensitivity of the project and the need for certainty of tenure that provides exclusive use of the site for the duration of the project, there appears to be no practical alternative to the extinguishment of native title,” the submission said.

But the government would need to provide “benefits” in return, and be prepared for legal challenges. The submission also suggested a media strategy, saying that ruling out having intermediate waste (leaving just low-level waste) would “deprive the SA government of the argument the national repository was the thin end of the wedge, and that the government has a hidden agenda to site the national intermediate waste store in the state”.

The current government plan is to use the Napandee site as permanent storage for low-level waste, and temporary storage for intermediate-level waste (the long-term plan for the intermediate waste is not clear).

The prime minister’s department agreed with the 2002 plan, while the Attorney General’s Department supported it,, but said there was not enough information to work out whether “security measures will be sufficient to prevent access to the repository for the purpose of terrorist or other criminal activity”.

The Department of Foreign Affairs warned of the “distinct” possibility of “dirty bombs”, in the wake of the September 11 attacks. A dirty bomb is where an explosive is used to scatter radioactive dust.

The Department of Defence had “serious concerns” about the initial proposal to use Woomera for storage.

“A principal concern is the risk of a weapon impact on the national repository as well as the negative publicity that would result,” the department said.

The traditional owners of the Napandee site, the Barngarla people, are still fighting the federal government in court. The SA premier, Peter Malinauskas, has said he supports their cause.

The federal resources minister, Madeleine King, has said the waste “cannot continue to build up”, and has committed to working with the Barngarla people to protect the site’s cultural heritage.

January 2, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Premier Peter Malinauskas reaffirmed South Australian Labor’s position that the Barngarla people have the right to veto the Kimba nuclear waste dump project

Criticism over site works for SA nuclear waste dump

The Albanese Government has come under fire after it confirmed preliminary works will begin at the site of a proposed national nuclear waste facility on the Eyre Peninsula, despite a Federal Court challenge to the project still being underway.

InDaily Jason Katsaras 16 Nov 22

In correspondence seen by InDaily, federal Resources Minister Madeleine King said preliminary works would begin at Napandee near Kimba, but they were not construction works.

“Site characterisation activities will commence next week on the site, which are low-level, localised investigative studies to gather more detailed data on matters such as the site’s geology, hydrology, seismology and baseline radiological conditions,” she said…………………………………..

the Australian Conservation Foundation said the move effectively pre-empted a court bid to block the project.

“While these works are not the start of facility construction, they are a clear sign of intention and are inconsistent with repeated federal government assurances that it will not pre-empt the outcome of a current Federal Court challenge by Barngarla Native Title holders to the validity of the former government’s selection of the site,” it said.

In December, the local Bangarla people, represented as The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation, applied for judicial review of the decision to suspend work on the planned nuclear dump, arguing they weren’t properly consulted before the site was selected.

“This week they will have boots on the ground – it’s a significant escalation and a conscious choice,” ACF spokesman Dave Sweeney said.

“Federal Labor inherited a divisive and deficient approach to radioactive waste management from the former government.

“The decision to commence site works is a poor one, but not an irreversible one. It should not be advanced by a federal Labor government.”

The choice of site for the nuclear waste facility has been a hotly contested issue in the region since the then Liberal Government acquired the 211-hectare agricultural site in Napandee in 2021.

In September, Premier Peter Malinauskas reaffirmed South Australian Labor’s position that the Barngarla people have the right to veto the project.

“I think that the traditional owners of the land on a project as controversial and as significant as this one, and as long-lasting as this one, are entitled to have a say and that is what has underpinned our position,” he said.

November 21, 2022 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

What’s happening with the radioactive waste facility in South Australia?

Ed. I always like it when the nuclear lobby brings up their tired old argument about bananas. It shows their contempt about the intelligence of ordinary people.

“Australian Radioactive Waste Agency CEO Sam Usher standing in front of a 100-tonne TN-81 transport and storage cask that contains intermediate level waste (ILW) at ANSTO’s Interim Waste Store.

