Archive for the ‘National’ Category

Abbott govt pretends that Friends of the Earth supports nuclear power

September 29, 2014

to Energy White Paper Taskforce
Department of Industry ,

from D Jim Green

The White Paper misrepresents Friends of the Earth in relation to nuclear power and I am seeking immediate clarification on a couple of points.

The WP states: “However, the relative safety of nuclear power is reflected in a 2013 study commissioned by Friends of the Earth, which concluded that, “overall the safety risks associated with nuclear power appear to be more in line with lifecycle impacts from renewable energy technologies, and significantly lower than for coal and natural gas per MWh of supplied energy.”


text-half-truthQuestion 1:
Why does the WP not specify that the study was commissioned by Friends of the Earth UK?

Question 2: Why does the WP fail to note that the commissioned paper raised multiple objections to nuclear power, and that FoE UK retained its anti-nuclear policies as a result of the review process, e.g. from the article below  ‘The non-nuclear energy pathway that Friends of the Earth advocates is credible …’
http://www.foe.co.uk/news/nuclear_40884

Please provide immediate answers to the above questions since the misrepresentation is a matter of great concern.

Please also advise if the Department or the Minister will immediately issue a media release correcting the mirepresentation. Alternatively, will the Department put a note on the relevant webpage noting that the WP fails to specify that the Friends of the Earth group in question is FoE UK and that FoE UK retained its anti-nuclear policies as a result of the review process.

Jim Green
——————————————–
Jim Green B.Med.Sci.(Hons.), PhD
National nuclear campaigner – Friends of the Earth, Australia

Dear Dr Green

Thank you for your email to the Energy White Paper Taskforce regarding the citation of the Tyndall Centre report.

To clarify, the paper released is the interim Green Paper, which is the basis for consultation on policy issues. Submissions received until 4 November will help inform the development of the Energy White Paper.  We expect to release the Energy White Paper later this year.

On the referencing of the report, we note that the quotation is accurate, and the footnote referencing provides enough detail to clarify that the report is based on a UK analysis, and allows for easy access to the online report in full, including the report origins and relevant disclaimers, as would be normal practice.

We acknowledge your preference that the report be linked to Friends of the Earth UK more explicitly in text, rather than through accessing the commissioning and disclaimer detail of the report itself. Given that concern, should the reference be used in the Energy White Paper, we will ensure that the body of our text includes the distinction. We would appreciate your guidance as to whether the preference is to use UK, or the full ‘England, Wales and Northern Ireland’ as per the report cover.

Regards

Energy White Paper Taskforce
Department of Industry

GPO Box 9839, Canberra ACT 2601
Email: ewp@industry.gov.au
Internet: www.ewp.industry.gov.au

Abbott govt still keen for nuclear power, as their White Paper shows

September 29, 2014
Energy White Paper
Green Paper 2014
to inform preparation of a White Paper

Attachment 3: Nuclear energy issues p. 71 ………– In 2013, the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics found that, over the projection period to 2050,  nuclear remains cost-competitive with both renewable and non-renewable technologies on a levelised cost of energy basis. …….

The IAEA Nuclear Safety Action Plan, endorsed  unanimously in September 2011 by the IAEA’s member states, defines a programme of work to strengthen the global nuclear safety framework.
Nuclear power plants are also designed to be safe in their operation and resilient to any malfunction or
accident. The nuclear power industry globally has been developing and improving reactor technology for
more than five decades. Advanced reactors now being built have simpler designs, which reduce capital
cost, are more fuel-efficient, and inherently safer. Generation III+, III++ and IV full-scale reactors, and
Small Modular Reactors currently under development, incorporate passive safety features that require no
active controls or operational intervention to avoid accidents in the event of malfunction, and may
instead rely on gravity, natural convection, or resistance to high temperatures.
SMRs Australia
At all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle, individuals, society and the environment must be adequately
protected against radiological hazards. For radioactive waste, these obligations are underpinned in the
Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste
Management, to which Australia is a signatory…….
There is a worldwide consensus amongst technical experts that spent fuel and high level waste can be
appropriately disposed of in deep geological repositories. Finland and Sweden are leading the way with
this work and have made significant progress towards opening their deep geological repositories.
A full spent fuel / high level waste strategy should be included as part of any consideration for nuclear
power or fuel generation.
Non-proliferation
Australia is a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which aims to
prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to foster the peaceful uses of nuclear
energy, and to further the goal of disarmament. The Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office
regulates physical protection and IAEA safeguards requirements on nuclear material, equipment, and
activities in Australia.
The non-proliferation regime has been remarkably successful and has helped to slow proliferation……http://www.ewp.industry.gov.au/sites/prod2.ewp.industry.gov.au/files/egp/energy_green_paper.pdf

