Here is one of my favourite screen grabs from Pandora’s Promise: Mr Stone standing at the foot of a used nuclear fuel dry cask with his dosimeter reading 0.10 μSv/hour.
I visited the nearby historic Jupiter Creek gold diggings with my children, and packed my own dosimeter. The major hazard – falling into a mine shaft – was well mitigated by sturdy fencing.
Without spectroscopy facilities, I must assume radon in the area is sufficiently elevated due to the deep shafts and disturbed rock. The point is that the diggings will not be closed to the public on account of radiation hazard. Therefore, when a potentially transformative economic opportunity – the responsible stewardship of foreign used nuclear fuel for use in efficient next-generation fast reactors – is opposed by traditional nuclear rejectors, what is the actual objection? What is their justification for seeking to lead the public against their perception of the hazard, no matter the magnitude of forsaken opportunity?
Obviously, such a facility, once established, would not be freely accessible like the old mine is, and would be operated within strict guidelines under the authority of our capable regulators. (If tours, including school children, can be arranged, then so much the better.) Is this due to greater danger? No, of course not. But just like fences around old mine shafts, we know how to mitigate the hazard presented by the irradiated material within the thick concrete-and-steel casks. We know how to manage this “nuclear waste” while it waits to be recycled for clean, emissions-free energy.
We know, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Plenty of leeches at Jupiter Ck I seem to remember. The radiation hotpsots in the Adelaide Hills are Houghton cemetery and private property 2km south of Myponga dam. You might get a few uSv/h there.
When the casks of vitrified ex HIFAR material return from France I think they should be draped in a tarpaulin as should some mockups filled with gravel. Give an anti a Geiger counter and see if they can work out which ones are genuine. If gravel gets chosen we must ban it.