Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s nuclear waste is growing as battle over dump site heats up

Government says nuclear waste cannot continue to build up and it will work with traditional custodians of proposed Kimba site

Guardian Tory Shepherd 14 Oct 22,

Australia is accumulating more intermediate-level nuclear waste than previously thought, a new inventory has found, as the battle over a nuclear waste dump heats up.

After 40 years of different governments talking about a national nuclear waste facility, the Morrison government chose a site near the town of Kimba in South Australia. But the local Barngarla people are united against the plan, and have vowed to keep fighting to stop it happening.

The federal resources minister, Madeleine King, said the waste “cannot continue to build up” and she would continue to work with the Barngarla people to protect the cultural heritage of the site and deliver economic benefit to the traditional custodians.

Opponents of the site hope the new Labor government will be more likely to abandon the plan, but King said the government was committed to “progressing the facility”……………..

The Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA) recently updated its inventory of waste, to inform the development of the Kimba facility. It found there was 2,061 cubic metres of intermediate-level waste in 2021, compared to 1,771 cubic metres in 2018. And it projects 4,377 cubic metres in the next 50 years, compared to 3,734 cubic metres projected in 2018.

ARWA notes that more waste categories and holders were included in 2021, increasing the current levels of waste, and that estimates for future years were revised.

Currently waste is stored in more than 100 places around the nation, but most of it is held at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) facilities in Lucas Heights, Sydney.

The Australian Conservation Foundation and others argue that Ansto should be expanded to become the national storage site.

The chief executive of Arwa, Sam Usher, wrote in the report that Kimba would be used to dispose of Australia’s LLW, and to hold ILW temporarily while a permanent solution was found.

“To ensure the facility has capacity to house Australia’s current and future waste holdings, ARWA has undertaken extensive work to provide an updated national inventory of radioactive waste,” he wrote.

The Kimba site was announced after an Australian Electoral Commission ballot found the majority of the people in the council area were in favour. However, that ballot did not include Aboriginal people who count the area as part of their traditional lands.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation chair, Jason Bilney, said his people were never consulted, and they are unanimously opposed.

“We were excluded,” he said. “Unanimously, we do not want it on our country.

“We’ll keep fighting this.”

Bilney said his people were organising a rally in Port Augusta on Saturday to remind people what is happening. He said his concern was that the site would start accepting waste from outside Australia. He also said it made more sense for the Lucas Heights facility to expand into waste storage, because the proposed Kimba site was only meant to be temporary storage for ILW anyway, with a permanent site yet to be determined.

“Why would you keep kicking the can down the road?” he said.

There was an ongoing court process with Barngarla people fighting for access to government documents, and King said she would not “pre-empt” the outcome of that. She said nuclear medicine, which most Australians benefit from at some point, produced radioactive waste…………

“While there is no native title on the site, the government is committed to progressing the facility in a way that protects cultural heritage and delivers economic benefit to the traditional custodians.”

The site is freehold, but on the traditional lands of the Barngarla.

Dave Sweeney, the ACF’s nuclear free campaigner, said there was room at Lucas Heights, and pointed to $60m awarded to Ansto in 2021 to expand its storage.

“That’s approved,” he said. “It’s been through the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (Arpansa).”

“Arpansa has said that it’s consistent with international best practice and that means that material can be safely stored there for decades to come. So they’ve got the capacity, they’re actually growing the capacity.”

The South Australian Labor premier, Peter Malinauskas, supports the Barngarla people, and says he will try to influence the federal Labor government.

October 14, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Friends of the Earth call on Madeleine King, Minister for Resources to overturn the declaration on Kimba nuclear waste site.

The Hon Madeleine King MP

Minister for Resources

Dear Ms King

Kimba Nuclear Waste Dump

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. Napandee was declared on 26 November 2021 by Liberal National Party MP Keith Pitt, then Minister for Resources and Water, as the chosen site for the permanent disposal of low level radioactive waste (LLW) and temporary storage of intermediate level radioactive waste (ILW).

We urge you to overturn the declaration of this site by the previous government.

1. First Nations Voice to Parliament
We were greatly encouraged when Prime Minister Albanese, in his election night speech, embraced the Uluru Statement from the Heart, including its call for a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the constitution. 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 the area, is that they don’t want it. 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.

