Archive for the ‘wastes’ Category

Friends of the Earth condemns shameful Radioactive Waste Management Bill, offers positive alternatives

May 29, 2020
the Bill “would enable native title to be extinguished, without the consent of the traditional owners”
Long-lived intermediate-level waste: Measured by radioactivity, long-lived intermediate level waste currently stored at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights site in NSW accounts for an overwhelming majority (>90%) of the waste destined for the nuclear waste facility in SA.

Friends of the Earth,. to Senate Committee on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions] Submission 54 

The National Radioactive Waste Management (NRWM) Amendment Bill is deeply flawed and should be rejected. Further, the existing Act is deeply flawed and should be repealed.

The proposal to proceed with the nuclear waste facility despite the unanimous opposition of the Barngarla Traditional Owners is unconscionable and must not be allowed to stand. Shamefully, the federal government excluded Barngarla Traditional Owners from a ‘community ballot’ held in 2019. Therefore the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation initiated a separate, confidential postal survey of Traditional Owners, conducted by Australian Election Company. This resulted in 100% of respondents voting ‘no’ to the proposed nuclear facility. If the results of the two ballots are combined, the overall level of support falls to just 43.8% of eligible voters (452/824 for the government-initiated
ballot, and 0/209 for the Barngarla ballot) ‒ well short of the government’s benchmark of 65% for ‘broad community support’.

There is no consent from Barngarla Traditional Owners let alone free, prior and informed consent. The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Act systematically disempowers and dispossesses Traditional Owners, and the Amendment Bill worsens the situation and strips Traditional Owners of their legal review rights. Legal advice in a Feb. 2020 report by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights notes that the Bill “would enable native title to be extinguished, without the consent of the traditional owners”, and it raises further concerns about the Bill’s intention to permit the acquisition of land for an access route without any Parliamentary oversight or right of appeal.
The Act, the Bill, and the proposed nuclear waste facility are all inconsistent with the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD Committee) has said that Australia’s historically “racially discriminatory land practices have endured as an acute impairment of the rights of Australia’s indigenous communities”. Imposing a nuclear waste facility on Barngarla Country will clearly exacerbate the problems identified by the CERD Committee
In 2017, the CERD Committee expressed concern “about information that extractive and development projects are carried out on lands owned or traditionally owned by Indigenous Peoples without seeking their prior, free and informed consent” and recommended that Australia “ensure that the principle of free, prior and informed consent is incorporated into the Native Title Act 1993 and in other legislation as appropriate, and fully implemented in practice”.
The Senate Committee should recommend rejection of the NRWM Amendment Bill, and rejection of the proposed nuclear waste facility, in light of the clear opposition of the Barngarla Traditional Owners. The Senate Committee should also recommend that the government follow the advice of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to “ensure that the principle of free, prior and informed consent is incorporated into the Native Title Act 1993 and in other legislation as appropriate, and fully implemented in practice”.
It should be noted that the willingness to override the rights and interests of the Barngarla Traditional Owners is opposed by the SA Labor Party. The SA Labor Party argues that Traditional Owners ought to have a right of veto over nuclear projects given the sad and sorry history of the nuclear industry in SA, stretching back to the British atomic bomb tests. That position dates from 2017, if not earlier. In 2017, then Premier Jay Weatherill wrote to then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recommending that the federal government adopt the policy of allowing a right of veto by affected Traditional Owners in relation to the planned national nuclear waste facility.
Deputy Leader of the Opposition Susan Close says that SA Labor is “utterly opposed” to the “appalling” process which led to the announcement regarding the Kimba site.1 The SA ALP State Conference on 13 October 2018 endorsed a resolution which pledged to support Traditional Owners in the Kimba region in their struggle to prevent a national nuclear waste facility being constructed on their country. The 2018 State Conference resolution further
committed the SA Labor Party to “support communities opposing the nomination of their lands or region for a dump site, and any workers who refuse to facilitate the construction and operation or transport and handling of radioactive waste material destined for any contested facility or sites including South Australian Port communities.”
The federal government’s willingness to override the rights and interests of Traditional Owners, and to strip them of further rights (including legal appeal rights) through the NRWM Amendment Bill, makes for a sad contrast with the situation in Canada. Earlier this year, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation voted against plans for a nuclear waste repository near Lake Huron after a lengthy consultation period. The Canadian government then announced that it will respect the decision and will no longer target the site.2
Deputy Leader of the Opposition Susan Close says that SA Labor is “utterly opposed” to the “appalling” process which led to the announcement regarding the Kimba site.1 The SA ALP State Conference on 13 October 2018 endorsed a resolution which pledged to support Traditional Owners in the Kimba region in their struggle to prevent a national nuclear waste facility being constructed on their country. The 2018 State Conference resolution further
committed the SA Labor Party to “support communities opposing the nomination of their lands or region for a dump site, and any workers who refuse to facilitate the construction and operation or transport and handling of radioactive waste material destined for any contested facility or sites including South Australian Port communities.”

Illegal under SA law: The proposed nuclear waste facility is illegal under South Australia’s
Nuclear Waste Facility (Prohibition) Act, introduced by the SA Liberal Government in the
year 2000 and strengthened by the SA Labor Government in 2002. The federal government is expected to take the draconian and unacceptable step of using regulations to specifically override the SA Nuclear Waste Facility (Prohibition) Act. South Australians are opposed to the proposed nuclear waste facility: a 2015 survey found just 15.7% support for a nuclear waste dump, and a 2018 survey found that those who strongly agreed with stopping the dump outnumbered those who strongly disagreed by a factor of three (41:14).