Tony Abbot unaware? or in denial over India’s unsafe nuclear power system

September 9, 2014
India-uranium1Despite assurances of ‘peaceful purposes’, a uranium export deal between Australia and India has serious nuclear security implications. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/09/09/comment-old-mistakes-new-delhi-australian-irresponsibility-and-indian-uraniumBy Dave Sweeney 9 SEP 2014 
The recent Australian uranium sales deal with India is a further slide in a radioactive race to the bottom that reflects a disturbing retreat from reason and responsibility. During his time in India Tony Abbott repeatedly said that India has an ‘impeccable’ military nuclear non-proliferation record and repeatedly refused to answer questions about serious deficiencies in India’s civil nuclear sector.

In the absence of evidence Mr Abbott was reduced to white flannelled cliché declaring that Australia and India trust each other on issues like uranium safeguards because of ‘the fundamentally ethical principle that every cricketer is supposed to assimilate – play by the rules and accept the umpire’s decision’. Seriously.

Despite assurances of ‘peaceful purposes’, this deal has serious nuclear security implications. Even if all goes well, and in the shadow of Fukushima that is a big assumption, it will free up India’s domestic uranium stocks for military use and do nothing to advance Indian non-proliferation or reduce the continuing tension with nuclear rival Pakistan.

The sale of uranium to India, a nuclear armed nation that is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nor subject to full international nuclear safeguards but is engaged in an active nuclear weapons expansion program, is also in direct conflict with Australia’s obligations under the South Pacific Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty.

While the new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is intent on expanding India’s civil and military nuclear ambitions, large question marks remain over the adequacy of safety and security arrangements covering India’s nuclear sector. In 2012 the Indian Auditor General released a damning report warning of a ‘Fukushima or Chernobyl-like disaster if the nuclear safety issue is not addressed’.

This frank assessment came from India’s own senior officials. Fast forward to 2014 and the issues identified by the Auditor General have not been addressed and there is no certainty they ever will be. The safety of India’s nuclear reactors remains shaky, the sectors regulation and governance deficient and the costs of errors extraordinary.

Tony Abbott’s visit to India came hot on the heels of an Australian visit from the former Japanese PM Naoto Kan, who was in Australia visiting Aboriginal people affected by uranium mining in the NT and taking his story directly to Canberra.

Mr Kan was Prime Minister in the early days of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a continuing crisis directly fuelled by Australian uranium. As the man tasked with overseeing the fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster and deciding whether to evacuate twenty five million people from greater Tokyo Mr Kan’s message was clear: Australia and world needs to “reduce dependence on nuclear power” and fully embrace renewables.

In the context of the Indian sales deal Mr Kan’s comments have great significance. If Japan, the world’s third largest economy and a nation steeped in technology and systems could not control the atomic genie, it bodes poorly for the application of this technology in other countries. With Australia’s renewable energy expertise and resources we would be superbly placed to keep Indian village lights on while ensuring the Geiger counter stays off.

Along with Mr Kan’s cautionary tale, another of Australia’s controversial uranium customers is providing a stark lesson in the need for prudence with uranium sales. Speaking at a patriotic youth camp near Moscow recently Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted that Russia remains one of the largest nuclear powers in the world, stating: “I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers….Russia’s partners … should understand it’s best not to mess with us.”

In the shadow of Fukushima instead of opening up new uranium sales in increasingly insecure and conflict-prone regions we should tread more carefully with our uranium supplies.

Uranium is not just another mineral. It fuels nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons and it all becomes nuclear waste. As home to around a third of the worlds’ uranium supply Australia’s decisions matter and this is an important moment to comprehensively re-consider the domestic and international costs and consequences of our uranium sales.

Tony Abbott has no excuse or mandate to put the promise of small time corporate profit ahead of the reality of severe and sustained human and environmental radioactive risk.

It’s just not cricket.

Dave Sweeney is the nuclear free campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation.

No media coverage in Australia of the uranium mining dilemma in Greenland

August 25, 2014

the people of Greenland are “split down the middle regarding the repeal of the ban.”