We wish to lend our support to the Barngarla people’s call for their voices to be heard and for the nuclear waste dump proposal to be cancelled. We note that the Premier of South Australia Peter Malinauskas recently reiterated SA Labor policy that Traditional Owners should have a right of veto over nuclear projects. South Australia has a law prohibiting the establishment of nuclear waste storage facilities in this state (Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000), which, while not binding on the Commonwealth, should be respected.

2. Process
While a majority of those who were actually allowed to vote in the Kimba community ballot supported the dump, a substantial minority opposed it and the proposal has divided the community. Furthermore, besides the Barngarla people, significant other affected communities have not been consulted. A facility that would involve transportation of radioactive waste to the storage and disposal site should involve consultation with all communities along the transport route and with the wider public. No such consultation has occurred. In fact, transport of repatriated reprocessed intermediate level waste was excluded from the March 2022 Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act referral.

3. Better alternatives
In a submission last year to a public consultation about the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF), Friends of the Earth Australia stated (1):

‘Moving LLILW [Long-Lived Intermediate-Level Waste] to an above-ground ‘interim’ store adjacent to a repository for lower-level wastes makes no sense given that much of the waste is currently located at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights site, which is properly secured and home to much of Australia’s nuclear expertise. ANSTO also enjoys considerably higher access to nuclear monitoring, security, waste management expertise and emergency response capacity than any other site in the nation.’ 


‘Successive governments have assumed that a shallow, remote repository is the best solution for low-level radioactive waste (LLW). That assumption needs to be tested as no federal government has attempted to demonstrate the net benefit of a remote repository. Measured by radioactivity, a large majority of LLW is stored at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights site; measured by volume, ANSTO manages about half the total volume. ANSTO expects to continue to operate at the Lucas Heights site for many decades into the future and it is by no means clear that a remote repository is preferable to ongoing storage at Lucas Heights, especially given the continuing uncertainty around the long-term future management options for LLILW.’

The Australian Radioactive Waste Agency’s National Inventory of Radioactive Waste released on 6th Sept 2022 shows that ANSTO is the predominant source of existing and future radioactive waste to be disposed and stored at Kimba.

When asked if ANSTO could continue to manage its own waste, Dr Ron Cameron (ANSTO) said, ‘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.’ (2) More recently, CEO of Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), Dr Carl Magnus Larsson, confirmed that ‘Waste can be safely stored at Lucas Heights for decades to come.’ (3)

In light of the above circumstances, you should not feel under any obligation to honour the decision of the previous government. The sooner you cancel this project, the better.

Yours sincerely,

Philip White 12 October 2022
On behalf of Friends of the Earth Adelaide

1. Friends of the Earth Australia, ‘NRWMF public consultation: Published response: Submission re Proposed Nomination of Napandee (Kimba, SA) for a National Nuclear Waste Dump and Store’, 22 October 2021:

2. ARPANSA forum, Adelaide, 26 February 2004:

3. Hansard, Parliament of Australia, Economics Legislation Committee, 30/06/2020:

October 13, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

The Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA) shows that the planned Kimba dump is predominantly for ANSTO’s wastes , NOT for medical wastes.

see new 2-page Briefer “ARWA’s National Inventory of Radioactive Waste shows the Kimba dump is predominantly for ANSTO’s waste”…/Inventory-ARWA-Noonan…


ANSTO – Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation – is the predominant source of existing and future radioactive waste to be disposed and stored at Kimba.

ARWA report a five-fold increase in Low Level Waste (LLW) to be disposed at Kimba, with the existing 2 490 m3 LLW intended to increase to a total of 13 287 m3 LLW over the next 100-year period all to be dumped near Kimba.

ARWA states: “The estimated volumes of ANSTO’s future Low Level Waste and Intermediate Level Waste are substantially greater than previously reported.”

ANSTO has produced over 92% of Australia’s existing total LLW Inventory.

ANSTO intend to produce over 98% of future LLW in Australia over the next 100 years.

ANSTO are responsible for over 99.5% of the radioactivity in Australia’s total LLW inventory to be dumped at Kimba.