1 https://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/6454080/state-labor-party-weighs-in-on-nucleardebate/?
cs=1538
2 https://phys.org/news/2020-02-tribal-vote-nixes-radioactive-storage.html

Breaching NH and MRC siting guidelines: Only 4.5% of South Australia is arable land. It is of deep concern that a radioactive waste could be allowed to jeopardise the Eyre Peninsula’s agricultural industries. Indeed the government’s proposal is a clear breach of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s ‘Code of Practice for Near-Surface Disposal of Radioactive Waste in Australia’ which states that “the site for the facility should be located
in a region which has no known significant natural resources, including potentially valuable mineral deposits, and which has little or no potential for agriculture or outdoor recreational use”.

Long-lived intermediate-level waste: Measured by radioactivity, long-lived intermediate level
waste currently stored at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights site in NSW accounts for an overwhelming majority (>90%) of the waste destined for the nuclear waste facility in SA. There is no logic behind the proposal to move intermediate-level waste from interim abovegroundstorage at Lucas Heights to interim above-ground storage at the Kimba site. The proposed double-handling is illogical, it exposes communities to unnecessary risk, and ARPANSA’s Nuclear Safety Committee has indicated that it is not consistent with international best practice.
 
It beggars belief that double-handling ‒ and the movement of long-lived intermediate-level waste from a site with greater safety and security provisions to a site with lesser provisions ‒ is even being contemplated. This absurd situation demonstrates the incompetent handling of this matter by successive ministers and departmental officials over many years. The Senate Committee should recommend that portfolio responsibility for this matter is shifted
from Industry, Innovation and Science to another minister and department (e.g. health) who might do a better job.
The existing 2012 Act is flawed
Friends of the Earth Australia wishes to emphasise that not only is the NRWM Amendment Bill deploy flawed, the existing National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 (NRWMA) is undemocratic in many respects. The Act should either be repealed or radically amended to remove clauses which disempower Australians and in particular First Nations.The current Bill does the exact opposite..

A 2017 report released by Friends of the Earth Australia points to serious problems with the NRWMA.

Monash University fifth-year law student Amanda Ngo ‒ is posted at www.nuclear.foe.org.au/nrwma

The NRWMA gives the federal government the power to extinguish rights and interests in land targeted for a radioactive waste facility. In so doing the relevant Minister must “take into account any relevant comments by persons with a right or interest in the land” but there is no requirement to secure consent from Traditional Owners.

Aboriginal Traditional Owners, local communities, pastoralists, business owners, local councils and State/Territory Governments are all disadvantaged and disempowered by the NRWMA.
The NRWMA goes to particular lengths to disempower Traditional Owners. The nomination of a site for a radioactive waste facility is valid even if Aboriginal owners were not consulted and did not give consent. More precisely, the NRWMA states that consultation should be conducted with Traditional Owners and consent should be secured ‒ but that the nomination of a site for a radioactive waste facility is valid even in the absence of consultation or consent.
The NRWMA has sections which nullify State or Territory laws that protect the archaeological or heritage values of land or objects, including those which relate to Indigenous traditions. The Act curtails the application of Commonwealth laws including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 and the Native Title Act 1993 in the important site-selection stage. The Native Title Act 1993 is expressly overridden in relation to land acquisition for a radioactive waste facility. The NRWMA has been criticised in both Senate Inquiries and a Federal Court challenge to an earlier federal government attempt to impose a national radioactive waste facility at
Muckaty in the Northern Territory.
The NRWMA also puts the federal government’s radioactive waste agenda above environmental protection as it seeks to curtail the application of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. A senior government official told a public meeting in Hawker in 2016 that the NRWMA is based on ‘world’s best practice’. In fact, the legislation systematically disempowers local communities and Traditional Owners and weakens environmental protections. It needs to be radically amended or replaced with legislation that protects the environment and gives local communities and Traditional Owners the right to say ‘no’ to radioactive waste facilities.
Some positive proposals
Previous, failed attempts to establish a Commonwealth radioactive waste facility (repository and store) assumed the need for off-site, centralised facilities. This assumption continues  with the current project configuration. However, a closer examination indicates both that this assumption may not be warranted and that there are major information gaps that need to be addressed before informed decisions can be made.
An important, preliminary task is to establish an accurate and up-to-date inventory of Australia’s radioactive waste stockpiles. That must include consideration of the nature and adequacy/inadequacy of current storage conditions, and the nature and adequacy/inadequacy of institutional control. Serious consideration of those issues is necessary if informed decisions about future waste management options are to be made, yet successive Governments have largely ignored these issues and information on waste inventories is superficial and unhelpful. The government should adopt a more nuanced approach which may allow it to make progress in a contested public policy area where previous governments have failed. This approach would involve:
(i) Differentiating waste that needs to be moved vs. waste that does not need to be moved, consistent with the net-benefit clause in the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act – the ARPANS Act. This in turn would require a more detailed inventory than has been compiled to date and consideration of issues (detailed in a 2014 briefing paper3 co-authored by Friends of the Earth) such as the number of legacy waste sites and
the adequacy/inadequacy of existing storage sites. The failure to actively address these basic issues has worked against progression to the resolution of this contentious public issue in recent decades.
(ii) Differentiating waste arising from the operations of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) from non-ANSTO waste. ANSTO is quite capable of managing its own waste, at least in the medium term. Permanent disposal of ANSTO waste should be explored and addressed in subsequent decades, keeping in mind
that ANSTO is likely to be operating at its current site for many decades to come.
Importantly, the current national facility proposal at Kimba explicitly does not seek to dispose of ANSTO’s most problematic radioactive wastes.
(iii) Differentiating low level radioactive wastes from long-lived intermediate-level waste. Plans to move intermediate-level waste from Lucas Heights (and elsewhere) to an above-ground store co-located with the low-level waste repository, and then to an unspecified site at an unspecified later date, make no sense from a policy perspective and
they significantly raise public-acceptance obstacles. The current co-location proposal would mean double handling i.e. transport to the interim national store then future transport to a currently non-determined disposal site. Such an approach would be likely fail the net benefit test that ARPANSA would need to apply in response to any license application
With a detailed inventory completed, thorough consideration of all waste management options is required. That work should be carried out by a dedicated National Commission or comparable public inquiry mechanism. A detailed discussion on how that Commission might be constituted and the issues it might address is contained in the 2014 briefing paper.4 For ANSTO waste, ongoing storage at Lucas Heights needs consideration. Relevant government agencies (and others) have acknowledged that ongoing radioactive waste storage at Lucas Heights is a viable option:
• Andrew Humpherson, ANSTO: “Lucas Heights is a 70-hectare campus with something like 80 buildings. It’s a large area. We’ve got quite a number of buildings there which  house radioactive materials. They’re all stored safely and securely and all surrounded by  a high-security perimeter fence with Federal Police guarding. It is the most secure facility we have got in Australia.”6
• Dr Clarence Hardy, Australian Nuclear Association: “It would be entirely feasible to keep storing it [radioactive waste] at Lucas Heights …”7
• Then ARPANSA CEO John Loy: “Should it come about that the national approach to a waste repository not proceed, it will be necessary for the Commonwealth to devise an approach to final disposal of LLW from Lucas Heights, including LLW generated by operation of the RRR [Replacement Research Reactor]. In the meantime, this waste will
have to be continued to be handled properly on the Lucas Heights site. I am satisfied, on the basis of my assessment of the present waste management plan, including the license and conditions applying to the waste operations on site, that it can be.”8
• Department of Education, Science and Tourism: “A significant factor is that ANSTO has the capacity to safety store considerable volumes of waste at Lucas Heights and is unlikely to seek the holding of frequent campaigns to disposal of waste holdings generated after the initial campaign.”9
• Dr Ron Cameron, ANSTO, when asked if ANSTO could continue to manage its own waste:
“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.”5
3 Friends of the Earth, Beyond Nuclear Initiative, Australian Conservation Foundation, November

