Lucas Heights nuclear trash to South Australia – the nuclear industry’s foot in the door

Anti-Nuclear Coalition South Australia    antinuclearcoalition@gmail.com 24 Jan 18 The Federal Government proposes to establish a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility in SA.  This ‘repository’ would co-locate:

  1. Various low-level and hazardous but short lived intermediate level wastes requiring isolation for 300 years in a shallow ground repository.
  2. An above-ground store designed to operate for 100 years to house used reactor fuel from Lucas Heights. This intermediate-level long-lived waste requires isolation from the environment for over 10,000 years.         

No plans have been made available for structures or maintenance for the first 100 years of this above-ground store.  Plans for the ensuing 10,000 years are unavailable.

There are no plans available to establish a ‘permanent’ solution for this waste.  It is not currently known how to safely store such higher level nuclear waste in isolation from the environment for such a long period of  time.

Nuclear waste is currently stored at Lucas Heights where it is securely monitored.

Lucas Height’s ‘Interim Waste Store” has been identified by ANSTO as capable of safely storing reprocessed nuclear fuel waste and intermediate-level waste has been stored at Lucas Heights since the 1950s.  Lucas Heights has been identified as the best resourced and secure facility to responsibly manage the extended storage of Australia’s nuclear waste.

A national radioactive waste dump could be used as a “foot in the door” to establish an International Radioactive Waste dump at the same site or another site in the future.  This was advocated as an objective by state Liberal Party adviser Richard Yeeles who advised that  “…as a first step in such further development, the

S A Govt. offers to host a national facility for storage and disposal of Australia’s own low and intermediate-level radioactive waste with the ultimate aim of securing Federal Govt. support for hosting an international radioactive waste management facility in SA.”

Although plans for an international waste dump in SA have been rejected by the public at this time advocates for an international waste dump and the nuclear industry continue to lobby and work towards the establishment of such a dump.  If a national waste dump was established with higher-level radioactive waste stored above ground at the same site, pressure could be brought to bear to establish a deep-level below ground facility to store both this waste and international radioactive waste from overseas.

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