Just in and released on normal news channels as if it was par for the course…..
Nuclear winner: The case for South Australia storing nuclear waste
Arguments in favour of nuclear waste storage in South Australia should not be so easily dismissed. There are valid economic and moral arguments made in the Royal Commission’s interim report, writes Mike Steketee.
It may be the ultimate NIMBY proposal: Australia taking the world’s nuclear waste, or at least a good chunk of it, and burying it deep in the South Australian outback.
Surely you would have to be out of your mind, as a government or a voter, to volunteer for such a project?
Would you feel better if we were paid for it? How about $5 billion a year over 30 years and $2 billion a year for the following 40 years? They are the figures mentioned in the “tentative findings” issued this week by South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission headed by former governor Kevin Scarce.
Many would respond that no amount of money would be worth it. But as well as the economic case outlined in the report, there is a moral argument, which goes like this. We have the world’s largest known uranium resources and are the world’s third largest producer (after Kazakhstan and Canada) of uranium for nuclear reactors (but hopefully not for nuclear weapons, although the strict safeguards on which we insist are no guarantee).
The waste from nuclear fuel from our uranium, together with that from other producers, is piling up around the world in temporary storages. Some of it is very long-lived and very dangerous.
If reprocessed, it can be turned into nuclear weapons. A less complex option is to use radioactive material to make a dirty bomb. In the age of terrorism, that is a real concern.
So far not a single country has built a permanent facility to safely dispose of the waste, although two – Sweden and Finland – have ones underway. Australia has some of the most stable geological formations in the world in outback South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
That is, the earth has not moved in these regions for millions of years. They are arid and flat, meaning there also has been no groundwater movement. And they are very sparsely populated.
You can argue that countries that opt for nuclear power should bear the responsibility for dealing with the consequences, including waste. Like earthquake-prone Japan? Or Pakistan, where terrorists run riot? The nuclear waste lying around in temporary facilities is a threat to the world, including Australia.
[link to http://www.abc.net.au]
South Australia ponders nuclear waste options
The initial findings of a royal commission into the merits of South Australia becoming a hub for uranium mining and waste storage raised as many questions as they answered.
Adjusting his luminous orange tie, royal commissioner Kevin Scarce took a deep breath and stepped up to the podium. Framed by the enormous pipe organ that looms over the marble-pillared auditorium of Adelaide Town Hall, the 63-year-old former South Australian governor was on stage to preach the Good News, but as he was no doubt well aware, the 500-odd congregation assembled below were of decidedly mixed faith.
“I know this is an emotive issue for many people,” he said, “but I ask that we respect one another.”
Just how ambitious that request was became clear when Scarce put forward a premise even more audacious than his necktie – that South Australia’s seemingly hopeless descent into economic oblivion could be reversed by importing 138,000 tonnes of high-level nuclear waste from all over the world, reaping $445 billion in profits over 120 years.
Cue the incredulous guffaws, the cries of indignation, and the gradual tightening of Scarce’s jaw. It was going to be a long week.
The initial findings of the royal commission indicate that for an outlay of $145 billion, South Australia could set itself up to take 13 per cent of the world’s high-level nuclear waste.
Monday night in Adelaide was just the first of four presentations of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s initial findings, a whistlestop tour of South Australia that culminated on Thursday in Mount Gambier.
The royal commission’s brief was to examine the feasibility of South Australia mining more uranium, processing it, using it for nuclear energy and then storing the waste – turning the state into a value-adding, vertically integrated hub of radioactivity.
The initial findings, based on interviews with 128 witnesses and more than 250 submissions, will be out for public comment for a five-week period before informing a final report due on May 6.
What the royal commission’s expert panel determined was that there is potential to expand mining, but little scope for processing in an already oversupplied market, and insufficient electricity demand in South Australia for nuclear energy at present.
Where an opportunity was identified, however, was within the casks of hazardous nuclear waste accumulating in the temporary storage sites of countries where nuclear power is up and running.
Scarce pointed to Finland and Sweden, where massive underground storage facilities are set to hold the respective country’s radioactive leftovers.
“South Australia offers a unique combination of attributes well suited to being able to do this safely,” he said.
“Stable geology, relatively low levels of seismic activity across large parts of the state, the arid environment, a stable economic and political structure, and pre-existing sophisticated frameworks for securing long-term agreements.”
The only thing lacking is the high-level radioactive material to store in the first place – domestically, Australia produces low- and mid-level waste mostly related to nuclear medicine, for which the federal government is seeking a storage site in a separate process.
The initial findings of the royal commission indicate that for an outlay of $145 billion, South Australia could set itself up to take 13 per cent of the world’s high-level nuclear waste, generating 1500 jobs during a construction period of 25 years and a further 600 jobs in operation.
By offering a waste storage solution, the initial findings indicated South Australia could potentially find more customers for its uranium via fuel-leasing mechanisms – a kind of yellowcake rental service, where countries take Australian uranium and as part of the deal Australia manages the spent fuel.
Scandinavia did not just serve as a model for how to store the waste, but also in how to make money out of it.
Just as Norway established a lucrative sovereign wealth fund from its oil resources, the royal commission has proposed a similar scheme that grows out of the profits to be gleaned from becoming a global nuclear repository.
Scarce urged attendees in Adelaide to contemplate the state’s future, but when question time arrived, the locals appeared to be thinking further ahead than he had in mind.
[link to http://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au (secure)]
#NuclearCommissionSAust Ethics – an oxymoron – theme for this week
ethics-nuclearThere’ s nothing ethical about pleasing a few greedy entrepreneurs that think they can make a fortune out of introducing Small Nuclear Reactors to Australia – as the follow-up to South Australia taking in global radioactive trash.
There’s nothing ethical about the lie that taking in global radioactive trash will solve South Australia’s unemployment problem .
There’s nothing ethical about planning to saddle South Australia with the biggest white elephant and stranded asset in human history. A radioactive trash dump makes no money. (That’s why no other country wants to do this)
I could imagine one scenario in which taking in radioactive trash might be ethical. Imagine if one country – for example, Japan, decided to completely shut down all nuclear activities, and had trouble organising a waste repository. A global good citizen, such as Australia, might help them out in this.
But there’s no global citizenship in the Royal Commission plan. It’s not only about greed: it’s also about keeping the toxic global nuclear industry going, at a time when it is pretty much in terminal decline.
February 20, 2016 Posted by Christina MacPherson |
Next steps in the push for South Australia as world’s nuclear toilet
scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINFriends of the Earth 20 Feb 16 The ‘Tentative Findings’ report is posted at: [link to nuclearrc.sa.gov.au]
The deadline for written submissions responding to the interim report is March 18 (see the Royal Commission website for details).
The final report will be published in May 2016. [link to http://www.foe.org.au]
9 News 19 Feb 16 The report is due on May 6 and the state government will not make any decisions before the end of the year.
That could include putting the issue to a referendum at the next state election, due in 2018
February 20, 2016 Posted by Christina MacPherson |
[link to antinuclear.net]
This is the fastest i’ve ever seen them release news like this as if they have already decided…..
It’s life as we know it, but only just.