2014, ‘Responsible Radioactive Waste Management in Australia: The Case For An Independent
Commission Of Inquiry’, https://nuclear.foe.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Responsible-Radioactive-
4 Ibid. proposing double handling. With a detailed inventory completed,

6 September 2008,
7 ARPANSA forum, Adelaide, 26 February 2004,

8 April 2002, Decision by the CEO of ARPANSA on Application to construct the Replacement Research
Reactor at Lucas Heights. Reasons for Decision”, p.30.
9 Application to ARPANSA, 2003, Vol.iii Ch.9 Waste – Transfer and Documentation p.5.

Maurice Blackburn: nuclear waste Bill Amendment is against natural justice, excludes Aboriginal community and concerns

May 28, 2020

 

the proposed bill removes the right of judicial review and greatly narrows the review rights of an administrative decision, after the site selection process is underway.
The removal of a fundamental right should only be considered in extreme circumstances,
such as in the case of an emergency. It is clear that the expansion of land for the site is not an emergency, and such, the removal of further review mechanisms is at odds with the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness.

Maurice Blackburn and Co.  Submission to the Economics Legislation Committee, National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions]   Submission 76

“……………  Maurice Blackburn is concerned with several amendments proposed in this bill which appear to remove and erase engagement with the Aboriginal community from the site selection process.
We note that the Bill repeals the definitions relevant to Aboriginal people and associated entities. We are concerned that any nomination process will not sufficiently engage with Aboriginal communities. Irrespective, we would also submit that the removal of key definitions as they relate to Aboriginal people send a concerning message to those communities.
 
In particular, we are concerned that at no point during the nomination process were the proposed amendments flagged to the community. This is deeply concerning as it is at odds with the Commonwealth’s overarching policy objective of dealing with waste management practices in an open and transparent manner. As highlighted above, the unexpected changes to the legislation have the ability to undermine trust in the Commonwealth and have the very real chance of being perceived as unilateral decision making by the Commonwealth to the exclusion of Aboriginal communities.
Further, we are concerned with the amendments proposed in Part 6C. Specifically, the wording in subsection 34G(4)(a), which states that a person who is conducting activities may do so if that person takes all reasonable steps to cause as little detriment and inconvenience, and does as little damage. However, we note that this is a general provision and does not
include any protection or consideration for cultural heritage or the protection for Aboriginal culture as part of this section.
While we note that Part 6C is of a transitional nature and replicates section 11 of the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 (Cth) (the Act), we submit that the lack of consideration for Aboriginal cultural heritage is an oversight and that this should be explicitly included in section 34G.
Further, while sections 34GA and 34GB are also transitional and replicate current provisions in the Act, we are concerned that the Bill simply replicates these provisions and does not include any explicit protection of consideration of Aboriginal culture or heritage. This is concerning to our clients and other Aboriginal communities (particularly the Barngarla
community) and reinforces a perception that the Commonwealth does not take Aboriginal culture and concerns seriously.
THE BILL: EXPANSION OF ACQUISITION OF LAND/PROCEDURAL FAIRNESS Maurice Blackburn is concerned that the amendments proposed in Schedule 1, Part 2. Sections 19A and 19B, which allow for regulations to prescribe additional land for the expansion of the facility and all-weather access respectively, are contrary to the interests of natural justice. Of key concern, it is deeply concerning that the bill, in its proposed form, removes the right of judicial review.
While we note that Part 6C is of a transitional nature and replicates section 11 of the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 (Cth) (the Act), we submit that the lack of consideration for Aboriginal cultural heritage is an oversight and that this should be explicitly included in section 34G.