ARWA reports only a total of 5 (five) m3 of LLW originates from non-ANSTO and non-Commonwealth agency sources

total Hospital existing and future LLW is reported at only 3 m3

total “Research and Education” sector existing and future LLW is reported at only 2 m3

Claims that a national LLW disposal facility is needed at Kimba for hospital and medical waste are false.

ANSTO are near solely responsible for plans to more than double Australia’s total Intermediate Level Wastes (ILW) inventory

ANSTO have produced and hold 96.5% of Australia’s existing ILW packaged inventory at Lucas Heights

ANSTO propose to generate 97% of future ILW in Australia over the next 50-year period

ARWA reports Australia’s total inventory of ILW including nuclear materials, existing and future wastes over the next 50-year period, is 4 377 m3, these hazardous wastes are to be transported to Kimba for indefinite above ground storage.

Hospitals are stated to hold a total of only a single m3 of existing ILW with no future ILW arising.

Nuclear materials feature ANSTO’s nuclear fuel wastes – that were described as “highly hazardous” material by ARPANSA’s inaugural CEO John Loy in evidence to an NSW Parliamentary Inquiry.

Based on ARWA’s Report, all non-ANSTO sources produce on average only approx. 1.3 m3 per year of LLW over the next 100 years and produce approx. 1.34 m3 per year of ILW over the next 50 years.

October 6, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, reference | Leave a comment

Energy Resources of Australia’s chairman, two directors, say they’ll resign after pressure from Rio Tinto and traditional owners By Daniel Fitzgerald,

The chairman and two directors of a company responsible for cleaning up a massive uranium mine on the edge of Kakadu have announced their intention to resign, following pressure from its major shareholder, Rio Tinto, and criticism from traditional owners.

Key points:

  • Energy Resources of Australia is responsible for the clean-up of Ranger uranium mine, on the edge of Kakadu
  • Its chairman and two directors have announced their intention to resign, after pressure from Rio Tinto 
  • It comes after a commissioned report suggested the company could consider developing a second uranium mine in the region

Rio Tinto on Monday publicly called for Energy Resources of Australia’s (ERA) chairman Peter Mansell to resign, four days after an independent report commissioned by the company suggested it could consider developing a second uranium mine next to Kakadu National Park.

Mirarr traditional owners have long objected to the potential mining of the ERA-owned Jabiluka uranium deposit — a position which Rio Tinto supports — and fiercely rejected the suggestion they might allow it to be mined.

Mr Mansell and two other directors not affiliated with Rio Tinto this afternoon said they would resign, “once a clear funding solution” for the cash-strapped company is arrived at.

In a statement to the ASX, ERA said the three board members would resign, “noting the requests from Rio Tinto” for Mr Mansell to consider his position.

Mine clean-up could cost $1.2 billion more than expected

ERA said the directors notified Rio Tinto of their intention to resign last week, before Rio Tinto’s public announcement.

Earlier this year, ERA estimated rehabilitation works could cost up to $1.2 billion more than expected and take workers until 2028 to complete the job — two years longer than initially planned.

Rio Tinto chief executive Australia, Kellie Parker said the company was committed to the rehabilitation of the Ranger mine “in a way that is consistent with the wishes of the Mirarr people”.

“However, given our recent dealings with the Independent Board Committee [IBC] and last week’s release of the Grant Thornton valuation report, we do not believe that can be achieved without renewal within ERA’s board,” Ms Parker said.

“There remains a strong difference of opinion between Rio Tinto and the IBC on the terms of rehabilitation funding, with the IBC’s view that successful rehabilitation could underpin potential future growth opportunities, despite the Mirarr people’s long-held opposition to further uranium mining on their country.”

Justin O’Brien, the chief executive of Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, which represents the Mirarr people, said the Commonwealth may need to step in to ensure the safe clean-up of Ranger.

“We are extremely concerned that the Commonwealth is relying on a company that has publicly announced it does not have the funds to complete the rehabilitation work,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This public stoush over whether or not ‘magical’ uranium deposits in a World Heritage listed wetland and indigenous cultural landscape should be mined is a question of national public policy.”

On June 30, ERA had $132 million cash in hand and $537 million held by the Commonwealth government in a trust fund for the Ranger rehabilitation.

