Australian nuclear waste island dump plan

Diet Simon 02.10.2004 12:03 Themen: Atom
The Australian government says it’s planning to store nuclear waste from a research reactor near Sydney on an undisclosed island.
Environment Minister Ian Campbell says it’s the safest option.

This follows abandonment of a plan to truck waste from the Lucas Heights reactor for about 2,000 kilometres on dodgy roads to a desert site in the state of South Australia.

The plan was fiercely resisted by Aborigines [] living near Woomera where atom bombs were exploded without their knowledge 50 years ago. Many people still suffer the effects.

The issue has so incensed South Australians that it could cost the governing Liberal Party of Prime Minister John Howard a marginal Adelaide seat in the October 9 Australian election. Many see abandonment of the Woomera plan as an attempt to save the seat in what is being seen as a very tight race.

Senator Campbell says if the opposition Labor Party wants to criticise the island dump plan, it needs to present an alternative policy. He says no decision has been made on which island it’s to be.

Senator Campbell says the policy recognises there is no site on the mainland that would be accepted by the local population. "It's a decision that reflects the view that there's not a single state or territory in Australia that wants to have waste in their backyard," he said.

"We have gone for the safe and practical option of storing it on an offshore island. We'll be guided as to what island that is by an expert scientific committee which will make sure that we get a safe and secure site for the long-term."

Senator Campbell says the scientific committee will also address transport issues.

"Waste from wherever it's produced in Australia needs to be transported, and so it needs to be transported in the safest, most effective way that doesn't threaten human health," he said.
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