Nuclear dump backdown spells end for new reactor

July 14, 2004

Friends of the Earth, Australia (FoEA) today welcomed the Howard government's decision to abandon plans to impose a national nuclear waste dump on South Australia.

Loretta O'Brien, co-ordinator of FoEA's Nuclear Freeways project, said: ‘Friends of the Earth is delighted that the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta – the senior Aboriginal women's council from northern SA - have been successful in their 6-year battle against the nuclear dump. And it's a great victory for all the communities along the transport corridor from the Lucas Heights reactor plant in Sydney to the Woomera dump site.’

Of the 18 councils between Lucas Heights and Woomera, 16 have opposed the nuclear dump and the trucking of nuclear waste through their communities.

Firm waste management plans are an essential condition for approval of a licence application to operate the new nuclear reactor now under construction at Lucas Heights. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, operator of the Lucas Heights reactor plant, is expected to lodge a reactor operating licence application in August to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency.

FoEA calls on the Howard government to abandon the planned new reactor. According to FoEA nuclear campaigner Dr Jim Green: ‘The government's claim that a new reactor is required to produce medical isotopes has been proven to be false.’

In June, the Australian Medical Association's spokesman on radiation cancer treatment, Dr Allan Zimet, said he was not aware of a six-week maintenance shutdown of the existing reactor. Likewise, the then President of the Association of Physicians in Nuclear Medicine, Dr. Barry Elison, was not aware of a three-month reactor shutdown in 2000 until informed by a journalist.

Contact:

Loretta O'Brien - 0418 178053
Jim Green - 0417 318368