Further, while sections 34GA and 34GB are also transitional and replicate current provisions in the Act, we are concerned that the Bill simply replicates these provisions and does not include any explicit protection of consideration of Aboriginal culture or heritage. This is concerning to our clients and other Aboriginal communities (particularly the Barngarla
community) and reinforces a perception that the Commonwealth does not take Aboriginal culture and concerns seriously.

The addition of section 19C in its proposed form purports to provide for procedural fairness, but it is limited in scope and does not prescribe any real requirements to the Minister to meaningfully consider community views or submissions.

The requirement that the Minister must invite any person who has a right or interest to the land to comment and to take into account those comments is a broad concept. It is not clear who will have a right or interest in the land. In our experience Native Title Holders and Traditional Owners are often excluded from consultation and community is often given a narrow interpretation. As we have seen from the community ballots conducted by the Flinders Ranges Council and the Kimba Council, many Native Title holders were precluded from voting in the ballot. This provision, and whether members of the Aboriginal community may comment is left ambiguous.

The requirement that the Minister must ‘take into account any relevant comments’ under subsection 19C(1)(b) is vague and does not prescribe any requirements for the Minister. It does not require the Minister to do anything with the comments or take any action, and minimises the community engagement and consultation paramount to any additional
acquisition or expansion of land.

We submit that the proposed provision places a proactive requirement on the Minister to:
1. Publish any relevant comments on a public forum; and
2. The Minister publish a response showing the consideration given to these comments.

Further, section 19C(4) provides that:
“This section is taken to be an exhaustive statement of the requirements of the
natural justice hearing rule in relation to the following:

(a) a decision about the making of regulations under subsection 19A(1);
(b) the Minister’s decision whether to make an instrument under subsection 19B(1)”.
Maurice Blackburn considers such an exhaustive provision to be draconian in nature, as it limits the ability for community members to challenge and appeal the decisions of the Minister, and submit that this be reconsidered.

In its current form, the proposed bill removes the right of judicial review and greatly narrows the review rights of an administrative decision, after the site selection process is underway.
The removal of a fundamental right should only be considered in extreme circumstances,
such as in the case of an emergency. It is clear that the expansion of land for the site is not an emergency, and such, the removal of further review mechanisms is at odds with the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness.

We submit that section 19C be amended to include meaningful community engagement and mechanisms to challenge and appeal the regulations and decisions by the Minister that accordance with Natural Justice. We propose that this take the form of a mandatory request for submissions from the relevant community and a public response by the Minister within a specified timeframe.

Finally, in recognition of the special connection Aboriginal people have with the land, this provision should make it clear that members of the Aboriginal community are included in this  process irrespective of whether they are local residents or title holders.

Australia’s Inquiry into Nuclear Waste Amendment Bill will consider only the TECHNICAL matters – (forget your Submission!)

May 27, 2020
Noel Wauchope 27 May 20 It looks like the Senate Committee inquiring into the Bill to amend the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 will limit the scope of their inquiries to mainly technical and scientific information. This will be done for two reasons.
The first reason is to bolster ANSTO’s position for getting all the licences for the facility at Napandee as described in ARPANSA’s submission since there are strong and real doubts that ANSTO will not succeed in getting them.
This would make the whole selection process a futile and unnecessary exercise without a result. We all know that this cost millions of dollars.
The second reason is that by concentrating on the technical factors the Committee will be able to avoid dealing with the more emotive questions based on the differences within the community, the outcome of the Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights and the destroying of Native Title and other matters. The result is that many of fine submissions to the Committee will now be simply ignored as they do not include technical data.
What hope does the general community have?

Australia’s Radioactive Waste Bill Amendment slyly paves the way to import international nuclear waste

May 26, 2020

Bob and Sue Tulloch ( Flinders Local Action Group ) to Senate Inquiry on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions] Submission 72 

There is a lot of misinformation about the Federal Government’s proposed National
Nuclear Waste Management Facility at Kimba. Information has been with held from most Australians via a deliberate, discriminatory voting process, with only two South Australian communities ( Hawker / Quorn and
Kimba ) allowed to vote, (1300 citizens) a process that has so far failed them.

Do our law makers understand WHAT they are voting for?
This is NOT, just mainly a low level nuclear waste dump for hospital gloves and gowns. Two dumps co-located are planned. The second, a temporary storage facility, for far more dangerous intermediate level waste. This will include reprocessed spent fuel rods, used in the nuclear reactors at Lucas Heights, being returned to Australia from
France and the UK. Waste needing serious isolation from humans and the environment for 10,000 years. It is the temporary storage of this ILW, that worry people.

Case for keeping ILW at Lucas Heights
World’s best practice for dealing with Intermediate Level Waste, or High Level waste as classified in France and the UK, is permanent, deep underground burial. There are currently no plans for this to happen in Australia. There is also no time limit set for the storage of this waste, to be placed ‘temporarily’ in an above ground shed at Kimba, if moved from its current modern safe, secure storage facility at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights complex.