Rio Tinto said while a funding solution for the rehabilitation was being agreed, the company was “progressing discussions to amend an existing $100 million credit facility to assist ERA with its management of immediate liquidity issues”.

An ERA report released in August said cost overruns on the Ranger rehabilitation “have been caused by a number of factors including complexities in technical risk management, project delays and additional scope matters involving unbudgeted costs”.

Legislation was introduced to Federal parliament last month to grant ERA an extension to its rehabilitation schedule.

October 3, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Kimba community groups need to pose these hard questions to Ministers Madeleine King and Ed Husic, and to ANSTO ARWA and ARPANSA

In order to establish fully and properly the breaches by the federal government as to its Kimba nuclear installation, community group opposing the installation proposals need to immediately send out this formal request to the various persons and organisations listed below

Formal requests for Kimba proposals:

  1. What are the earthworks being carried out or planned in connection with
    the government’s proposed nuclear waste facility
  2. Are these earthworks confined to the Napandee farm site
  3. If not what other land in the Kimba region is affected by the earthworks
  4. How much actual physical work has been carried
  5. By whom and how was this work authorised
  6. Was any licence issued by ARPANSA for his work
  7. If not and why not as is required by the guidance codes and standards of
  8. Was a progressive safety case started for these earthworks
  9. If not how was the work justified without community consultation and
  10. How have the environmental aspects of these earthworks been dealt with
  11. Have there been any environmental studies done
  12. Has the community generally been consulted on the environmental studies
    or referrals
  13. Will the community be involved by consultation as to all aspects of the
    earthworks as to the environmental implications

PLEASE immediately provide:
• the plans and other details for for the earthworks
• the environmental studies and assessments for this work
• any licences or applications for licences
• a full copy of the environmental referral

This list of requests should given to:
Hon. Madeleine King Hon. Ed Husic as the responsible ministers
The chief executive officers of ARWA ANSTO and ARPANSA
Meghan Quinn PSM as the Secretary of the Department of Industry, Science,
Energy and Resources
Andrew Metcalfe AO as the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Water
and the Environment

September 22, 2022 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Greens Senator Barbara Pocock calls on the Federal Government to suspend work on South Australian nuclear waste site

Call to suspend work on SA nuclear waste site InDaily , Stephanie Richards, 20 Sept22, The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation in December applied for judicial review in an attempt to thwart construction of the controversial radioactive waste storage facility at Napandee near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula, arguing they weren’t properly consulted before the site was selected.

Despite the active legal challenge, the Federal Court was told in June that the government had already approved plans to begin earthworks.

That prompted South Australian Greens Senator Barbara Pocock to last week write to federal Resources Minister Madeleine King asking her to commit to suspending all preparatory work and construction at the site pending the outcome of the court proceedings.

“The Barngarla people are unanimously opposed to the waste dump,” she wrote in the letter, seen by InDaily.

“The site is an important part of their culture and heritage, yet they were not consulted on the proposal.

“In light of the Barngarla opposition and lack of consultation, I write to ask that you commit to suspending all preparatory work and construction in relation to building the waste dump at Napandee, pending the outcome of the current judicial review and court proceedings underway.”

……………………….new information released by the federal government reveals it is spending three times more than Barngarla Traditional Owners fighting the project in the Federal Court.

In response to a question on notice lodged by Pocock, the government stated that between December and July, it had spent $343,457.44 on legal fees.

That compares to the approximate $124,000 spent by the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation over the same period.

The Native Title group estimates that the total cost incurred by the federal government would run into the millions.

Pocock said the disparity between the spending was “disproportionate and just unfair”.

“This is a David and Goliath case,” she said.“The spend so far shows that the government is doing all in their power to minimise the voices and traditional rights of the Barngarla people.”…………….

The Napandee site was selected by the former Morrison Government in November last year, with then Resources Minister Keith Pitt saying the government had secured “majority support” from the local community after more than “six years of consultation”.

But Barngarla Traditional Owners opposed the project and argued they were not included in the consultation.

South Australian Labor has long called for Barngarla people to have the right to veto the project, with Premier Peter Malinauskas telling ABC Radio Adelaide this morning that the state government had expressed its views to the federal government…………..

September 22, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Barngarla people say NO to a nuclear waste dump

NITV – The Point, September 18, 2022)

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

South AustralianPremier backs traditional owners in saying no to nuclear waste facility.

