What the…? According to the ABC news tonight, the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission of South Australia thinks that nuclear power plants are a bad idea but storing nuclear waste for profit is not.
Essentially, the South Australian state government wants to build a nuclear waste dump. Not for the miniscule amount of nuclear waste we currently produce ourselves, but for the massive amounts produced in other parts of the world.
And what will South Australia get for this? About 1500 jobs and some revenue. Billions are mooted but I would suggest that even trillions would not be enough. Not for a potential threat that will last pretty much forever.
Why forever? Because when the half life of something is in the thousands of years, it is effectively there forever. And our short-sighted politicians want to make this nightmare our problem. Also forever.
Oh but nuclear waste is now safe.
Is it? Is our technology really reliable enough to predict what will happen in 10, 20, 100 years time?
Yes, the Australian landmass is highly stable – in comparison to countries that sit on top of fault lines, but we do still have earthquakes – not often and not very big ones, but the ground does move. Can we guarantee that no earthquake will ever occur under or even just near a waste containment facility?
Indigenous leaders already think the government doesn’t much care so long as nothing happens under Adelaide.
And what of the spectre of war? Australia may not be a likely target for a great big bomb, but what about terrorist activity? If you create a whopping big, nuclear containment area full of super toxic waste, aren’t you just creating a tempting target for someone with an axe to grind?
Then again, maybe it wouldn’t even take a terrorist. Maybe all it would take is a guy with a hangover making an oopsie.
Or how about Climate Change and the geography we already have? Take a look at the video below. It’s of Lake Eyre…which is situated in South Australia. Funny bout that…
We once had a huge inland sea of which Lake Eyre is an ephemeral remnant. Is it really so impossible to image the dry inland becoming wet again thanks to Climate Change? I’m sure the designers of Fukushima never imaged an earthquake would break the plant and allow the sea in, but it did, proof that with nuclear, you can never plan for a bad enough ‘worst case’ scenario.
The truth is, none of us can predict the future. Nevertheless, it isn’t hard to imagine what might happen if something did go wrong. Much of inland Australia sits on top of massive, underground aquifers. If those aquifers become polluted with nuclear waste, the Red Centre could easily become the Dead Centre.
This is such a bad idea, I’m stunned any politician is capable of putting it forward with a straight face.