Hooge explains that the “mineral authorities” have fed the public disinformation over the last years but the tide may be turning, with growing concerns over environmental effects and the leftist party Inuit Ataqatigiit pledging to roll back the repeal if it wins back power.

The prospect of a relatively unknown Australian company exploiting massive untapped resources in Greenland deserves a robust public and political debate. It has thus far received nothing in Australia, and little in Denmark and Greenland.

In an age of worsening climate change, mining uranium is an arguably unsafe and potentially explosive answer to the problem

Australian uranium mining in Greenland is tearing the country in half jagadees.wordpress.com August 23, 2014 Antony Loewenstein. source theecologist.org

This is a story about an Australian company you’ve never heard of, operating in a nation that rarely enters the global media: Greenland. It’s a story about the intense search for energy sources in a world that’s moving away from the dirtiest fossil fuels.

Aleqa Hammond, the prime minister of Greenland, is the first woman to lead this autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark. She also welcomes the financial opportunities from climate change and a melting Arctic Circle……..

In October last year, Hammond pushed legislation through Greenland’s parliament to overturn a 25 year old ban on the extraction of radioactive materials, including uranium, despite countless leading environmental NGOs urging otherwise.

It attracted global interest from the rare earth and uranium industries, including from China. Concerns were also raised about Greenland’s ability to manage a toxic substance in the wake of Fukushima and Chernobyl.

The company Greenland Minerals and Energy Limited (GMEL) is based in Perth, Western Australia. This year GMEL announced a major step forward in their plan to open one of the world’s largest uranium mines in southern Greenland, at Kvanefjeld, near Narsaq. The mine will also produce fluoride, thorium and other rare earths.

There is still significant opposition to the Kvanefjeld project. The Ecological Council, a Danish NGO, organised a conference to discuss the potential contamination risks in March, noting that the mine poses serious risks for the inhabitants of the nearby village, Narsaq.

Many locals told the BBC that they worried about pollution and challenges to traditional ways of life if GMEL moved ahead with its plans.

Unsurprisingly, Danish green groups have pushed for a continued ban on uranium mining. They claim that rare earth elements can be extracted without uranium mining in Greenland.

Who owns GMEL? (more…)

Australia’s uranium deal with India will upset stability of the South Asian region.

August 22, 2014

Seen from the perspective of adherence to non-proliferation norms and commitments If Australia exports uranium to India, Australia would violate its obligations of the Treaty of Rarotonga, which binds it from not indulging in such trade. Article 4 of the Rarotonga Treaty requires India to comply with safeguards requirements of Article III(1) of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Article III(1) of the NPT is about reaching a comprehensive safeguards agreement with IAEA. Instead, India has only acknowledged safeguards on certain foreign-supplied reactors and facilities. India’s safeguards agreement is based upon the IAEA’s ‘facility specific’ safeguards.

Australian uranium sale to India will be subjected to weak monitoring safeguards or ‘facility specific’ of IAEA, contrary to nuclear deals Australia has with other countries

AUSTRALIAN PROSPECTIVE NUCLEAR TRADE WITH INDIA – THE CONTROVERSYhttp://www.eurasiareview.com/21082014-australian-prospective-nuclear-trade-india-controversy/AUGUST 21, 2014   BY 

 Australia is expected to sign a civil nuclear agreement with India during the visit of Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott early next month. Negotiations have been concluded to smooth the path for uranium imports from Australia. The news came out when hundreds of thousands of Indian men and women have protested against the expanding nuclear industry.

These protests have been a regular feature in Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu), Jaitapur (Maharashtra) and Gorakhpur (Haryana) and at least five activists have lost their lives since 2010 in their struggle against the Indian government’s decision without taking the affected parties on board. Radioactive waste from uranium mining in the country’s east is reportedly affecting adjacent communities. Thousands of Indians suffer from the effects of uranium mining as related to poor technical and management practices.

Australia controls the planet’s largest known uranium reserves. Uranium is a controversial and debatable subject in Canberra, because it can be used both for civil and military purposes. Australia had previously cancelled plans to sell uranium to India as it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it was Indo- US nuclear deal which paved the way for the ban’s lifting.

The move of lifting the ban came despite a parliamentary report on nuclear safety regulation in India had emphasized grave nuclear safety concerns and organizational flaws comparable international norms. India’s auditor general in this report has designated the country’s nuclear industry as insecure, disordered and in many cases, unregulated. The report underlined the fact that there is no national policy on nuclear and radiation safety after almost 30 years and is not much ardent to adopt world standards and best practices.

