Lucas Heights reports radioactive release

June 15, 2006

It has been revealed that last Thursday night a rupture of a fission gas trap attached to a hot cell at the Lucas Heights reactor caused a release of radioactive contamination. One worker was exposed. Some radioactive release from the stack has been reported.

Michaela Stubbs spokesperson for Friends of the Earth said: “Whilst the hot cell was fortunately not damaged, this incident is reminder that accidents do happen. As the reactor is in a suburban area a serious accident would expose large numbers of people to radiation. This concern is understandable in light of the fact that the current reactor has seen over 100 serious accidents since it went on line.”

“In the same week as Howard announces an inquiry into nuclear power for Australia, this is a good time to consider the unnecessary safety risks that nuclear reactors pose to the community”

All nuclear reactors expose people and the environment to unwanted health and safety risks and create nuclear waste for which there is no credible long-term management plan.

Arguments that the reactor is necessary for medical science have been made redundant. Advances in technology mean that alternate technologies or imported isotopes can now supply 99% of all nuclear medicine procedures.

“Cyclotrons are safer, much cheaper than nuclear reactors and produce very little radioactive waste. The Lucas Heights reactor did not operate for the first 5 months in 2000 and yet Australia’s supply of medical isotopes did not suffer,” said Miss. Stubbs.


*For comment: Michaela Stubbs on 0429 136 935*