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Australia news live: Aukus subs deal includes commitment to dispose of nuclear waste; Greens say plan is ‘mortgaging our future’

Guardian 14 Mar 23

Marles: Aukus program includes commitment to dispose of spent nuclear reactors

Marles: the sealed nuclear reactor is our friend, because by virtue of having a sealed reactor, we can provide assurance in respect of every piece of nuclear material through the life cycle of the nuclear material.

We are making a commitment that we will dispose of the nuclear reactor. That is a significant commitment to make. This is going to require a facility to be built in order to do a disposal that will be remote from populations. We are announcing that will be on defence land, current or future.

Now, to be clear, the first of the [nuclear material] we will dispose of will not happen until the 2050s, but within the year, we will announce a process by with this facility will be identified.

We are also a proud signatory to the treaty of Rarotonga. That commits us to not operate nuclear weapons from our territory.

Richard Marles says he is confident that the agreement will hold, even if America has a change in political direction……….

Q: Is it possible that we’ll be maintaining and operating three classes of submarines? That is the Virginia, the Collins and the Aukus submarines? And if so, is there any concern? And can I ask the admiral as well, is there any concern in defence about the prospect of operating three different submarines?

Marles: We obviously will be operating two as a result of this announcement. You know, the preference is to operate as few classes as possible.

Vice Admiral Mead: And once we work with the submarines coming to Western Australia and develop our own capabilities on the Virginias, then the move to SNN-AUKUS, which will have incredible commonality with propulsion systems, platforms, weapons, combat systems and sensors…………………. It remains the position of the Albanese government, that there won’t be foreign bases in Australia and this will not be a foreign base. It’s a forward rotation.…………..

Marles: ‘This is as good a value-for-money spend in defence as you will get’..……

Q: Is a high-level nuclear waste dump the price that South Australia will have to pay for the jobs that go to the state?


Well, as I indicated earlier there will be a process that we will determine in the next 12 months … how the site will be identified. You’ve made a leap that we won’t make for some time. It will be a while before a site is identified but we will establish a process.

Q: The $9bn the government is spending over the forwards has a neutral impact on the budget, $6bn because of what was allocated to the attack class but $3bn is coming from the integrated investment program. Can you give more detail about … where that money is coming from? And if not today, when?

Marles: I won’t give you the detail today except you’re right to identify the integrated investment program and obviously the strategic review has had a good look at all of that. It will be plain in time of the budget.

Q: Why not now, though? You must have an idea where those cuts are going to be? In the interests of transparency, people want to judge what the opportunity cost of the nuclear submarines are. Unless you’re suggesting it’s cuts first and work it out later? Where are the cuts coming from?

Marles: Well, no. You will get all of that information before the budget, which is measured in just a couple of months, so you can judge us at that point.……………………………………… more


March 15, 2023 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, wastes, weapons and war

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