SA Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

By Anne Wharton

A couple of weeks ago I attended one of the workshops run by the Conservation Council to help people go to their MPs to express their views on the proposed Nuclear Waste Dumps.

There are 2 quite distinct proposals – the first is for a high level Nuclear Waste Dump for SA (proposed by the SA Government after the Royal Commission). The second is the low-to-medium level dump proposed by the Federal Government.  The workshop was excellent, only 2 hours, and really useful for a lay person like myself.  There are 2 more workshops still to go, dates are as follows.

Register online at Conservation SA to attend.

hookina-springs

As MPs are saying that few people are talking to them about these issues, I urge you to email/write/visit your local MP re the high-level dump. The SA proposal is particularly pressing.  This issue is huge and needs our action urgently.  It is thought that the Premier will be making a statement to Parliament in early November and could possibly try to overturn the current legislation which stipulates ‘it is illegal to construct or operate a nuclear waste dump in SA’ (SA Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000).

If we don’t make our views heard, this is taken as tacit agreement.

Some facts:

  • New Mexico, USA is the only country with a deep underground nuclear waste facility anywhere in the world – already it has had a couple of very serious accidents affecting workers amongst other environmental impacts. (See Guardian article on 2014 incident)
  • Finland have started building a waste facility but it will only start receiving used fuel next decade and will only take their own domestic waste.  The SA Nuclear Royal Commission proposes we import 20 times their planned volume.
  • The economics of the Royal Commission are shoddy – as pointed out by research by the Australia Institute and Professor Richard Blandy of UniSA.

If other countries with extensive nuclear industries have been unable to solve the problem of high-level nuclear waste, what makes South Australia think that it can solve this enormous problem?

One way to keep up with what’s going on around these issues is to sign on to No Dump Alliance nodumpalliance.org.au

I urge you again to email/phone/visit your MP and make your views known.  If this huge project ever gets off the ground, there will be no turning back.

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3 thoughts on “SA Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

  1. Anne

    Thanks for this post. I agree that a high-level dump is not the way to go. Extremely doubtful economics as well as real issues about long-term environmental and health impacts. I have much less doubt though about low-level waste dumps for medical waste etc. My understanding is that this waste currently exists in most hospitals and various other places in Australia – but not stored in any organised way.

    • Interestingly, medical waste is an infinitesimal amount of the low-medium level waste that Oz wants to store, I think only about 1%. Much of what is medical waste can be stored at Lucas Heights. Conservation Council have an excellent leaflet on this proposal which explains what sort of waste it is, where it comes from and where it is stored now.

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