It is well documented that the cost of establishing a permanent, deep underground disposal facility for Australia’s relatively low volumes of ILW, is prohibitive. Unless the Australian Government is planning to subsidise the cost of establishing a nuclear waste storage and disposal facility at Kimba, by importing nuclear waste from overseas,
one must question the economical rational to relocate ILW to a second, temporary storage facility at, huge expense to the Australian tax payer.

Australian Nuclear Waste Law
Ref. Protecting Authority, Burying Dissent: An Analysis of Australian Nuclear Waste Law – Angela
Morsley. 2016
 This paper considers the Australian legal framework for a national nuclear waste repository. The paper argues that the current law protects the Commonwealth’s decision- making in relation to a repository site, at the expense of ‘the place for
public participation in the development of the land’, conservation of Aboriginal heritage and environmental impacts, legitimate protections that under the proposed changes to the Act will be even more eroded.

n 2010 the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee recommended that the NRWMA not be enacted unless mandatory provision was made for a Regional Consultative Committee. Closer analysis reveals that the RCC
has no power or influence over a Ministerial declaration, it’s function being merely to ‘facilitate communication’ between the host community and the Commonwealth’.
….. ‘Consultation may be provided for under the NRWMA, but there is no evidence to suggest that it has anything other that a tokenistic place within a legal framework that positions site selection as an almost inevitable outcome of nomination, supported by Ministerial fiat, rather than broadly sought public consent.’

The South Australian Parliament has legislation in place under the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 to prevent the construction of such a facility and the transportation of radioactive waste through the state. The proposed
amendment to the NRWNA to nominate the Napandee site near Kimba as the‘relevant land’, will exclude all state legislation from regulation of all activities associated with the NRWMF. ARPANSA’s Code of Practice for the Safe Transport
of Radioactive Materials, is merely a code of practice and not a statute, is unenforceable in regards to the transportation of radioactive waste through South Australia.

Australia’s Future Nuclear Industry Involvement
Questions about nuclear power generation in Australia, future lucrative ‘fuel leasing’ plans involving an Australian Nuclear Fuel Industry as detailed in the following government reports, and the role a ILW storage facility at Kimba will play, need
clarification and public disclosure.
Australia’s Uranium – Greenhouse friendly fuel for an energy hungry world
A case study into the strategic importance of Australia’s uranium resources for the Inquiry into
developing Australia’s non-fossil fuel energy industry. November 2006

Final Report and recommendations of the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.
May 2016
Not without your approval: a way forward for nuclear technology in Australia;
Report of the inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia; Dec 2019
A report by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment & Energy.

The proposed amendments to NRWM Act, 4A, specifically, refers to ‘radioactive waste’ to be replaced with ‘controlled materials’ (ref ARPANSA Act 1998 ‘controlled material means any natural or artificial material, whether in solid or liquid form, or in the form of a gas or vapour, which emits ionizing radiation spontaneously’), and removal of the words ‘domestic origin’, can allow future operations of the storage facility to encompass nuclear power and nuclear fuel leasing industries as detailed in the Dec 2019 ‘Not without your approval’ report.

For these reasons, more scrutiny on this proposal should be obligatory, and a genuine national discussion implemented. Information supplied to the communities of Hawker/Quorn, Kimba did not include these possibilities, and ballot results obtained from 1207 votes does NOT therefore represent an honest national conversation.

To pass the proposed amendments to the NRWM Act now, would be irresponsible and premature to say the least.

Australian Law on radioactive waste to be changed in order to prevent any judicial review!

May 21, 2020
Declaration and Legislation of Selected Site
At the time the Minister announced that the Napandee site had been identified, we were surprised and
confused that this decision was not declared as per the requirements of the Act. It is now clear that the reason
for this is the Ministers decision to amend the Act to specify the selected site. This is extremely concerning to us,
as it is our understanding that the decision to directly legislate the selected site will effectively remove the
opportunity for any judicial review of the site selection, and there appears to be no other justification to do so.
(as reported at the Kimba Consultative Committee meeting 23rd February 2020) is that 2789
submissions were received in total, and that, in total, 94.5 of these opposed the siting of the facility in Kimba.
These appear to have been all but ignored in the Minister, in favour of multiple survey results from the same
focus group living or operating businesses based within the District Council.
The No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA Committee submission to Senate Committee onNational Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions] Submission 80  
The No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA Committee was established in 2016 to represent
the members of the Kimba, Eyre Peninsula and SA community who are opposed to the siting of the National
Radioactive Waste Management Facility on Farming land in South Australia.
As both a committee and individuals we have been heavily involved in the 5 year process the Federal
Government has undertaken to site the National Radioactive Waste Facility in Kimba and we would like to thank
the Committee for their time and efforts in undertaking this inquiry.
As the Senate Committee would be well aware, the process which led to this point has been long and arduous,
particularly for those who do not support the siting of the facility in the Kimba district. We have had no goal or
prize in sight, only the onerous task of proving our opposition.
The proposal has caused, and continues to cause, significant division within our community, which has been
fuelled by the actions of the Department in their quest to establish support for the facility. There are many
examples of how this is process has been unfair and wrong, and we appreciate the opportunity to put forward
some important facts from our perspective.
COMMUNITY CONSULTATION
The finding by former Minister Matthew Canavan that broad community consent for this facility exists in Kimba,
a basis on which this Bill rests, is tenuous at best. The path that the Federal Government took to making this
finding has been a long road of propaganda, manipulation and promises, and is now completely lacking
justification at its conclusion for the decision made.

