Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Localisation: Alice Springs NT
|Posted: Wed 12 Sep - 18:13 (2012) Post subject: Radioactive waste facility and Darwin Council
|Darwin council concerned about nuke dump safety
Is it not a bit too late They should have asked those questions before the Elections
| Kristy O'Brien |
The Darwin City Council wants to know what safety systems would be in place for transporting waste from the proposed Muckaty Station nuclear dump near Tennant Creek.
The council has weighed into the debate about Australia's first nuclear waste dump which is expected to be built at Muckaty Station.
Councillors want the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT) to seek advice about risk management systems for transporting nuclear waste.
Lord Mayor Katrina Fong Lim says the waste would be taken to Muckaty Station on Northern Territory roads, railways or through the Darwin Port.
"It is actually about the risk management of how it could go," she said.
The council also wants LGANT to press the Federal Government for an inquiry into whether Muckaty Station is an appropriate place to store nuclear waste.
Radioactive waste facility
The search for a site at which to dispose of or store Australia's low and intermediate-level radioactive wastes commenced in 1980. A formal public process of site selection that had commenced in 1991 finally failed in 2004. On 7 December 2005, the Australian government passed legislation, the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act, to facilitate the siting of a radioactive waste facility in the Northern Territory. Section four of the Act allowed the Australian government to schedule potential sites for a waste facility, and three Northern Territory sites were proposed under the legislation. Following criticisms made by the Northern Land Council, in December 2006 the legislation was revised to also allow Aboriginal Land Councils to nominate potential sites for a facility. In May 2007 the Northern Land Council, on behalf of Ngapa clan traditional owners, nominated a small area within Muckaty Station (for which the Ngapa had traditional responsibility) to be considered as a possible site for the facility. In September 2007, the government accepted the nomination, bringing the total number of possible sites to four. The Government of the Northern Territory opposed the nomination, but could not prevent it. Ngapa clan members have volunteered a 4-square-kilometre (1.5 sq mi) area to be considered for the facility, which is expected to require 1 square kilometre of land.
A parliamentary inquiry and media reports indicated that the Indigenous traditional owners of Muckaty Station were divided over whether it should host a radioactive waste facility. Some members of the Ngapa clan supported hosting the facility, while other traditional owners of Muckaty opposed it. There were also claims that some members of the Ngapa clan were among those who had signed a petition opposing the facility. Political scientist Rebecca Stringer criticised the federal government's approach to the siting of the waste facility, arguing that it undermined the Indigenous owners' sovereignty and control of their own lands. Environmental organisations and the Australian Greens are opposed to using the site for a dump.
In 2009, the Australian government received a consultant's report that examined Muckaty Station as one of four possible sites for a nuclear waste facility in the Northern Territory. The report was released in 2010. As of February 2012, the Muckaty Station site was the only one still under consideration by the government.
In 2010, Mark Lane Jangala and other traditional owners instructed law firms Maurice Blackburn, Surry Partners (a firm that includes human rights lawyer George Newhouse), and lawyer Julian Burnside to commence legal proceedings against the Northern Land Council and the Australian government in the Federal Court of Australia to stop the nomination of Muckaty Station as a nuclear waste storage facility. The Federal Court challenge will proceed early in 2013 before Justice Tony North, who handled the Tampa affair. According to a June 2012 report in The Age, some indigenous owners "will testify they were never consulted, while others [will] say that they were not properly consulted and never consented to the nomination".
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