The container is so well shielded that a person standing 10m away for one hour would receive the equivalent radiation dose to eating half of one banana. Credit: ARWA.”

When high level nuclear waste is returned to Australia 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.

Cosmos By Clare Peddie / 18 November 2022,

Multiple hurdles stand in the way, but the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency is pressing ahead with plans for Kimba.

More of a mausoleum than a crypt, the burial chamber planned for Australia’s decaying radioactive waste will consist of free-standing concrete vaults, above-ground, on agricultural land near Kimba on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

The first National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) will be 1710km west of Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), by road. That’s an 18-hour drive from Lucas Heights in Sydney, across the Hay Plains and through the Riverland, on the most direct route.

While precise transport routes remain undecided, the federal government is clear that the vast majority (97%) of the waste destined for Kimba will come from ANSTO.

The NRWMF will be the final resting place for Australia’s low-level waste (LLW) and a secure half-way house for intermediate-level waste (ILW), which will be interred for 50 years before being moved to a more suitable facility, below ground.

At least, that’s the current plan. There’s a court case to be heard, a public inquiry to be instigated and a series of regulatory hurdles to be cleared before construction can begin.

2021 Radioactive Waste Inventory

Australia’s National Inventory of Radioactive Waste 2021 reveals ANSTO is expected to produce 12,972 cubic metres of LLW and 3753 cubic metres of ILW. (That adds up to 16,725 cubic metres, out of the national total 17,163 cubic metres.)

Australia has no High Level waste. [ed note: The government and ANSTO reclassify spent nuclear fuel as not being high level waste, but “Intermediate Level“]

Other Commonwealth22
Research and education112

Australia’s low level waste, in cubic metres. Source.

Other Commonwealth11
Research and education

Australia’s intermediate level waste, in cubic metres. Source.

On November 29, the Morrison Government’s Resources Minister, Keith Pitt, declared the NRWMF would be established 24km west of Kimba at Napandee, a 211 hectare property.

But the Traditional Owners, the Barngarla People, did not provide consent. And they had made their opposition abundantly clear, in the lead-up to the announcement.

So within a week, the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) announced their intent to challenge the Minister’s decision. The application for judicial review was lodged in the Federal Court on December 20 and a separate constitutional challenge followed. The case will go to trial in March.

Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King says she “will not pre-empt the outcome of the court process currently underway” and has repeatedly refused requests from BDAC, conservationists and Greens Senator for SA, Barbara Pocock, to halt work on the project until the case is heard…………………………..

Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA) Chief Executive Officer, Sam Usher, says the declaration of the site was a “significant milestone for Australia and its nuclear industry” and the “culmination of a long process” of site selection.

But it’s also the start of another lengthy process, with many regulatory hurdles along the way…………….

“Even going through the construction, we still need to apply for operating licences for the facility through ARPANSA (the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) … We are not anticipating the facility to become operational until early in the next decade.”

Key regulatory and approval steps

  • Draft Environmental Impact Statement
  • EPBC Environmental Impact Assessment
  • NRWMF Siting License 
  • Safeguards Permit 
  • Public Works Committee Approval
  • NRWMF Construction License
  • NRWMF Operating License

Recruited from the nuclear waste industry in Britain and appointed in January, Usher was called to address the Committee to help resolve the timing of a public inquiry required under state law.

The Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 seeks 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”.

It states: “If a licence, exemption or other authority to construct or operate a nuclear waste storage facility in this State is granted under a law of the Commonwealth, the Environment, Resources and Development Committee of Parliament must inquire into, consider and report on the likely impact of that facility on the environment and socio-economic wellbeing of this State.”

When the Committee sought Usher’s opinion on the timing of a public inquiry, he suggested the Environmental Impact Statement, “expected to be completed in the next three or four years or so”, would address the “environmental and socio-economic wellbeing impacts” on the state.

But he added that “delivery of the facility is a matter of national importance” and override powers within the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 would be used where necessary.

