The CSIRO will spend $29.7 million on a three-year project to conduct an assessment, separation and treatment of radioactive waste at a CSIRO facility located on Department of Defence land near Woomera, South Australia. The Woomera facility is one of Australia’s largest storage sites for low and intermediate-level radioactive waste.
The Australian government, at the behest of the United States, has decided to boycott major United Nations nuclear disarmament negotiations beginning on March 27. It argues that US nuclear weapons are essential for Australia’s security and therefore should not be prohibited under international law.
To most South Australians, Labor Premier Jay Weatherill’s plan for a vast outback dump to host imported high-level nuclear waste is dead, needing only a decent send-off.
Nevertheless, the Premier keeps trying to resurrect the scheme. Why?
The United Nations adopted a historic resolution on December 24 to launch negotiations this year on a treaty to render nuclear weapons illegal.
Australia opposed the resolution. The government said US nuclear weapons are essential for security and their use could be justified in certain circumstances. This position was opposed by Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and New Zealand which supported the resolution. The General Assembly vote was 113 nations in favour and 35 against, with 13 abstentions.
Usually, when people mention dying in a ditch, they are discussing something they would much rather avoid. But for the South Australian state Labor government of Premier Jay Weatherill, dying in a ditch seems a positive ambition.
For Weatherill and his cabinet, the “ditch” is the government’s plan to host up to a third of the world’s high-level nuclear waste in a giant dump in the state’s remote north. The dump scheme was rejected decisively on November 6 by a government-organised “Citizens’ Jury”.
Greenhouse gases are rising so fast that it could soon be “game over” for the climate, a leading scientist warned in response to a new study published on November 9 that finds the planet could be heading for more than 7°C warming within a lifetime.
The study, published in the journal Science Advances, reported that the United Nations’ most accurate estimates on the “business as usual” rate of global warming may actually be vastly underestimated.
To the fury of business spokespeople, South Australia’s “Citizens’ Jury on Nuclear Waste” has effectively exploded plans by the state Labor government to host the world’s largest nuclear waste dump.
The jury was intended by Premier Jay Weatherill to lend his scheme a garnish of popular consent. But in their final report on November 6, the jurors instead concluded that the dump plan should not go ahead “under any circumstances”. The vote was overwhelming, with two-thirds of jury members opposing the government’s projections.
Hundreds of people attended the first leg of the 100% Renewables Roadshow in Adelaide on October 31, demonstrating strong community support for renewable energy in South Australia.
Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke spoke about their Homegrown Power Plan, which maps out a proposal for how Australia can get to 100% renewable energy by 2030.
About 3000 people rallied on the steps of Parliament House on October 16 to protest against the state and federal governments’ plans to create nuclear waste dumps in South Australia.
This year the state government held the expensive — and some would say biased — Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle, which found South Australia was the perfect place to store the world's high-grade nuclear waste. It has just initiated a public consultation into the general idea of storing nuclear waste, which will continue into next year.
Efforts to halt plans for nuclear waste dumping in South Australia have made important advances in recent weeks, with environmental, trade union, indigenous and other bodies pushing for a joint opposition campaign.
At a September 16 meeting called by the peak labour movement body, SA Unions, and the Maritime Union of Australia, members of at least 14 organisations resolved to work toward forming a coordinating committee “around the common objective of preventing nuclear waste dumps being established in South Australia”.