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Independent Nuclear Waste Commission

The Greens' plan for an independent commission to store and manage nuclear waste.

DEALING RESPONSIBILITY WITH NUCLEAR MISTAKES

There are no long‐term storage solutions for nuclear waste, which is why the Australian Greens believe that nuclear industry activities should be ceased entirely.

The Greens will continue to stand up against the idea promoted by the Pangea Corporation and most recently Bob Hawke that Australia should become the world’s nuclear waste dump.

Each nation must responsibly deal with their nuclear mistakes, not transport their toxic waste ‘out of sight out of mind.’

The old parties have legislated to impose nuclear waste upon unwilling Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Their preferred site at Muckaty station, 120km north of Tennant Creek, is on an earthquake fault and prone to heavy flooding in the wet season.

The Muckaty proposal is currently being contested in the Federal Court by the indigenous peoples who live in the area on the grounds they have not been consulted.

In order to establish a process for site selection based on science, consultation and consent, the Australian Greens propose the establishment of an Independent Commission on the Long Term Safe Storage, Transport and Management of Australia’s Radioactive Waste.

WE MUST FACE UP TO THE NUCLEAR MISTAKES OF THE PAST

The Greens know that Australia must responsibly deal with the nuclear mistakes of the past which have generated a total of:

  • 4020 cubic metres of so‐called low‐level and short‐lived intermediate radioactive waste;
  • Approximately 600 cubic metres of long lived waste in this country; and
  • 32 cubic metres of spent research reactor fuel that is returning to Australia from reprocessing in France and the UK in 2015‐16.

An Independent Commission would apply world's best practice to responsibly deal with Australia's radioactive waste inventory, which will have to involve a more sophisticated management regime than dumping the waste containers in a shed on a cattle station ‐ the current irresponsible approach of the old parties.

The Australian Greens will provide $2.7 million to fund an Independent Commission on the Long Term Safe Storage, Transport and Management of Australia’s Radioactive Waste to deliver:

  • The best practice model for radioactive waste management in Australia;
  • An audit of the volumes of nuclear waste and the activity and contractual arrangements in place for the Commonwealth, States and Territories;
  • An inventory of the waste management procedures currently being used by States and the Commonwealth:
  • Community, independent expert and industry consultations and recommendations that are publicly canvassed;
  • Recommended procedures for ongoing scrutiny of the implementation of the decisions arrived at through this proper independent process.

The Commission will:

  • Consist of 5 people appointed by the Governor‐General on a full time basis;
  • Be genuinely independent, informing itself in any way it sees fit, consulting with anyone it sees fit, receiving written and oral information, conducting public seminars, establishing working groups, and not be subject to the control or direction of the Minister; and
  • Report to the Minister in 15 months.

The fact is that, whether we like it or not, we have radioactive waste in this country, and we must responsibly deal with the consequences of irresponsible decisions made in the past.