As ARWA Principal Legal Counsel Kirsty Braybon put it: “Commonwealth legislation puts in place a process whereby we can effectively override the state laws that stop us from doing what we need to do.”

On reflection, Committee chair and Labor MP Jayne Stinson told Cosmos that she felt the “threshold” for a public inquiry had not been met and would not, for a long period of time.

“It’s really the most massive exercise in ‘How long is a piece of string?’. There are so many movable parts in this equation that it’s very difficult to tell, but it is most likely that this could stretch out well beyond the next term of parliament,” she said.

She said the phrase “construct or operate” was significant, pushing the timing of the inquiry further into the future. The Committee would also want to see the court case resolved first, especially as the Premier recently reinforced SA Labor’s long-held position that the Barngarla People should have the right to veto the project.

“In this day and age, when we’re talking about Voice, Treaty and Truth, we can’t just turn around and say, ‘Oh, well, those are our values but in this particular instance, we’re going to ignore the voice of Aboriginal people’. I think that’s just preposterous and it’s inconsistent with what most South Australians would think,” Stinson said.

“So yes, we do think that the voices of Aboriginal people should be front centre in this debate, and I would say that’s not just the view of the Premier, but of our Cabinet and also our Party.”

Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation Chair, Jason Bilney, is frustrated about having to fight another legal battle so soon after the two-decade effort to win native title.

While it is true that there is no native title on the site in question, that’s because it is freehold land. The former farm is surrounded by parcels of native title land, within the Barngarla Determination boundary. (Native title is extinguished by certain forms of property tenure).

Mr Bilney maintains that the site is a “very significant place for Barngarla people, we’ve travelled through it, it’s part of our songlines, our storylines and it’s connected to female dreaming, through the aquifers running underneath it”.

Objections to the facility also run deep, because there is a history of past injustices surrounding nuclear weapons testing, so any talk of radioactive waste reopens old wounds. And then there are questions around the “temporary” storage of long-lived radioactive waste.

“We don’t want the dump on our country, and we were excluded from the start,” he says……………………….

Nuclear industry expert  Professor Ian Lowe, says ILW “needs to be securely stored for many thousands of years in a properly engineered site”.

He agrees that the “sensible approach … would be to continue storing the ILW securely at Lucas Heights while there is a proper process of designing a permanent disposal site and consulting communities to negotiate informed consent for a location”.

ARWA is working with CSIRO to review and assess technical ILW disposal options, but this process has barely begun………………………

Money is flowing into the town, with the third round of community grants announced on November 2 injecting a further $2 million into projects such as upgrades to the Kimba District Hospital facilities, a new Kimba Youth and Community Hub, a ‘shop local’ marketing initiative to support local businesses, and refurbishment of the Kimba Op Shop. This builds on $4 million of grants and 50 projects already funded in Kimba under the program.

There’s the promise of 45 ongoing jobs in the facility, plus all of the construction work.

And there’s plenty of work for scientists in the next phase of “site characterisation works” to begin this week…………..

November 19, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Radioactive waste works at Napandee, South Australia, ‘pre-emptive and unjustified’.

Dave Sweeney, Australian Conservation Council, 15 Nov 22, Preliminary earthworks at a contested site proposed for a national radioactive waste facility in regional South Australia are pre-emptive and unjustified, Australia’s national environment group says.

Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King has confirmed ‘site characterisation works’ are set to commence this week at Napandee, near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula.

While these works are not the start of facility construction, they are a clear sign of intention and are inconsistent with repeated federal government assurances that it will not pre-empt the outcome of a current Federal Court challenge by Barngarla Native Title holders to the validity of the former government’s selection of the site.

“Advancing this project at this time is effectively pre-empting the court process,” said Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“This is a political choice, not a radiological requirement. ACF calls on Resources Minister Madeleine King to revisit this decision and reconsider this project.”

The federal waste plan, initiated by the former government and driven by former ministers Canavan and Pitt, faces a growing list of critics as well as a legal challenge.