(more…)

Australian govt should dump its nuclear waste plan, and adopt the Canadian one

May 19, 2020

I would like to draw the committee’s attention to the Canadian leading example which has
empowered communities to self-nominate for assessment in a long-term process called
“Adaptive Phase Management”2 ensuring trust is being gained in communities prior to any
final site selection for radioactive waste disposal in a deep geological repository over a long
established timeline.

I could not support the proposal as it stands.

The Kimba District Council has not done its due diligence to request an an independent risk analysis for the people it
represents

Sue Woolford SUBMISSION TO SENATE ECONOMICS LEGISLATION COMMITTEE
RE: Inquiry into the National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site
Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions]  Submission No 91

I would like to put forward my personal views on how acceptance of this Bill would be doing
an injustice to the responsible management of radioactive waste in Australia.
I am critical of this current process but not the value of nuclear medicine and the need to
find the right long term solution to benefit all Australians. I have advocated for a fair and
transparent process that instils trust in the public domain and believe that the National
Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 and this Bill need to have proper assessment to
deliver to all Australians a morally and legally acceptable Act with lessons learnt.

The government department responsible have initiated a consultation and site selection
process under the current Act but have not truly engaged meaningfully with all
stakeholders. Standards have not conformed alongside the principles of the International
Association for Public Participation1 (IAP2) and the spectrum of public participation which is
used internationally.

I believe if more of these principles were applied to provide objective information and listen
to feedback then the key challenges to site the nations radioactive waste into a central
location with community confidence would be taken to a new level of credibility and
assurances. My submission deals with finding the right solution instead of a second rate
option in my hometown.

Currently, I don’t believe the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 has
allowed for the best and safest sites to be voluntarily put forward. The extinguishment of
Native Title holder’s rights and the Commonwealth having the authority to override states
and territories has only confirmed that the Australian example is inconsistent with world’s
best practice and is an abominable act that takes away rights of review to ensure a fair and
transparent process……….    https://antinuclear.net/2020/05/19/sue-woolford-recommends-the-canadian-model-for-selecting-a-nuclear-waste-facility-site/

Wrong nuclear waste dump process: individuals nominate their land for personal gain

May 14, 2020

The current process where individuals nominate their own land for their own personal gain and then seek community support is completely backwards and does nothing but cause angst and divide communities.

We recommend the Committee:

Withdraw or reject the Bill on the grounds that neighbour support has not been met. The 100%
direct neighbour support is based on just two landowners as the majority of the land
surrounding the Napandee site is owned by the nominator themselves. Almost half of the
neighbours within the 5km radius to this site remain opposed. This does not constitute broad
neighbour support.

As farmers and neighbours to the selected site, it is of deep concern that radioactive waste could
be allowed to jeopardise Kimba and the Eyre Peninsula’s agricultural industries. The entire Eyre
Peninsula is very proud of its clean and green image, however, if a nuclear waste dump is
constructed in Kimba, no matter which way you look at it, the Eyre Peninsula will never be able to
lay claim to this image again. Clean and green does not go together with nuclear/radioactive
waste.

Marty & Rachel Yates – to Senate Committee on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions] Submission 90

We are very close neighbours to the Napandee site and are active members of the Kimba
community where we continue to live, farm and raise our young family. We are third generation
farmers and completely devastated with the news that Napandee has been selected as the site to
host the National Radioactive Waste Management facility (NRWMF) because this means the
facility will be forced upon us. We would never ever choose to live near a radioactive waste dump.

Our small country town has been targeted since 2015 when Rowan Ramsey initiated the proposal
that his property in Kimba could host the national radioactive waste facility. Since then, our once
close knit community has been torn apart by a flawed process that has been designed to divide
and conquer with the promise of jobs and money. The damage caused by this process is real and
will be lasting.

It has been extremely difficult and stressful five years for us. We have done our utmost to
request a fair, open and transparent process but instead have been presented with a very one
sided affair where the goal posts have constantly moved.

We were neighbours to the original nominated site at Cortlinye which was removed, along with
Pinkawillinie, from the process in 2016 due to lack of community support. To our dismay, a group
of locals did not accept this decision and in early 2017 proceeded to nominate two more sites in
Kimba. One called ‘Napandee’ and one called ‘Lyndhurst’. Despite being told by the Department of
Industry Innovation and Science (DIIS) that this would never come back to Pinkawillinie, it did,
because Napandee is located in the Hundred of Pinkawillinie. We now find ourselves even closer
neighbours to the Napandee site than we were to Cortlinye. We have continually stated our
opposition as neighbours but because we don’t share a fence it feels like we don’t really matter.

As farmers and neighbours to the selected site, it is of deep concern that radioactive waste could
be allowed to jeopardise Kimba and the Eyre Peninsula’s agricultural industries. The entire Eyre
Peninsula is very proud of its clean and green image, however, if a nuclear waste dump is
constructed in Kimba, no matter which way you look at it, the Eyre Peninsula will never be able to
lay claim to this image again. Clean and green does not go together with nuclear/radioactive
waste.

Only 4.5% of South Australia is arable land. There is so much unproductive land in the whole of
Australia that would be a more suitable option than farming land to store radioactive waste. This
is where the current process falls down because it only allows nominations from volunteer
landowners so even though there may be better options out there, this process won’t allow them
to be considered because they have not volunteered.

