Letters to editor

Community is trivialised

Mr Wilson makes the case for the government, leading up to the local government plebiscite on the long term permanent storage of nuclear waste and how safe for Kimba it will be and it is only a matter for the landowner and maybe their neighbours.

The community is secondary and has always been trivialised by the government's view.

The government record in most matters nuclear, despite all the assurances, is poor when analysed over the last 60 years, from Maralinga to Woomera.

At Woomera it is now believed the waste stored there is a mess and will require, according to CSIRO, $30 million to rectify.

Much play has been made of the French and their champagne.

Comparing a luxury wine to bulk export grain, meat and wool is misleading because bulk food commodities, in a very competitive export market is a totally different marketing proposition to a niche marketed luxury.

A literally bread and butter issue versus a limited discretionary very occasional splash.

I have come to resent nuclear waste not for any physical threat but because of the presumption that it is vital to our future.

The excessive promotion by the government ends up making it sound like a totally harmless substance with great benefits for all.

The intermediate waste will be stored at  Kimba along with the low level waste, if we are the "winners".

And it remains completely unresolved as the government tells us in their most recent publication of November 2016, until a long term solution is found.

Many theories abound about intermediate waste but it is clearly not resolved by the promoters (our Commonwealth government) by their own admission.

Finally as I have stated ad nauseum their are many locations on federal land all over Australia and most  obviously at Woomera or near where most of our nuclear waste is created on the edge of our capital city, because after all nuclear waste is completely safe.

Our government has told us so.

The reason the nuclear waste is not permanently placed on federal land, given by government representatives is that any suitable federal land has not been "offered" by the government.

At Woomera it is only “a small area” in a region that has accepted rockets whizzing around for the last 50 years, compared to the 100 hectares of land on offer at Kimba.


Nuclear concerns

NUCLEAR waste is the key concern for people in the current debate.

And many tiresome claims fly around.

So I will keep this brief.

The principle argument of the SA Conservation Council, the Australian Conservation Foundation and MAPW (Medical Association for Prevention of War, Australia) has been that we need stop and hold an independent inquiry into the production and storage of nuclear waste in Australia.

This is hardly a radical or unreasonable suggestion.

The government's arguments about nuclear medicine have been excessive and at times misleading. So it is good we all agree that regardless of the construction of a facility or not, Australians will be able to continue to access nuclear medicines.

We have two major problems with the current plan: firstly the current proposal to move and temporarily store intermediate level waste for 100 years is well below world's best practice.

One only has to look at the government's track record, with the leaking drums at Woomera and the poor quality “clean ups” at Maralinga, to be concerned about the government's future handling of nuclear materials.

Secondly, the government is proposing to increase the amount of long lived intermediate radioactive waste produced at ANSTO (Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation), when we still have not sorted out how to properly deal with our existing waste.

They are saying there will be less volume of waste due to a new Synroc process but it is not the volume that is the issue, it is the amount of long-lived radioactivity.

I can guarantee future generations will not be worried about volume!

There has been no public consultation in Sydney or nationally about making even more intermediate nuclear waste - ANSTO has no social licence to do so. 

This increased production of nuclear waste for a nuclear medicine export business is heavily subsidised by taxpayers and will leave us with significantly more long-lived radioactive material.

ANSTO has never produced a transparent business case, taking into account the cost of infrastructure, the insurance, the reactor decommissioning and the waste costs that shows otherwise.

If the government wishes to be a good global citizen it would be much cheaper (and much cleaner) to subsidise vaccination programs for children overseas.

After 20 years of trying to land this highly toxic long lived waste on a community, it is time to stop, review the situation and plan properly.

What we need is an inquiry into nuclear waste production and storage.

Not yet another round of community division and distress.

DR MARGARET BEAVIS, Medical Association for Prevention of War, Australia

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