SA Premier Peter Malinauskas recently supported the Barngarla Native Title holders’ right to veto the project and last month the SA Labor state convention stated the waste plan ‘undermines efforts toward reconciliation.’

Eyre Peninsula grain producers, Barngarla people and Unions SA, along with state and national environment, Indigenous and civil society groups, have united in opposition to the plan and the highly curated process.

“Federal Labor inherited a divisive and deficient approach to radioactive waste management from the former government,” Dave Sweeney said.

“The plan is not responsible, necessary or consistent with international best practice or Labor’s stated values and platform.

“The decision to commence site works is a poor one, but not an irreversible one. It should not be advanced by a federal Labor government.”

November 15, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, legal | Leave a comment

Prep work to start next week on Kimba Nuclear Waste dump, despite Government assurances not to pre-empt court case 11 Nov 2022  Australian Greens

In a letter from Minister for Resources, Madeleine King to Greens Senator Barbara Pocock, it is revealed that despite the ongoing court case against the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC), preparatory works will be going ahead starting next week.

In Senate estimates last night, Senator Pocock pushed the Senator representing the Minister for Resources, Tim Ayres, for answers around the future of the Kimba Site.

SA Labor does not support the dump, the SA people do not support the dump and have not been properly consulted, the Traditional Owners have unequivocally opposed it at every opportunity. The Government is continuing to spend $50 000 per week of taxpayer money in legal costs for something with no social license.

Senator Tim Ayres used the ongoing court case to dodge Senator Pocock’s questioning throughout estimates. He stated that the Government would respect and not pre-empt the outcome of the case. Despite this, it’s clear initial works will be proceeding as early as next week as per Minister King’s Letter.

It’s clear the process of site selection was mishandled. The Labor government now has the opportunity to halt works and review the decisions made previously, to show the Kimba community and the Barngarla people that they are committed to proper consultation and respecting first nations voice and rights.

“Minister for Resources, Madeleine King, has today informed me that preparatory works will be starting on the Kimba Site next week. Although it is not construction of the facility yet, this is a significant escalation that goes against reassurance in last nights estimates that court proceedings will be respected.

“Throughout estimates questioning last night, Senator Tim Ayres repeatedly stated that they would respect and not pre-empt the outcome of the court case. The letter I received right before estimates is a direct contradiction to this statement.

“I am deeply concerned that these preparatory works are going ahead.

“The site selection process was done without proper community consultation. This is a terrible decision inherited from the previous government. Labor can still turn this around. They must stay true to their word and immediately halt all works.

November 15, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Friends of the Earth urge all South Australian federal Labor politicians to push for the scrapping of Kimba nuclear waste plan.

From Friends of the Earth – The letter below was sent today to all South Australian federal ALP politicians.

We are writing in regard to the proposed construction of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (nuclear waste dump) at Napandee, near Kimba in South Australia.

We wish to thank the SA Labor Caucus for its resolution at the recent South Australian ALP State Convention supporting “a veto right for the Barngarla community on this facility”. The resolution states, “Continuing with this project, including ancillary earthworks outside of current legal injunctions, despite the opposition of the Barngarla people, undermines efforts toward reconciliation.”

As a Labor Party politician elected to federal parliament to represent South Australia, we urge you to push for the implementation at the federal level of SA Labor’s position on this matter. We are concerned that the current Minister for Resources Madeleine King is following the lead of the bureaucracy in pursuing the former Coalition government’s policy on the nuclear waste dump.

Napandee was announced as the chosen site for the permanent disposal of low level radioactive waste (LLW) and temporary storage of intermediate level radioactive waste (ILW) in February 2020 by then federal resources minister Senator Matt Canavan. It was subsequently officially declared on 26 November 2021 by Senator Canavan’s successor Mr Keith Pitt MP. There is no reason why the current Labor government should allow itself to be bound by policies of the previous government promoted by National Party politicians Senator Canavan and Mr Pitt.

