NT NUCLEAR DUMP CAMPAIGN BEGINS TODAY

Friends of the Earth has today announced its intention to campaign against the federal government's attempt to impose a nuclear waste dump on the Northern Territory.

FoE's national nuclear campaigner Dr. Jim Green said: "The federal government unequivocally ruled out imposing a nuclear dump on Territorians before the 2004 federal election. Evidently it was a non- core promise."

"Federal science minister Brendan Nelson is adopting the same tactics that were used against South Australians from 1998-2004. He insists the nuclear dump will proceed regardless of public and political opposition, but this is just bluff. The government finally yielded to overwhelming opposition in SA. The government may also face fierce opposition from the Defence Department, which successfully lobbied against a short- listed dump site in SA in 2003."

"Nelson is already making false comments about the proposed nuclear dump, claiming on ABC radio today that the waste poses no public health or environmental threat. If that was the case, the waste would of course be dumped in landfill."

"Whereas SA was targeted primarily for low-level waste, the NT proposal also includes long-lived intermediate-level wastes from overseas reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from the Lucas Heights reactor. As such, the waste foisted on the NT would be many thousands of times more radioactive than the waste the government tried to dump in SA."

"An overwhelming majority of the waste is from the Lucas Heights nuclear plant in Sydney. So the dump is not a national or commonwealth dump, but Sydney's dump."

"Predictably, Nelson's announcement was accompanied by misleading claims about medical isotopes produced at Lucas Heights. In fact, there is very little if any disruption to isotope supply when the Lucas Heights reactor is closed for extended periods for maintenance. Indeed the President of the Australian Association of Physicians in Nuclear Medicine had to admit that he did not even know of a 7-week closure of Lucas Heights in the year 2000."

Contact: Dr. Jim Green 0417 318368