It is an unpredictable and unjustified security situation into which Australia is selling uranium. Australian government’s idea to sell uranium to India was strongly criticized by the Australians but the government seems inclined to disregard it. Analysts in Australia are opposing the Uranium sale without preconditions and any meaningful concessions from India, like Indian ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and stopping the production of nuclear bomb making material.

Seen from the perspective of adherence to non-proliferation norms and commitments If Australia exports uranium to India, Australia would violate its obligations of the Treaty of Rarotonga, which binds it from not indulging in such trade. Article 4 of the Rarotonga Treaty requires India to comply with safeguards requirements of Article III(1) of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Article III(1) of the NPT is about reaching a comprehensive safeguards agreement with IAEA. Instead, India has only acknowledged safeguards on certain foreign-supplied reactors and facilities. India’s safeguards agreement is based upon the IAEA’s ‘facility specific’ safeguards.

Australian uranium sale to India will be subjected to weak monitoring safeguards or ‘facility specific’ of IAEA, contrary to nuclear deals Australia has with other countries.Andrew Davies from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute highlighted IAEA’s inability to screen exactly where uranium sent to India from Australia if comprehensive monitoring safeguards are not applied. “For example, if 100 tones go into a civilian nuclear program and 90 tons of products come out, they don’t know where the missing product was diverted from,” he convincingly argues.

A defense research group, IHS Jane’s has revealed that India is increasing its uranium facility that could support the expansion of nuclear weapons. India is trying to buy foreign sources of uranium so she can use its domestic reserves for a nuclear arms race with Pakistan. India is expanding its nuclear power programme to use its own uranium for the production of more nuclear weapons. Adding Australian uranium into India’s energy mix would have serious fall outs on prevailing strained relations between India and its nuclear-armed neighbors. Can Australia trust India to not use Australian uranium for weapons manufacture?

Non-proliferation is a top agenda item when it comes to Pakistan, Iran or North Korea, but it is an inoperable standard when it is India or Israel. The commencement of nuclear trade with India – first by Washington in 2008 and currently by Canberra – has immense repercussions. It will profoundly upset the proliferation equation for other countries in the region. India-Australia nuclear deal will aggravate India-Pakistan nuclear rivalry and exacerbate Pakistan’s security dilemma. Both countries have nuclear weapons, so this commitment by Aussies will no doubt intensify the India-Pakistan tensions. Nuclear trade with India will profoundly upset strategic stability of the South Asian region.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion works for miners, not Aborigines

August 20, 2014
handsoffNothing for Aborigines in Scullion’s manoeuvres ALISON ANDERSON THE AUSTRALIAN AUGUST 20, 2014 
  THERE is a lack of mystery about the machinations of Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion in his drive to devolve power to smaller local land councils and Aboriginal corporations. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, he pretends to be one of us, out to provide power to the people. But he is not one of us — he is out for blood, the blood of the Northern and Central land councils. In reality, his proposed power shift will benefit only the minister, the Country Liberal Party in the Northern Territory and their friends in mining, gas and agriculture.

By removing powers from the statutory authorities of the land councils, Scullion will undermine the collective authority of traditional owners over huge tracts of land. This collective ownership is the Aboriginal way; Tjukurrpa defines our relationships with the land. These relationships will be diminished by the government attitude of divide and conquer.

Perhaps it is an easy sales pitch to the mainstream world, to claim that we, remote Aboriginal people, are holding ourselves back. Or to claim that there will be no progress unless we are split into smaller, more containable, groups. Why? Because smaller numbers are easier to buy off? Because the lack of an independent Environment Protection Authority or an independent Development Consent Authority in the Territory means that this is the prime time to rape and pillage the land, before anyone looks too closely?

For Aboriginal people, the value of our land is deeper than a simple market value. It is a lasting legacy for our families. That does not mean that no development is warranted, but it needs to be on our terms. The land has to last us forever, not just for a brief boom-and-bust cycle that mostly benefits people from elsewhere.

Disassembling the collective authority over our land will not drive development. ……..

If the white knights want to ride in from distant lands and heroically try to save us from ourselves, why don’t they start by offering our children access to a real education? Nothing more, nothing less. The chance for our children to compete with any other children across Australia. Without this step in remote communities, no other development will be sustainable or meaningful.