To pursue this project risks undermining the Labor government’s signature policy of enshrining in the Constitution a First Nations Voice to Parliament. A voice to parliament would enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to provide advice to the parliament on policies and projects that impact their lives. The clear advice from the Barngarla people, the Traditional Owners of this area, is that they don’t want a nuclear waste dump on their land. The Barngarla people were excluded from a community ballot conducted by the Kimba District Council in November 2019, so they conducted their own independent poll. Not a single Traditional Owner voted in favour of the dump.

Besides the Barngarla people, significant other affected communities have not been consulted. A facility that would involve transportation of radioactive waste through South Australia should involve consultation with all communities along the transport route and with the wider public. No such consultation has occurred.

There are better alternatives to a centralised waste dump in regional South Australia. The overwhelming majority of the waste comes from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) Lucas Heights facility. The safest and most secure place to continue to manage and store the waste is at Lucas Heights, especially given that the proposed Napandee site would only provide temporary storage for intermediate level radioactive waste (ILW). A final disposal site for ILW would still have to be found. What is the point of double handling it?

We urge you to push for the federal government to promptly overturn the previous government’s declaration of the Napandee site and to cease all work at the site.

November 8, 2022 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Concerns in outback SA grow as federal government plans to store defence waste at planned Kimba nuclear dump

ABC By Sara Tomevska, 18 Oct 22,

The federal government is facing questions over how it will dispose of highly-radioactive waste produced by Australia’s future nuclear-powered submarine fleet, as concerns about a controversial nuclear dump in outback South Australia grow.

Key points:

  • The federal government chose a site near Kimba for its nuclear waste site in 2021
  • Locals are now concerned high-level nuclear defence waste could be stored at the site
  • There are two legal challenges underway to block the site from going ahead

After 40 years of searching, the federal government last year announced it had chosen Napandee, a 211-hectare property near the town of Kimba, to consolidate Australia’s low-and-intermediate nuclear waste……….

 last June, the federal parliament passed a range of amendments to the National Radioactive Waste Management Act.

One of the changes allows defence waste to be stored at the site too.

Fourth generation wheat farmer Terry Schmucker has long opposed the dump, fearing the site could lead to contamination.

“As a farmer have become connected to the land and I’ve come to realise how precious topsoil and agricultural land are,” he said.

He said the changes to legislation had added to his anxiety. “I always expected that the dump was the thin end of the wedge … but it’s disappointing that the government hasn’t come straight out and said ‘this is how it is’,” he said. 

A Department of Defence spokesperson said Australia’s defence programs already generated a “range of low-level radioactive waste” which was currently stored in two temporary facilities.

In September 2021, three months after the amendment bill passed through parliament, former Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia would acquire nuclear-powered submarines as part of the AUKUS defence pact.

Mr Schmucker said the deal raised “serious questions” about how and where the federal government would dispose of high-level radioactive waste generated by the submarines.

“I think it’s going to come here, that’s just the way it is,” he said.

“If the waste site is set up at Kimba, there’s nothing to stop [the government] from bringing even worse stuff than what’s going to come out of the submarines and putting it here in agricultural land.”

Could submarine waste really end up in Kimba?

The legislation explicitly prevents high-level radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel — which is what the submarines would produce — from being dumped at the Napandee site.

Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) chairman Jason Bilney said he was concerned that could be changed with the stroke of a pen.

“We all know what the government is like, the government can change that at any given time and try and slip it through,” he said.

Former senator and submariner Rex Patrick was part of the parliament that passed the legislation, and said he believed it was unlikely that protection would ever be removed.

“The parliament that passed the facility were of the clear understanding that high-level material would not be stored at the site,” he said.

“Now, of course, [legislation] can be changed by a future parliament. And so, there is a risk there.

October 18, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The previous Liberal government lied about its Kimba nuclear waste dump plan, but be wary of the new Labor government, too.

