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    Claudia Tregoning

    NUCLEAR WASTE DISPOSAL – AUSTRALIA – A simple solution is in the Mine!
    Unfortunately uranium miners are staying silent on the subject of nuclear waste disposal, having supplied and benefitted from the sale of the initial ingredient, uranium ore.
    Making others do their dirty work! Australia has had more than 40 years to create a nuclear waste disposal system, dump or facility. Or ban uranium export until this is found.
    One wonders why uranium miners and exporters in Australia are not asked to fund nuclear waste facilities, or provide their emptying short life mines as mandatory nuclear waste dumps., as cradle to grave projects. Why dig more holes? Use the holes we have for nuclear waste disposal, whilst ensuring rehabilitation of the ‘void’. No new environment or farm will be harmed by the process. The transport infrastructure and township is already there. We have Ranger Uranium mine, now closing in The Northern Territory – Start Here. The next could be Olympic Dam in South Australia. This would be funded by the customer wanting their waste disposed of, creating jobs, whilst the environment would be progressively rehabilitated. At a time of Climate Change, and a requirement by man to rehabilitate and ensure his planet is safe for the next generation, here is the answer.
    Overseas, some ideas for nuclear waste disposal have been: to place it into purpose drilled boreholes, another was to send it into space, but NASA found this too expensive, another recent one is to send nuclear waste to sun, but this was found unsafe.
    As background on this topic. I am an illustrator, since 1971. Most of my work is published. This has included most subjects, and have been contracted to Department of Mines and Energy, Fisheries, Education, Conservation and others. Deconstructing projects to illustrate them gives insight not always available to others, and may offer solutions. As an example, I illustrated an addendum (The questions and answers) to a significant Australia/ USA uranium mine proposal in 1979, The Jabiluka Project, Northern Territory – this was then, the largest uranium ore- body in the world. This project did not proceed.
    At the time, the world was approving uranium mines to feed a uranium hungry planet, Nuclear waste would be more than 40 years away. Or now.
    Today, I would say: No new uranium mine anywhere in exporting countries should be approved without within its design, capacity to store and dispose of nuclear waste as a cradle to grave responsible model. Why make other sites ‘radioactive’? Why look for sites, rather than solutions, or build expensive monuments to it? Dispose of it. Whilst some may be recycled, as is being explored overseas. We may not need more uranium mines in the future. These are short lived, only 20-30 years, modelled on the capacity of their tailings dam. We know what happens to tailings dams when extended over their lifespan or increased! Two come to mind.
    Nuclear waste dumps should be seen as ‘reverse uranium mines’ in the vicinity of citizens, requiring all the approvals of a new mine. Why ask a farmer to volunteer his farm? When one should make it mandatory that nuclear waste is placed back into the mine of where it came as uranium ore. Simple science.
    This commentary is my opinion, and conclusion, from illustrating like subject matter.


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