We find it staggering that Kimba was allowed to re-enter the process after initially being removed
due to lack of community support but the Leonora nomination was not accepted even though they
say they are able to provide a final deep burial site for Australia’s most toxic waste which would
completely remove the need to double handle the waste and save many tax payer dollars. (more…)

13 top Australian non government organisations say that the Kimba nuclear waste dump plan is illogical

May 13, 2020

There is no logic behind the proposal to move intermediate-level waste from interim above-ground storage at Lucas Heights to interim above-ground storage at the Kimba site. The proposed double-handling is illogical, it exposes communities to unnecessary risk, and ARPANSA’s Nuclear Safety Committee has indicated that it is not consistent with international best practice.

[ The group makes 10 excellent RECOMMENDATOINS to the Senate Committee]

Joint NGO Submission to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee Inquiry into National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 Submission 101
The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill amends the National Radioactive Waste Management Act to specify a site near Kimba in South Australia for a nuclear waste ‘facility’ ‒ a repository for low-level waste and an above-ground ‘interim’ (indefinite) store for long-lived intermediate-level waste.

The Bill is deeply flawed and should be rejected. Further, the existing Act is deeply flawed and should be repealed

Shamefully, the federal government excluded Barngarla Traditional Owners from a ‘community ballot’ held in 2019. Therefore the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation initiated a separate, confidential postal survey of Traditional Owners, conducted by Australian Election Company. This resulted in 100% of respondents voting ‘no’ to the proposed nuclear facility. If the results of the two ballots are combined, the overall level of support falls to just 43.8% of eligible voters (452/824 for the government-initiated ballot, and 0/209 for the Barngarla ballot) ‒ well short of the government’s benchmark of 65% for ‘broad community support’.

The proposal to proceed with the nuclear waste facility despite the unanimous opposition of the Barngarla Traditional Owners is unconscionable and must not be allowed to stand.

There is no consent from Barngarla Traditional Owners let alone free, prior and informed consent. The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Act systematically disempowers and dispossesses Traditional Owners, and the Amendment Bill worsens the situation and strips Traditional Owners of their legal review rights. Legal advice in a Feb. 2020 report by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights notes that the Bill “would enable native title to be extinguished, without the consent of the traditional owners”, and it raises further concerns about the Bill’s intention to permit the acquisition of land for an access route without any Parliamentary oversight or right of appeal.

The Act, the Bill, and the proposed nuclear waste facility are all inconsistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD Committee) has said that Australia’s historically “racially discriminatory land practices have endured as an acute impairment of the rights of Australia’s indigenous communities”. Imposing a nuclear waste facility on Barngarla Country will clearly exacerbate the problems identified by the CERD Committee.

In 2017, the CERD Committee expressed concern “about information that extractive and development projects are carried out on lands owned or traditionally owned by Indigenous Peoples without seeking their prior, free and informed consent” and recommended that Australia “ensure that the principle of free, prior and informed consent is incorporated into the Native Title Act 1993 and in other legislation as appropriate, and fully implemented in practice”.

The proposed nuclear waste facility is illegal under South Australia’s Nuclear Waste Facility (Prohibition) Act, introduced by the SA Liberal Government in the year 2000 and strengthened by the SA Labor Government in 2002. The federal government is expected to take the draconian and unacceptable step of using regulations to specifically override the SA Nuclear Waste Facility (Prohibition) Act. South Australians are opposed to the proposed nuclear waste facility: a 2015 survey found just 15.7% support for a nuclear waste dump, and a 2018 survey found that those who strongly agreed with stopping the dump outnumbered those who strongly disagreed by a factor of three (41:14).

Only 4.5% of South Australia is arable land. It is of deep concern that a radioactive waste could be allowed to jeopardise the Eyre Peninsula’s agricultural industries. Indeed the government’s proposal is a clear breach of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s ‘Code of Practice for Near-Surface Disposal of Radioactive Waste in Australia’ which states that “the site for the facility should be located in a region which has no known significant natural resources, including potentially valuable mineral deposits, and which has little or no potential for agriculture or outdoor recreational use”.

Measured by radioactivity, long-lived intermediate-level waste currently stored at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights site in NSW accounts for an overwhelming majority (>90%) of the waste destined for the nuclear waste facility in SA. There is no logic behind the proposal to move intermediate-level waste from interim above-ground storage at Lucas Heights to interim above-ground storage at the Kimba site. The proposed double-handling is illogical, it exposes communities to unnecessary risk, and ARPANSA’s Nuclear Safety Committee has indicated that it is not consistent with international best practice.

