No Time To Waste: NSW moves to spotlight impacts of Federal Governments nuclear plan

May 6, 2003

Federal Government moves to transport large volumes of radioactive waste through NSW suburban and regional communities have run into a serious hurdle with the Carr Government confirming a dedicated NSW Parliamentary Inquiry will examine the controversial plan.

National environment groups Friends of the Earth (FoE) and the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) have welcomed the State Inquiry decision.

"The NSW Parliament has sent a clear and timely message to Canberra," said FoE national nuclear campaigner Bruce Thompson. "We are glad that the State Government has listened to the will of the community and is acting to protect NSW communities and the environment from this unnecessary and unsafe Federal push."

Federal Environment Minister David Kemp is expected to approve the plan to transport radioactive waste from the Lucas heights nuclear reactor site in southern Sydney via outer Sydney, the Blue Mountains and western NSW to a dump in South Australia later this week.

The state Inquiry is set to report to State Parliament by the end of the year and will have "wide ranging" powers including calling officials from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation to provide detail on its nuclear activities. ANSTO are currently pushing ahead with construction of a controversial new nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights and is Australia's largest generator of radioactive waste.

"NSW has been increasingly targeted by Federal nuclear activities," said ACF nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney. "Reactors in suburban Sydney, trucks of radioactive waste driving through communities on an already stretched road system and the possibility of a national waste storage site in western NSW are all real threats."

Friends of the Earth have been actively alerting communities along the preferred Federal transport route to the threats of radioactive waste transport and dumping. These communities include Katoomba, Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo and Broken Hill.

"This Inquiry will help lift the lid on Federal Government nuclear secrecy and allow a real examination of the plans and the costs," concluded Bruce Thompson. "The Federal Government must accept that communities are not prepared to live in ?Nuke South Wales' and must end it's plans to generate, transport, dump and store radioactive waste".

Further information and comment:

Bruce Thompson
Friends of the Earth
Mob: 0417 318 368

Dave Sweeney
Mob: 0408 317 812