Above” Barngarla traditional owner, Linda Dare with the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Kyam Maher, Premier Peter Malinauskas, and Barngarla traditional owner, Daw Taylor. Picture: Jason Bilney, Chairman of Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation

Extracts Adelaide Now, 15 Sept 2022, Premier Peter Malinauskas has thrown his support behind traditional owners trying to stop a nuclear waste facility being built on Native Title land near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula. On Thursday, during the state government’s country cabinet tour, the Premier said he supported the Barngarla people who have been fighting to stop the proposed project…

Mr Malinauskas said though his government did not have the power to stop the project, he did support the Barngarla people and their cause, and would use his position to influence the Labor federal government.

“Ultimately, the nuclear waste facility is a matter for the federal government,” he said.

“However, the state government’s position is that the local Indigenous community should have the opportunity to have a veto on this proposal. “While the state government doesn’t necessarily have the legislative ability to act, the government does have the ability at a political level to raise concerns where relevant.” …

Chairman for BDAC, Jason Bilney, said it was good to see Mr Malinauskas backing the Barngarla people and hoped the federal government would do the same. …

It’s about the Statement from the Heart, truth-telling, and having a voice for First Nations people to be heard.

“It’s our country, we’ve been here for over 60,000 years and it’s about having us at the table and listening to First Nations voices, especially when we don’t want a nuclear waste dump on our country.”   

September 15, 2022 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

One legal win for Aboriginal people in South Australia gives hope to the Barngarla people who are fighting the Kimba nuclear waste dump plan

Nuclear waste site in spotlight following Barngarla court win, Traditional Owners say they fear the destruction that an accident at the waste dump could cause to Country.

By Keira Jenkins, Source: The Point,, 6 SEP 2022,

Barngarla Traditional Owners are fighting for access to a number of federal government documents regarding the proposed nuclear waste facility near Kimba, South Australia.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) and its lawyers have requested the documents that the federal government relied on to choose the 900 hectare site more than 400 kilometres north-west of Adelaide

The argument over the documents is part of a federal court challenge launched by Barngarla people.

Jason Bilney is the chair of the BDAC. He told NITV Barngarla people were not properly consulted about the facility, and were excluded from a community ballot.

“It’s very disrespectful, very hurtful to my people as a community and to my past and present Elders,” he said.

“It’s a disgrace.”

After the Supreme Court overturned authorisation to drill on South Australia’s Lake Torrens last week, Barngarla people are hopeful their fight can lead to protection for the Kimba site as well. 

Mr Bilney is joined in the fight against the facility by Lez and Dawn Taylor, who grew up in Kimba.

Standing at the site, which has been fenced off, Dawn Taylor said she’s deeply upset that nuclear waste could be stored on this Country……………………………..

Government officials didn’t talk to the Barngarla people for the study.

Barngarla Elder Harry Dare said the Traditional Owners of the Country should have been involved in this study.

“We know what’s on our Country, they choose not to let us go and have a look at that Country but we already know what’s out there,” he said.

‘I still feel strong’

But regardless of what has occurred up to this point, Jason Bilney said Barngarla people will continue to fight for their Country.

“[The government] think they’re going to put [the facility] there, they’ve still got a long drawn out process and for any government, it doesn’t look good to go against First Nations people,” he said.

“I still feel strong, I still feel proud to keep up this fight for our people, being up there and doing it for our community.

“It has taken its toll for a lot of our family. It’s sad but we’ve got to keep going.”

Barngarla woman Linda Dare said she hopes this fight means the voices of her people will be heard.

“We want them to stop what they’re doing, we want them to listen to us and hear us, take the time to sit down and listen and talk to us not disrespect us and put waste up on our Country,” she said.

September 6, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Is the Australian government aware of the human rights implications of the ill-chosen Kimba nuclear waste dump plan?

Peter Remta 3 Sept 22, Dr Marcos Orellana being the special rapporteur mandated as to the human rights
implications of toxic and nuclear waste is gravely concerned about the Australian
government’s proposals for Kimba which have been heightened by refusing his
proposed visit to Australia and the production of all appropriate documents.