I strongly suggest that particularly the Barngarla but the general Kimba community should be extremely cautious of the so- called support by Malinauskas and Maher for the opposition to the waste facility at Kimba as their demands for the nuclear powered submarine fleet to be built or just based in South Australia will generate significant volumes of nuclear waste which will need Kimba its storage and disposal.

Peter Remta, 17 October, While Minister Madeleine King began with great promise as a knowledgable and realistic minister for resources unlike her ministerial predecessor I have been singularly disappointed by her comments in various media outlets including in particular the Saturday’s edition of The Guardian

To say that she is allowing the Barngarla litigation to run its course is ludicrous and none of what she says can in any way justify the continued planning for the facility at Kimba

In view of this I have arranged for the ARTEMIS peer review service of IAEA to undertake a comparative study of the Kimba proposal to other suggested facilities.

What is more they will undoubtedly embarrass the government by showing up its ignorance and incompetence in the realm of nuclear waste which has previously been disguised by a barrage of
disingenuous comments and information.

I am aware that one person of interest in this review is to be Pitt as the former minister since he has shown to have little if any real knowledge of nuclear issues but was happy to disseminate incorrect and even untrue information for presumably his self importance.

However in the meantime it is necessary to ensure that the federal government will grant unfettered entry to Australia for both the ARTEMIS team and the UNHRC special rapporteurs since they have already been stopped on two occasions

Finally I strongly suggest that particularly the Barngarla but the general Kimba community should be extremely cautious of the so- called support by Malinauskas and Maher for the opposition to the waste facility at Kimba as their demands for the nuclear powered submarine fleet to be built or just based in South Australia will generate significant volumes of nuclear waste which will need Kimba its storage and disposal.

Perhaps someone should question him and Maher about their reluctance for an intervention by the State in such a significant national and international issue.

October 18, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Opponents of nuclear waste facility march as one in Port Augusta to protest. ABC North and West SA / By Bethanie Alderson and Nicholas Ward, 17 Oct 22

More than 100 opponents of a plan to build a national nuclear waste facility on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia have rallied in Port Augusta.

Key points:

  • Scores of people have marched to protest a nuclear waste facility being built in Kimba
  • Traditional owners say they were never consulted about the plans by the federal government
  • The government has spent almost $10 million on legal fees in support for the facility 

Barngarla traditional owners, farmers and community members marched from Port Augusta’s wharf to Gladstone Square to protest the federal government’s proposal to build a nuclear waste site near Kimba. 

The chair of the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC), Jason Bilney, said if the new government was serious about supporting an Indigenous

voice to parliament, it should listen to their argument.

“It took us 21 years to win our native title; we’ll fight it for another 21 or 25 years if we have to,” he said..

“We are very strong and very passionate about preserving our culture and our heritage as well as protecting our land.

“We don’t want nuclear waste on our country.”

The federal government confirmed detailed investigation work was about to start at the site.

Mr Bilney insisted Barngarla people were never consulted about the plan and found themselves excluded from a community vote.

“Within six months of winning our native title and fighting for 21 years in the Federal Court to get a determination to then be told there’s a nuclear waste dump being built on our country — we had to go out of our way as Barngarla and contact the government,” he said.

“The government’s come out and announced they’ll commit to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

“How can they on one hand say that and then on the other hand break the heart of the First Nations people?”

The Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn a mining exploration company’s authorisation to drill at Lake Torrens means Mr Bilney is confident that Barngarla will succeed again.

“It was a very proud moment, and we know that they’re going to appeal it but winning one case for judicial review puts us in a good position for the federal case with the nuclear waste dump,” he said.

‘Huge’ legal spend

Greens Senator Barbara Pocock revealed the federal government had spent almost $9,905,737 on legal fees for the waste facility and the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency.

“Ten million dollars is a huge, unnecessary legal spend, much of which has focused on fighting local Kimba residents and a vulnerable First Nations community,” Senator Pocock said.

Since litigation began in December 2021, the government has spent $607,613 directly against BDAC and a further $247,806 on in-house legal salaries.

