The State Government of South Australia maintains that it is a good idea for this state to become the site of a global High Level Nuclear Waste Dump. It plans to store a large proportion of the world’s spent nuclear reactor fuel rods deep underground on Eyre Peninsular. Part of this Peninsular is a food bowl for the state, the nation and the world.
The South Australian government plans to receive the high level nuclear waste via a purpose built port in South Australia and via the port of Darwin. The waste will be trucked across Australia for firstly, above ground holding, and then permanent geologic storage inside cooper tubes designed in Scandinavia.
The state government has issued a Royal Commission into SA’s role in the nuclear future. Chapter 7 of the report concentrates upon the safety of nuclear industry. Chapter 7 makes many statements about the comparative contribution various sources, natural and man made, make to a public annual radiation dose.
All of the statements contained in Chapter 7 of the report rely upon monitoring of radiation in the environment from all sources, and it relies upon estimates of the doses received by member of the public. Unlike radiation workers in any field, for example in mining or medicine, the members of the public are not monitored for their individual personal doses on a day by day basis. And so the annual dose for members of the public is a an average, a best guess.
Where governmental radiation protection regimes are trusted by the people of a nation, and where government is trusted by those people to release information in an open and honest manner, and where that information is released in full and in a timely manner, then such a people, such a society enjoys the trust of government. And the people tend to accept the facts as presented by government. The job of government is to be open and honest. The job of the people is to guard against deception, delay and falsehood.
Radiation monitoring is a primary duty of government. For example South Australian water supplies have been monitored in this way for many decades. Generally, few people are interested in the monitoring results. This is true of any monitoring, whether it be for smog in the air, bacteria in the water supply, and the safety of food. We tend to trust that government authorities will inform the public in an open, honest, and timely fashion.
The government of South Australia has advised the people of this state that the decision to proceed or not to proceed with the development of a global graveyard for the world’s waste reactor cores is too important to be left to the mere democratic processes we all know, love and suffer loss in war for. That is, the government has determined that we are not allowed a free and secret ballot on the question. The Premier of the State has advised us that he will make the decision in due course.
After a relentless campaign since 2011 to convince us, via decrees from Flinders and Adelaide University, that the Linear No Threshold Model of radiological protection is invalid – though there is at least insufficient evidence to support Hormesis as a cheap alternative (much to the chagrin of the uranium lobby), the power elite in this State is now denying us the right and freedom to vote on the matter. There is to be a long term propaganda process whereby local “community juries” – small groups of individuals drawn from the community by the government – will be inculcated into the consensus the government and industry require.
I have a major problem with the SA government plan for a high level nuclear waste dump located in this state.