Nuclear FreeWays Tour launch in Adelaide

November 28, 2002

Friends of the Earth (FOE) will launch the Nuclear FreeWays campaign from Adelaide today. The campaign involves a tour of the planned Federal Government transport route for radioactive waste from the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney to outback New South Wales. The plan would mean that in the first year up to 130 trucks of waste would pass through rural communities with waste transport continuing for another 40 years.

State Minister for the Environment John Hill will meet representatives of Friends of the Earth on the steps of Parliament House as part of the launch from Adelaide today. Mr Hill will pass on a message to rural News South Wales communities outlining South Australian state government concerns over the Federal Government plan.

Nuclear Free Ways is an education campaign that visits communities affected by nuclear developments. The campaign informs communities about the dangers of radioactive waste production, transportation and dumping. FoE plans to raise these concerns with local councillors, members of parliament, and emergency services along the Barrier Highway route.

The current situation:

The Federal Government is intent on establishing both a national radioactive waste repository and store. The proposed Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney would be the primary source of waste for both facilities. The government¹s preferred location is Woomera in South Australia.

Considerable community opposition to the dump proposal in South Australia has lead to a series of legislation to ban the transportation, storage or disposal of all forms of radioactive waste generated outside its borders. Given the developments in South Australia, western New South Wales may be faced with accepting the waste burden of the new reactor. The ?Olary¹ region surrounding Broken Hill and Silverton was the second option during the site selection studies. It is our understanding that current NSW legislation doesn¹t prevent this type of waste disposal.

Not only is western New South Wales a possibility for the nuclear dump, but the Barrier Highway forms one of the two potential transport routes for radioactive waste to Woomera as outlined by the government as part of the formal approvals process. The transportation of radioactive waste would place significant demands on regional emergency services in terms of planning, resources and response capacity.

"The Federal government's plan for Australia¹s nuclear waste is a crude attempt to solve a complex problem," said Bruce Thompson of Friends of the Earth.

"Transportation and dumping of nuclear waste presents real risks of radioactive exposure to people, agricultural land and the broader environment."

The tour includes a replica of the castor transport used in Germany to transport nuclear waste.

Nuclear Free Ways Launch Parliament House North Terrace
10am Thursday 28 th November 2002

For further comment contact:

Bruce Thompson
Mob: 0417 318 368