In view of this I understand that he will be reporting the situation to the United Nations
Human Rights Commissioner which in turn will bring it before the full body of the United
Nations and may I add that this is being done with a view to embarrassing Australia at
the behest as I predicted of many of our Pacific islands “friendly” neighbours

What is interesting about the Kimba situation for the special rapporteur is that it does
not involve the rights of a minority group but covers the entire general community of the
region and that from information gained by him a large majority of South Australia’s
population is strongly against the federal government’s proposals for nuclear waste
management in that state.

Put bluntly this is the end of the Kimba proposal as in light of the foregoing IAEA and
other international bodies will prevent any licensing or other progress with the
government’s proposals with the appropriate public criticisms for justification.

There must be something clearly afoot as I understand that some European human
rights lawyers are already looking at possible actions within appropriate human rights
courts in Europe against the Australian government which invariably have a very low
standard of proving a successful claim.

My educated guess would be an award of €500 million against the Australian
government which again is another outgoing it can ill afford
I wonder how much of this is known by the federal government particularly at
ministerial level.

September 3, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

The Australian nuclear lobby’s embarrassing claim about Kimba nuclear dump plan and nuclear medicine.

Peter Remta 3 Sept 22, Apparently the Australian government has instructed its Geneva legation to inform both the special rapporteur and the Human Rights Commissioner’s office that any attempts to stop Kimba will lead to a disastrous world shortage of nuclear medicine which will predominantly affect third world countries including the Pacific island nations.

What a great diplomatic masterstroke!

This gets better than Days of our Lives as the latest claim is that the opponents of the Kimba proposals are being financed by the overseas competitors to ANSTO in producing nuclear medicine

ANSTO has still failed to explain that the nuclear medicine being produced by it is becoming obsolete since the medical profession worldwide is turning away from it towards cheaper and above all far safer alternatives.

One of the major failings by the government in promoting the Kimba facility is that it never explained the true and unsafe nature of reactor generated nuclear medicine to the community with former Minister Keith Pitt being the main culprit.

No wonder ANSTO is now turning towards cosmetics as its main undertaking.

September 3, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Ranger Mine uranium-contaminated waste trucked to Darwin suburb.

finding 50 kg of uranium tailings waste off-site is not a “small scale” event as claimed by ERA, and near three months for this radioactive event to make the media…

Potentially ‘deadly’ toxic waste accidentally trucked into Darwin

Energy Resources Australia is investigating how Ranger Mine toxic waste came to be transported through the Kakadu National Park and left on a truck in a Darwin suburb.

RADIOACTIVE waste has been transported through Kakadu National Park and left on a truck in Winnellie.

In June an excavator at Ranger Mine used to dig uranium tailings, was removed from the site with 50kg of mixed material still inside the vehicle.

The removal of any toxic waste is a major breach of Energy Resources Australia’s Ranger Mine rehabilitation plan as it poses a deadly contamination risk to people and the environment.

According to Energy Resources Australia the compacted waste was in a steel encased void of an excavator and not detected by radiation screening before leaving the site………………………

Supervising Scientist Keith Taylor said the breach was “regrettable” but he was confident there was no risk posed to people or the environment.

“There have been other incidents of this nature, most notably the 2004 prosecution which is of public record,” he said.

“There have been others as well but that is the most notable.”

Mr Taylor said scientists and ERA were working together to review the ‘clearance processes,’ which includes a radiation screening.

Mirarr Traditional Owners and the NLC were made aware of the incident on June 3.

In February, ERA announced the rehabilitation plan for Ranger Mine had blown out to an estimated $1.2bn.

It left the company scrambling for cash and relying heavily on its major shareholder Rio Tinto.