Recommendations:
1. The Senate Economics Legislation Committee should recommend the withdrawal or rejection of the National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill 2020 (in which case a number of following recommendations are redundant) and repeal of the National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Act.
1. The Committee should recommend repeal of the NRWM Act 2012 Section 12(1)(c) & 13(1), and of the Bill’s sections 34GA(1)(c) and 34GB(1), as unacceptable draconian overrides of existing State and Commonwealth legal protections for Indigenous people’s heritage and traditions.
2. The Committee should undertake a review of the potential impacts of the existing Act, the proposed amendments, and the proposed nuclear waste facility, on Aboriginal rights, interests and traditions. This should include consideration of the impacts of the government potentially issuing a Regulation to override the SA Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988, so as to impose the nuclear waste facility over State law.
3. The Committee should assess the compatibility of the Act, the Bill and the proposed nuclear waste facility with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in particular the principle of free, prior and informed consent.
3. The Committee should recommend that the federal government adopt the proposal from then SA Premier Jay Weatherill in 2017 that traditional owners should have a right of veto over any proposed nuclear waste facility on their lands. Mr. Weatherill’s letter noted that “Aboriginal people’s history with the nuclear industry demonstrates a need for significant healing” and it noted the SA Labor Government’s policy that a right of veto would apply to any comparable state initiative.
4. The Committee should investigate the government’s plan to move intermediate-level waste from above-ground interim storage at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights site to above-ground interim storage near Kimba, for no logical reason and despite the obvious inefficiencies and risks associated with this double-handling of nuclear waste.
5. The Committee should seek advice from the regulator ARPANSA as to whether the proposed double-handling of intermediate-level waste is consistent with national and international standards and what ARPANSA’s approach will be to a licence application that proposes double-handling.
6. Given that the government has consistently failed to provide any logical justification for double-handling of intermediate-level waste, the Committee should recommend that intermediate-level waste stored at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights site should remain there until a long-term solution is realised.
7. The Committee should recommend withdrawal or rejection of the Bill on the grounds that the government’s own benchmark for broad community support has not been met (43.8% support among eligible voters in the combined ballots).
8. The Committee should recommend that the Bill is withdrawn, and the federal government’s nuclear waste agenda put on hold, until such time as public opinion among other relevant stakeholders is determined (including state-wide opinion in SA and opinion along potential transport corridors).
9. The Committee should recommend repeal of section 13(1)(b) of the Act, and withdrawal or rejection of section 34GB (1)(b) of the Bill, both of which seek to compromise and undermine operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

10. The Committee should seek independent expert advice regarding the Federal Government’s claim that 45 jobs will be created at the facility. That job figure is deeply inconsistent with comparable facilities overseas and it assumes that Australian workers are at least 10 times less productive than workers at comparable facilities overseas. Successive federal governments have claimed there would be zero, six or 15 jobs, and the current figure of 45 jobs is implausible.
Signatories:
Australian Conservation Foundation, Dr Paul Sinclair, Campaigns Director
Friends of the Earth Australia, Dr Jim Green, National Campaigner
Greenpeace Australia-Pacific, Mr David Ritter, CEO
Medical Association for the Prevention of War, Dr Margaret Beavis, National Secretary
Mineral Policy Institute, Charles Roche, Director
Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, Ms Vicki McCabe and Mr Dwayne Coulthard, Co-chairs
Queensland Conservation Council, Ms Louise Matthieson, Director
Conservation Council of WA, Mr Piers Verstegen, Director
Conservation SA, Mr Craig Wilkins, Chief Executive
NSW Nature Conservation Council, Mr Chris Gambian, CEO
Environment Victoria, Mr Jono La Nauze, CEO
Environment Centre of the Northern Territory, Ms Shar Molloy, Director

Arid Lands Environment Centre, Mr Jimmy Cocking, CEO

Australian govt got 2,789 submissions about Kimba nuclear waste dump plan -94.5% against it

May 5, 2020

What we now know is 2,789 submissions in total were received by Scomo’s Fed Govt [reported at the Kimba Consultative Committee meeting 23rd February 2020] and 94.5% of those submissions opposed dumping nuclear waste on farmland near Kimba. But that didn’t stop Scomo’s Fed govt and Senator Canavan from naming the site on farmland near Kimba. Not only did they ignore the Barngarla Native Title Holders of country, they also ignored the majority of the submissions that were opposed to the dumps near Kimba. And Scomo’s Fed govt BOGUS broad community support claim is nothing but a FRAUD. All the figures need to be independently scrutinised. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

Australian government pulled a clever little trick to further dispossess the Bangarla Aboriginal people

April 24, 2020

First Nations communities continue to be left behind,   Eureka Street,  Michele Madigan -22 Apr 20  “………..As well as their own real fears for their health in the COVID-19 pandemic as documented in their recent submission (number 25) to the Senate Standing Economics Legislation Committee of Inquiry the Barngarla peoples of South Australia’s Eyre Peninisula are being forced to counter attempts to further their dispossession in new schemes by federal government. The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Committee (BDAC) plead with the federal government to delay the current procedures so that the public hearings regarding the site of the federal nuclear waste facility in the Kimba region may take place ‘on Country’ rather than by teleconference, which would greatly disadvantage their cause.

Even more seriously, the BDAC submission (among others) denounces the purposeful strategy by the Resources Minister in refusing to make a formal declaration. Instead, the Minister made ‘a policy decision’ in naming the chosen site of Napandee, having ‘presented it as a declaration’.

BDAC points out, ‘The Government is now seeking to legislate directly, as an indirect but very effective means to prevent judicial oversight.’ That is, the Minister is seeking to change the current legislation of the National Radioactive Waste Management Act so that Parliament itself will ‘select’ Napandee as the site and thereby stopping any judicial oversight of anything untoward in the long administrative process to date.

As the BDAC submission summarises, ‘This is highly concerning to the Barngarla people as it should be to all Australians.’

In the last few days, the federal Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has written a report critical of the treatment of Barngarla Traditional Owners. It is a unanimous report, endorsed by Coalition members of the Committee.

And there we have it. As Aboriginal communities still await the needed funding to ensure their survival during this pandemic, the wheels of another government ministry are confidently seeking to further dispossess and disempower by such proposed legislation. Shameful indeed.

Michele Madigan is a Sister of St Joseph who has spent the past 38 years working with Aboriginal people in remote areas of SA, in Adelaide and in country SA. Her work has included advocacy and support for senior Aboriginal women of Coober Pedy in their campaign against the proposed national radioactive dump.     https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article/first-nations-communities-continue-to-be-left-behind?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Eureka%20Street%20Daily%20-%20Wednesday%2022%20April%202020&utm_content=Eureka%20Street%20Daily%20-%20Wednesda