Kemp Dumps on National Interest

May 9, 2003

The Federal Government has given the go ahead for the highly controversial national nuclear waste dump today. The approval of the National Radioactive Waste Repository Environment Impact Statement allows for the road transportation and burial of radioactive waste from the Sydney Nuclear Reactor in South Australia. The fallout surrounding the project was increased this week with the announcement of a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the plans including powers to call Federal witnesses.

National environment group Friends of the Earth has today highlighted fundamental flaws in the project and the broad community opposition. The Federal Government plan would involve at least 130 semi-trailers of waste being transported from the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney in the first year alone. This is set to be followed by regular shipments from any new reactor and a further 250 truckloads in 2006 when the existing Sydney nuclear reactor is due to be decommissioned. The Government intends to bury the material under 2 ­ 5m of earth at the dump site near Woomera, South Australia.

National Interest?

  • 15 Western District Shires NSW have resolved to oppose road and rail transport
  • 13 other Local councils along transport route have stated their unequivocal opposition
  • South Australian Wine Growers Federation stated concerns over image
  • South Australian Farmers Federation stated concerns over export loss
  • NSW Fire Brigade Employees¹ Union & United Firefighters Union of SA opposed
  • Traditional Owners Kungka Tjuta received International Goldman Award for their opposition
  • 72% of South Australians remain opposed to any nuclear dump
  • SA Parliament passed legislation to ban transport and dumping March 19th 2003
  • NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the plan announced 6th May 2003

"Dr Kemp should be known as Dr Dump, his approval today imposes an unacceptable radioactive burden on communities from Sydney to Woomera," said FoE Nuclear Campaigner Loretta O¹Brien.

Science Minister McGauran, in announcing the approval, ruled out South Australia as a potential site for the additional medium and high level waste from the reactor. The statement increases pressure for the higher level waste to remain in NSW. The NSW Parliamentary Inquiry will have the
power to call Federal witnesses including the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation who operate the Lucas Heights reactor.

"The Federal Government plans to transport and dump radioactive waste run over community concerns and bury the facts", said Bruce Thompson Nuclear Campaigner. "The NSW Inquiry should uncover clear failures of responsible management and community consultation".

For enquiries and comment:

Bruce Thompson
National Nuclear Campaigner
Mob: 0417 318 368

Loretta O¹Brien
Nuclear Freeways Co-ordinator
Mob: 0418 178 053