After years of skimming commonwealth funds earmarked to ameliorate Aboriginal disadvantage, the source is finally drying up. The Territory government is close to the precipice of economic stagnation. Now the government must try to leverage Aboriginal lands in a squalid bid to attract corporate money to the Territory. It is a strategy doomed to failure.

Uninspiring catchphrases such as “Creating Parity” and “Developing the North” cannot become a reality without the participation of Aboriginal people. The economic wealth of the Territory depends on Aboriginal participation, including that of Aboriginal lands. That responsibility is not one that we will give up lightly under pressure from the commonwealth, the Territory or vested interests.

The governments of the day have made their motivations clear. They fear the collective power of Aboriginal people. They fear the power of the very statutory authorities that they created. But they do not speak with us and they definitely do not speak for us. We will have the last word.

Alison Anderson is the member for Namatjira in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/nothing-for-aborigines-in-scullions-manoeuvres/story-e6frg6zo-1227029853648

Trouble in Tony’s Liberal camp: many want to keep Renewable Energy Target

August 20, 2014

Coalition battle looms over new Renewable Energy Target THE AUSTRALIAN SID MAHER AUGUST 19, 2014 

A BRUISING battle looms within the Coalition over the extent of cuts to the Renewable Energy Target as clean energy companies warn any weakening of the policy will cause projects to collapse and undermine international investor confidence in Australia.

A review of the RET headed by businessman Dick Warburton has been handed to Tony Abbott, igniting internal jockeying over the future of the policy, ahead of a decision expected within weeks.

Some senior members of the government want to scrap it completely while Environment Minister Greg Hunt and 25 backbenchers support reducing the target to a “true 20 per cent’’, which would see the large-scale scheme rolled back from its current 41,000GWh to about 25,000GWh.

Supporters of a “true 20 per cent’’ told The Australian yesterday abandoning the policy would amount to breaking an election promise and would risk a Senate stalemate that would entrench the current target.

With no legislative partner, the Prime Minister would be left in the same position as with his attempt to change Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, and be unable to act.

Labor environment spokesman Mark Butler, Greens leader Christine Milne and Clive Palmer yesterday ruled out allowing any weakening of the 41,000GWh target…….

Victorian Liberal backbencher Sarah Henderson also spoke out in support of maintaining the RET. “The RET is so important for local jobs and for regional prosperity. As a strong supporter of renewable energy, I will continue my campaign to ensure the RET remains in place,’’ Ms Henderson said.

Opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen said apparent intentions to wind back the RET represented a sovereign risk.

“We have $11 billion of investment in renewable energy based on clear government policy, a policy which had been bipartisan, and we see the government floating, walking away from that target. That creates sovereign risk for Australia’s investors,’’ he said.  http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/coalition-battle-looms-over-new-renewable-energy-target/story-fn59niix-1227028613526

Australia breaching international agreements in uranium deal with India?

August 19, 2014

India-uranium119 Aug 14  News that Australian officials have concluded a deal to sell uranium to India raises concerns the federal government may have violated its international nuclear non-proliferation obligations, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

“India’s nuclear industry has many continuing and unresolved safety and security problems,” said ACF’s nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“In 2012 the Indian Auditor General released a damning report warning of ‘a Fukushima or Chernobyl-like disaster if the nuclear safety issue is not addressed’.

“ACF is concerned a uranium export deal with India would violate the 1995 nuclear non-proliferation (NPT) Review and Extension Conference commitment to require full-scope safeguards as a condition of supply, and Article IV of the Treaty of Rarotonga – the South Pacific Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty – which obliges signatories to not supply equipment or material to countries not under full scope safeguards.  India is not under full scope safeguards.”

The former head of the national security advisory board in India, K. Subrahmanyam, said in 2005: ‘Given India’s uranium ore crunch and the need to build up our … nuclear deterrent arsenal as fast as possible, it is to India’s advantage to categorise as many power reactors as possible as civilian ones to be refuelled by imported uranium and conserve our native uranium fuel for weapons-grade plutonium production’.

“Clearly, Australian uranium would boost India’s nuclear weapons capacity,” Dave Sweeney said.

“Australian uranium in India will free up India’s uranium stockpiles to be used in its nuclear weapons program.

“Australian uranium is definitely fuelling radioactive waste and risk.  It is also potentially fuelling the spread of nuclear weapons.  Neither is desirable or acceptable.