The Barngarla people spent approximately $124,000 on legal fees over the same period.

“This mega-spend is immoral. It is wasteful, and it is against the spirit of the Uluru statement.”

“We need to find a solution to dispose of our own nuclear waste, but it needs to be safe, it needs to be long term and it needs to not be in the middle of our clean green agricultural land.”

Fight for sacred site

Barngarla elder Linda Dare says Kimba is a site of great significance to traditional owners, and especially for women.

“We have the waters there, the lakes there … and if this goes on it’s actually going to affect our waterways all the way to the Flinders and surrounding areas,” she said.

“It’s very significant because along the way we’ve lost a lot of family members that have been fighting for native title for years when we were little.”

“We know we can fight this, and we know we’ve got the backing of every Indigenous tribe in Australia because it affects everybody in South Australia if there’s any damage.”

Ms Dare and Aunty Dawn Taylor met with Premier Peter Malinauskas and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kyam Maher during the state government’s country cabinet forum in Port Pirie.

Mr Malinauskas said while the state government did not have the power to stop the planned facility, he would express his support for the Barngarla people to have the right to veto to the federal Labor government.

Mr Bilney believes the Barngarla community needs the whole country to support them in their fight.

“The more support we have locally, state and federally the stronger we become as one,” he said.

October 17, 2022 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

Most of Australia’s nuclear waste comes from Lucas Heights – should it stay there?

Opponents of proposed dump site at Kimba in South Australia say it would be safer to keep the waste where it mostly is

Guardian. Tory Shepherd, 17 Oct 22.

he vast majority of Australia’s future radioactive waste will be produced by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) Lucas Heights facility in Sydney, the latest figures show.

For 40 years governments have pushed for a national radioactive waste storage facility, often claiming it is because currently waste is held at more than 100 sites across the country.

But the latest statistics show almost all of it is in that one facility.

A new inventory of Australia’s radioactive waste, published in September by the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency, shows a larger than expected increase in waste in the future.

Australia’s waste is either low level (LLW), which is mainly from laboratories, or intermediate level (ILW), which is from nuclear medicine. ILW emits more radiation and requires more shielding.

There are many variable factors, but the report notes that “the estimated volumes of Ansto’s future LLW and ILW are substantially greater than previously reported”. It estimates the levels of LLW in 100 years and ILW in 50 years.

For LLW, that is a change in how future levels are measured. For ILW, it was a matter of having to revise existing estimates………………………..

Ansto’s waste is estimated to make up 12,972 cubic metres of the country’s 13,287 cubic metres LLW (97.6%) in the next 100 years, and 3,753 cubic metres of the country’s 3,887 cubic metres ILW (96.8%).

Dave Sweeney, the nuclear free campaigner from the Australian Conservation Foundation, is opposed to the federal government’s plan to move the country’s waste to a single facility near Kimba in South Australia.

He says it should stay where it (mostly) is.

“It’s Ansto’s waste facility,” he says. “Ansto’s 97% of intermediate and low level waste. It’s not a national facility. It’s Ansto’s facility.

“It’s absolutely striking.”

Sweeney says Ansto has the capacity to store the waste indefinitely, especially considering a recent $60m investment to expand its storage capacity.

The local Aboriginal people, the Barngarla people, are also opposed to the site being on their traditional lands.

The South Australian Greens senator Barbara Pocock says there is “no pressing problem” with waste storage, so they may as well leave it where it is.

“They’re better off leaving it safely,” she says, “well protected, with all the right safeguards in place, than to pull it out and have a double-handling non-solution.”

Pocock is also concerned about the transport of waste from Lucas Heights and other facilities to the planned South Australian site.

“There hasn’t been a proper discussion in the SA community on the views of the transport of nuclear waste through our communities,” she says.

An Ansto spokesperson says having a single facility is “in line with international best practice”, and moving the waste is in line with commitments given to the Lucas Heights community…………………..

October 17, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment