Stability of planned nuclear dump: Paul Langley’s response to #NuclearCommissionSAust

Scarce blah

Response to the Tentative Findings of the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission A Submission by Paul Langley Nuclear Exhaust 16 Mar 16 “……….Response to Tentative Finding 74……….

Nuclear adventurism invariably claims to be acting in order to “save the world” from one thing or another.

In my final statement I shall remind the Royal Commission of alternatives to the current proposal. A nuclear dump on Eyre Peninsular or anywhere else will not save this planet from anything, and will impose risk upon populations.

Stability   The Royal Commission tentatively finds that the Gawler Craton is stable. The Royal Commission says nothing about the stability of the climate that impacts it and which will impact it in the near future. I choose not to compare SA with lands of snow and glaciers, such as Sweden and Finland. I choose a much more relevant place:

“….even in extremely arid climates such as the Yucca Mountain site, hydrologic interaction is the most prevalent [risk]. It is the primary mechanism of which contamination can occur, and is the most prevalent consequence to other risks discussed…..”

I shall show that the US concern regarding sudden climate change – including extreme rain events – and the impact of this upon arid area HLNW Repositories is much more relevant to Australian scenario than the Swedish and Finnish concerns. …….The risks posed by sudden climate change and increasing extreme weather events include possible flood events on Eyre Peninsular. This is a section of the Gawler Craton that contains no rivers (Source: SA Water Corp). Like Yucca Mountain, Eyre Peninsular appears to be internally drained……..

Contrary to the implications of the written material made available by the Royal Commission, the Swedish and Finnish models do not provide South Australians with a moral precedent or imperative for accepting the nuclear waste generated by the rest of the world.   Rather, both nations conform to the principle of clearing up one’s own mess as best one can. Importing the mess of other nations would, it seems to me, be an anathema to both nations. On one hand the Royal Commission implores us to copy Sweden and Finland. On the other hand, both those nations say no in law to what the Royal Commission is proposing and recommending.

However, no doubt, both nations would happily sell their means and methods to South Australians. The cost of this sale has not been made available by the Royal Commission as far as I am aware. No doubt royalties due to Swedish and Finnish patent licenses would apply………

The Swedish nuclear authorities were given from 1977 until 2020 to consider the mandatory HLNW geologic waste dump by the people of Sweden. That’s Forty Three years.

How is it that the people of South Australia have been given only from 2016 to 2020 to consider the same issue? A mere Four years? The people of Sweden were time generous to the nuclear industry. That same industry now attempts to railroad us into a “fast buck for them” solution……

The Royal Commission has not disclosed whether the HLNW geologic repository/dump will be hot or cold. Will it be flooded with ground water as the Swedes intend for theirs?…………

Where is the groundwater coming from if in SA the repository is to be flooded as proposed by the Swedish text quoted above? Where will the ground water subsequently move to from the repository? Is there in fact any basis for an unthinking acceptance of the Swedish solution in South Australia? How wheat and mutton is produced above the deep, geologic Scandinavian nuclear sewers?   Do they wish they did not have the problem at all? Yes, but sadly they do have the problem. They may have solved their problem. Is their solution to become our problem? Given we do not share much with them, either in environmental type, chemistry or need………

Tentative Finding 78

parts a – c state: “For the management of used fuel and intermediate level wastes, South Australia has a unique combination of attributes which offer a safe, long-term capability for the disposal of used fuel. They include: the underlying Archaean geological structure, the Gawler Craton, at an appropriate depth for disposal. low levels of seismic activity overall and, in some parts, very low levels relative to elsewhere in the world. an arid environment in many parts of the state.”

The Gawler Craton

The Royal Commission does not provide a map that defines the area covered by the Gawler Craton. ……There are many maps showing the Gawler Craton and most of them vary radically from one another…..

The Royal Commission cannot consider the actual location of the HLNW geologic repository, other than to inform that it will be located within the Gawler Craton. While advocating for the repository, the Royal Commission cannot apparently consider Southern groundwater chemistry as compared to Swedish or Finnish groundwater chemistry or any other technical factor. The only technical data it cites in its tentative findings are promotional statements.

The Gawler Craton appears to be very big. I am familiar with some geologic events of the recent past that indicate not all places located over the Craton are “stable” in the common sense.

I refer to the Bight Basin and in particular to the Ceduna Sub Basin of the Bight Basin.

What are the hydrologic and other dynamics of the Gawler Craton? How well is it understood by modern Geology?

“Owing to sparse outcrop, the geology of the Gawler Craton is relatively poorly understood, and its boundaries are entirely subsurface, being interpreted from total magnetic intensity and gravity data combined with outcrop and drillhole information (Schwarz et al., 2006)”. Source: “Geodynamic Synthesis of the Gawler Craton and Curnamona Province” Edited by N.Kositcin, GEOSCIENCE AUSTRALIA record 2010/27, Australian Government, at……

There is evidence of instability within the Ceduna Sub Basin……..

The proposed HLNW geologic repository may be (or may not be) flooded with ground water after completion – as part of the design criteria. I have to ask how such a repository might impact occupants of the Peninsular.

“Agriculture, aquaculture, tourism and mining industries, all reliant on sustainable natural resources, contribute over $2.5 billion to the economy in an average year.  Despite low rainfall and low soil fertility, around 45% of SA’s wheat and 20% of SA’s barley harvest come from the Eyre Peninsula. In addition, the region contributes 45% of the state’s seafood harvest.  Some 95% of farms are broad acre, of which 85% depend on grain growing alone, or a mix of grain and livestock farming. Given all this, the Eyre Peninsula is extremely vulnerable to a hotter, dryer future.” Source: “Effective Adaptation Policy Making: A case study from the Eyre Peninsula” National Climate Change Adaption Research Facility, at


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