“Before PM Tony Abbott inks a deal with New Delhi, the federal government must show that any bilateral agreement requires India to take measureable disarmament actions and does not breach international agreements to which Australia is a party.” For context and comment contact: Dave Sweeney, 0408 317 812

 

Australia’s uranium to India- a dangerous deal that could still be halted

August 18, 2014

 Scott Ludlam Greens spokesperson for Nuclear Senator for WA S  August 18, 2014 Australia will be directly complicit in fuelling the nuclear arms-race between India and Pakistan if reports are confirmed that a uranium deal with India is on the cards.

Prime Minister Abbott seems set to continue his high-profile series of international gaffes, missteps and humiliations, this one for the sole benefit of the mortally wounded uranium sector.

India’s scandal-prone nuclear industry has been plagued with accidents and near-misses at reactor sites; events including fires, floods, partial reactor collapses and more recently the construction of two Russian-designed plants in the tsunami-zone in the south of Tamil Nadu.

  1. Subrahmanyam, former head of the National Security Advisory Board in India, said: ‘it is to India’s advantage to categorise as many power reactors as possible as civilian ones to be refuelled by imported uranium and conserve our native uranium fuel for weapons-grade plutonium production’.

India first produced weapons-grade plutonium from a Canadian-supplied reactor it pledged to use only for ‘peaceful purposes’. Instead of fuelling this arms race, Australian industry should be partnering with India’s vibrant solar sector

India-uranium1

Australian govt still plans to dump radioactive trash on Aboriginal land, still pretends nuclear reactor is “medical”

August 18, 2014

a-cat-CANNote that the Australian government has learned nothing from the Muckaty experience.  They will still try to barter with Aboriginal communities  – with decent living conditions as most Australians have now offered in  exchange for radioactive trash dumping on Aboriginal land land.

Note that the government is still lying about the main purpose of the Lucas heights nuclear reactor –  pretending that the tacked-on nuclear medicine facility is the main thing.

That’s nonsense – the Lucas Heights reactor was set up originally in 1958 as the precursor to nuclear weapons and nuclear power for Australia.  Medical radionuclides can be obtained without a nuclear reactor.


Australian authorities are searching for a site to store 14 tonnes of nuclear waste heading from overseas http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/australian-authorities-are-searching-for-a-site-to-store-14-tonnes-of-nuclear-waste-heading-from-overseas/story-fni0fiyv-1227027497896 
 ELLEN WHINNETT NATIONAL POLITICAL EDITOR HERALD SUN AUGUST 18, 2014 A NATIONWIDE hunt is under way to find somewhere to store 28 containers of ­nuclear waste due to return to Australian shores by the end of next year.

The Federal Government is searching for a suitable site to permanently house the waste, which will be shipped back to Australia from France and the UK by the end of 2015.

The hunt follows the collapse in June of an agreement to store the waste on Aboriginal land at remote Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory.

The six cubic metres of treated waste will be held in stainless steel containers, which will weigh up to ­14 tonnes. The containers will be returned to Australia in a purpose-built storage container about a third the size of a shipping container.

The Government is seeking a remote site which has low rainfall and is geologically ­stable, and has identified Central Australia as potentially the most suitable region. Tens of millions of dollars could be expected to be paid to any community that agrees to house the waste on their land.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said the Government was looking for sites submitted by landowners.

He said several land councils in Central Australia had been invited to consider nominating a site. A national tender will be held if no site is nominated by the Northern Land Council or Central Land Council by September 30.

The Commonwealth Government owns land at ­Woomera, in outback South Australia, and has been considering it as a potential site for a nuclear waste dump since the Howard government.

“The Government is committed to ensuring Australia has an appropriate facility for the management of radio­active waste created within Australia, largely as a result of nuclear medicine production,’’ Mr Macfarlane said.

The waste was created by the now-defunct HIFAR and Moata nuclear reactors which operated at the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney.

Under international agreements in the 1990s, Australia shipped the waste offshore to countries with more experience managing nuclear waste, including France, the UK and the US, for processing and storage. These countries reprocessed the waste, removing further radioactive materials from it before storing it.

The move has put pressure on the Government to find a permanent site to house the waste, and a further six drums of technological waste, generated during the reprocessing of our spent fuel.

French law does not permit the Australian waste to be held beyond 2015 and the Australian Government is not aware of any mechanism under which it could delay the return of the waste.


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