August 27, 2022 Posted by | - incidents, Northern Territory, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Refuting the nonsense by Sam Usher of the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency in favour of dumping nuclear waste at Kimba, South Australia

Mr Sam Usher

Chief Executive Officer

Australian Radioactive Waste Agency 

Dear Mr Usher

I am amazed at the rather unconvincing and inaccurate comments bordering to some extent on outright silliness in your letter in the Sunday Mail of 14 August 2022 regarding the safety of the proposed nuclear waste facility at Kimba 

While  you claim that it will be a highly engineered and purpose-built facility the simple fact remains that it will struggle to get the necessary licences for its construction and operations since it fails to meet the basic prescriptions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

To begin with the location chosen for the facility is completely unsuitable as it is in the heart of prime agricultural land which will undoubtedly have a devastating economic and social effect on the region 

What is more the whole environmental and geophysical setting of the Kimba region is completely inappropriate for the facility adding to the unsafe nature of the proposal

This situation will only be exacerbated by using an above the ground structure particularly with regard to the intermediate level waste which even for temporary storage should be geologically buried as the safest possible option 

Considering that you speak of our country’s national interest most of your letter is confusing in its meaningless management speak and fails to provide any proper and accurate information mainly for the local community but generally for the Australian  population 

Your mention of the regulatory aspects of the nuclear industry in Australia is simply unconvincing when despite numerous requests the federal government has failed to give the Kimba community the technical and monetary assistance so that it can have its own independent assessment of the government’s proposals 

Perhaps the most blatant failings by the federal government are that it has never developed a progressive safety case for the local community which is considered an undisputed necessity by international requirements and best practices and the persistent refusal to provide the community with the inventories of the radionuclides for the intermediate level waste intended to be stored at Kimba 

You should in your capacity be well aware that the safety case must be started when a particular location is first considered for any form of nuclear installation and must fully involve the local community at the outset on a continuing basis so that it is kept properly informed of all aspects of the installation’s development 

However the conduct and actions by the federal government in all its capacities including the so-called independent regulator in ARPANSA with regard to establishing the nuclear waste facility at Kimba are nothing short of disingenuity  tantamount to a deprivation of human rights 

Your letter stemmed from the fact that your Agency did not include any information on the transport of nuclear waste to and from Kimba in its environmental referral and study for the facility 

Unless you mean that there is radioactivity in everything on this planet then your claim that nuclear or radioactive material has been transported safely around Australia for sixty years is simply wrong  –  perhaps you should tell me where most radioactive material is currently being transported within Australia excluding the uranium mines and I will then give you my answer

If your comments are not enough I understand from a relatively reliable source that you are now pushing the federal government to refuse a visit by the UNHCR special rapporteur mandated for nuclear waste and provide him with any pertinent information

I write of course with the knowledge and experience of the Azark Project facility at Leonora which in all respects including its relationships with and support by leading international experts on nuclear waste and the design and planning of the facility which is regarded as probably the best in the world and is light years ahead of the imprecise and grossly unacceptable efforts by the federal government and its various entities including your yet to be constituted agency 

All I need to say is that you and your bureaucratic colleagues should stop playing your childish games clothed in sheer ignorance for Kimba – and in this I include ARPANSA – before you recklessly plunge its region into some nuclear disaster which will be completely beyond your competence and control

Yours sincerely 

PETER  REMTA 23 August 2022

Letter from Sam Usher Letter to the Editor Sunday Mail August 14th 2022

Nuclear Safety

I write in relation to “Alarm on nuclear waste transport” (Sunday Mail July 31st).

The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility will be highly engineered and purpose built, consistent with international best practice and Australia’s national interest.

It will safely and securely manage Australia’s radioactive waste, and protect heritage and environment during construction and operation.

There is no one application you can make to site, construct and operate the NRWMF in Australia.

Multiple applications are expected and have been prepared for across many years.

In line with this, there is an environmental application which relates to the construction, operations, decommissioning and closure stages.

The safe packaging for transport, and the routes will be assessed.

Subject to the highest of regulatory and safety standards, radioactive material has been safely transported around Australia and the world for about 60 years. The nuclear industry is, quite rightly, one of the most regulated in Australia, and we recognise and appreciate the role of regulators.

SAM USHER, Australian Radioactive Waste Agency  chief executive officer 

August 25, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Traditional owners seek documents in nuclear dump case

The Transcontinental. By Tim Dornin, August 15 2022 ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The case will return to court next week.

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

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

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

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

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

“We fought 21 years to win our native title and if we have to fight 21 years to stop this nuclear waste dump damaging our country, then we will have to do it,” he said…… more

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

How even small nuclear war would kill billions in apocalyptic famine By Mark Saunokonoko • Senior Journalist Aug 16, 2022,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Australia isn’t energy independent.

“So we would probably have shortages of fuel.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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