Wasting Time?  International lessons for managing Australia’s radioactive waste: Anna Niepraschk

Submission Appendix Anna Niepraschk   Wasting Time?  International lessons for managing Australia’s radioactive waste, Anica Niepraschk Discussion Paper July 2015 from https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Economics/Wastemanagementfacility/Submissions

In her paper Wasting time? International lessons for managing Australia’s radioactive waste, researcher Anica Niepraschk looks at how other countries  have approached this challenge and what lessons might help Australia move away from a search for an ‘out of sight –out of mind’ dump site in favour of a responsible and effective management regime

Overview: For over two decades successive Australian governments have floundered when faced with how best to handle Australia’s radioactive waste.  They consistently tried – and consistently failed to impose a!national dump site on unwilling communities in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Now the federal government has a revised approached based on a foundation principle of volunteerism. Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has called for  nominations from around the country and is soon to release a short=list of  possible sites where Australia’s low level waste can be buried and longer=lived  material stored above ground.

1 Introduction

Finding technically, geologically and socially accepted sites for the storage or disposal of all forms of radioactive wastes has proven an international challenge for decades. Many countries have chosen to engage in various voluntary siting processes after having failed to site facilities on solely technical and/or political grounds due to community opposition and public contest. Australia is the most recent country to develop a voluntary approach after the failure of earlier approaches to realise a site.

For two decades Australia has been trying to find a solution to the disposal and storage of its low and intermediate-level radioactive waste (LILW). Attempts to impose a national repository on communities in South Australia (from 1998 to 2004) and subsequently the Northern Territory (2005 to 2014) have failed amid Federal Court trials, leaving the Australian government needing to engage in a different approach to the challenge of siting a repository.Continue reading 

April 30, 2018 Posted by  | AUSTRALIA – NATIONALFederal nuclear waste dumpLeave a comment Edit

Contradictions and problems in the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce process

Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia, Submission 29 – Extract from Attachment 1 Anica Niepraschk 

Arising challenges

Even though the current process is still in its early stages, it already either faces new challenges or has not yet dealt with older ones. Despite repeated calls by civil society organisations for an independent Inquiry into the full range of radioactive waste management options available, the government has instead continued its preferred option of a centralised radioactive waste facility. This leaves the current process vulnerable to criticism that the waste should remain at the sites where it is produced rather than being transported long distances through Australia, posing the risks of accidents on the way and the risk of an out of sight – out of mind approach in a remote area far away from expert oversight.

A continuing concern remains the federal government’s perception of urgency to solve the siting challenge, which is used as a justification for avoiding a more time consuming approach based on extensive consultation and consensus. Other countries have recognised that the provision of realistic timeframes is an essential condition in successful siting processes. The Australian government, despite the last 20 years of unsuccessful, rushed and pressured approaches, has again chosen to be bound by a rigid and self-imposed timeframe, trying to resolve the siting in around 18 months.

The current National Radioactive Waste Management Act (2012) is democratically compromised, as it provides for key legislation to safeguard cultural heritage and the environment as well as state legislation to be overridden in order to declare a site. SA, WA, Victoria and the NT all have state legislation in place prohibiting the storage or even transportation of radioactive waste from outside the state or territory. The federal government’s call for all Australian landowners to consider making a site nomination has failed to address this conflict of undermining existing laws and a ‘voluntary’ process………   https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Economics/Wastemanagementfacility/Submissions

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