Containment is documentary by Peter Galison, Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University, and Robb Moss, Professor and Chair of the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. It looks at three critical contemporary radioactive sites where containment has become the central issue.
In view of the recent proposals to establish nuclear waste sites in South Australia this is a timely and important movie. It has not been widely promoted in Australia, but Adelaide has the rare chance of a screening:
6pm Monday 19 September at the Capri Cinema, 141 Goodwood Road, Goodwood.
In February 2015 SA Premier Jay Weatherill announced a Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel ‘Cycle’. The title of’Cycle’ is misleading as the process is actually a chain leading to the final destination as nuclear waste. This investigation is separate from the federal proposal for a national nuclear waste dump for Australia’s waste.
The Royal Commission handed down its final report in May 2016 recommending SA accept the world’s high level nuclear waste for final disposal for profit. Independent economic analysis throws into doubt the economics of the proposal. There is a very real risk that SA won’t make a profit and may end up either going into debt to dig the underground dump, or be left storing high level waste above ground near the coast indefinitely.
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.
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.
- 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?
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.