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Australia Power

Dump World's Nuclear Waste In Australia, Says Ex-PM Hawke 213

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-wants-mutant-kangaroos dept.
mdsolar writes: "[Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke said] Australia bore a responsibility to assist with the safe disposal of radioactive waste, given the ample space the country possesses. 'If Australia has – as we do – the safest remote locations for storing the world's nuclear waste, we have a responsibility to make those sites available for this purpose,' he said. Hawke based this conclusion on a 25-year-old report made by Ralph Slayter, whom the former prime minister appointed as Australia's first chief scientist back in 1989. According to Slayter's report, some of the remote reaches of the Northern Territory and Western Australia could provide apt dumping grounds for radioactive waste."
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Dump World's Nuclear Waste In Australia, Says Ex-PM Hawke

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  • by Scottingham (2036128) on Friday May 23, 2014 @10:16AM (#47074073)
    Australia sees that the 'waste' is actually >95% fertile material, i.e. fissionable FUEL.

    "Yes, yes, we will take all of your...waste...all your energy are belong to us!"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @10:33AM (#47074225)

    Global Warming != Drier Climate

    The fundamental lack of thought from some people....

  • by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:04AM (#47074399) Homepage

    Also keep in mind, the size of the seismic activity needed to harm the facility in any way would have to be so large that any hazardous waste leak that resulted from it would be more of an afterthought compared to the destruction from the quake itself.

    Destruction of what? The whole idea is to site a nuclear waste dump in the middle of nowhere. What would a local earthquake damage? Some mountains in the middle of a remote desert?

    Possible leakage of stored waste would seem to be far more of a potential problem than toppling cactus and shifting rocks around.

  • by Rei (128717) on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:07AM (#47074415) Homepage

    True. But it is still a fact that Australia is predicted to get drier in the interior [typepad.com]. And a hotter, too. It's already undergone a statistically significant measurable shift in its climate.

    Anyway, I think Australia would really benefit from this concept. They need to get it approved just once (scale won't influence the rate of NIMBYism, those opposed to the repository would oppose it at any scale), they'll get a HUGE amount of income for little work, and they'll pretty much have nuclear power suppliers held hostage thereafter, as none are going to want to go back to having to try to get local permission to build a repository after their public has been told that it wouldn't happen. And they'll have a tremendous resource for any sort of future isotope or fuel refining that might prove economically viable. I mean, imagine that... picture having all of the world's spent fuel, and then having a technical solution or geopolitical situation that makes it cheaper to get fuel from the waste than to mine new uranium. You're suddenly the near-exclusive nuclear fuel supplier to the entire world. Or supplier of medical isotopes, or isotopes for goods irradiation, or whatever else the future may demand.

  • by physicsphairy (720718) on Friday May 23, 2014 @11:42AM (#47074637) Homepage

    I would call sparsely populated a significant security advantage. Post proper signage and you don't have to supply much doubt than any unauthorized person in the vicinity is up to no good. None of the fake delivery guy nonsense that works in the movies. You stand a good chance of intercepting the hostiles before they even are close enough to see the facility.

    As any bank robber can tell you, the most important part of the operation is the getaway. Walking in and taking what you want at gunpoint is comparatively easy. The next step is to get out of there and lose the authorities by getting to where you can hide and blend in. When the getaway involves hundreds of miles of empty single access road? You're screwed. No criminal or terrorist force is going to come close to matching what the government can dish out for firepower. Their only hope is to get away before the government can mobilize, which, in this case, they have plenty of time to do.

    Also, I believe these contaminants are buried deep underground. That's foolproof security. A lock can be picked to bypass having to use the official key. When the security mechanism is a million tonnes of rock there is no shortcut, the terrorists are stuck using the exact same equipment and accessways as everyone else to extract the waste.

    The final step is to get the radioactive waste to the target, which is a population area. Terrorists might not care what population area it is, which means by storing it near *any* population area you have saved them the trouble of doing any work to get it to its target. Having access to it for just a few minutes could be enough to do all the damage they want to do. Not so with a remote site.

  • by RockClimbingFool (692426) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:26PM (#47075197)
    Do you want Mad Max? Because THAT'S how you get Mad Max.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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