Protests set to follow flawed Reactor decision

April 5, 2002

Sydney, April 2002: Key Australian environment groups have today vowed to actively oppose the construction of a second nuclear reactor in Sydney. Greenpeace, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), Friends of the Earth (FoE) and People Against a Nuclear Reactor (PANR) are holding a vigil outside the Lucas Heights nuclear complex as the first of a series of national protests.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), the Commonwealth nuclear regulator, granted a construction license for a controversial second nuclear reactor to the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation and Argentinean company INVAP at xpm today.

"This decision makes a mockery of ARPANSA¹s claim to protect the community from the harmful effects of radiation," said Greenpeace nuclear campaigner James Courtney. "This reactor will put Sydney at risk for at least 40 more years, both as a terrorist target and as a nuclear waste producer."

"People who live near the reactor are deeply concerned about the impacts of this project. There are serious health, environmental and security issues that remain unresolved," said Michael Priceman, the convenor of local residents group PANR. "The community has no faith in ARPANSA¹s safety assessment or the credibility of the wider reactor plan".

The groups maintain that the licence is in breach of the conditions required by the Environmental Impact Statement particularly as there are no ways to deal with spent fuel or nuclear waste.. This concern was highlighted in a recent ARPANSA expert review which recommended that no construction license be issued until nuclear waste issues were resolved.

"If ANSTO can¹t manage their waste they should not be licensed to make it", said Bruce Thompson, FOE nuclear campaigner. " ANSTO faces serious legal and political barriers to reprocessing waste overseas and has no credible plan for storage in Australia."

"The government is turning on a new tap of toxic radioactive waste and is failing to protect either the residents of Sydney or future generations from another 50 years of unnecessary and unsafe reactor operation ", said ACF nuclear campaigner, Dave Sweeney."

All night vigil

Outside ANSTO on New Illawarra Rd, Lucas Heights
From 5pm
Environment groups, Sutherland residents and other concerned citizens will hold a vigil to show their opposition to the reactor. There will be candles, music, films and speakers.

For further information contact:

Visit www.reactnow.org

Bruce Thompson,
FOE Nuclear Campaigner
Ph: 03 9419 8700
Mob: 0417 318 368

Dave Sweeney,
ACF Nuclear Campaigner
Ph: 03 9926 6708
Mob: 0408 317 812

Michael Priceman,
PANR Convenor
Ph: 02 9520 3115

James Courtney,
Greenpeace Nuclear Campaigner
Ph: 02 9263 0359
Mob: 0418 927 821