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Activists descend on port ahead of nuclear waste ship’s arrival

By Emily Laurence and staff

Posted December 05, 2015 11:12:23

Greenpeace nuke ship Photo: Greenpeace activists track the BBC Shanghai. (Supplied: Greenpeace/Dominic Lorrimer)
Related Story: Very first nuclear waste shipment returns to Australia nowadays
Map: Port Kembla 2505

A major safety operation is underway at Port Kembla, on the New South Wales south coast, exactly where a shipment of nuclear waste is due to arrive.

On board the BBC Shanghai is 25 tonnes of nuclear waste, processed in France, for lengthy-term storage in Australia.

Greenpeace activists have taken to the water and shore in protest of the ship’s arrival.

Much more than 50 water police were involved in on-water operations on jet skis, tactical response boats and command vessel Nemesis.

About 500 police will be involved in the land-primarily based operation as the waste is transported to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) facility at Lucas Heights, in Sydney’s south.

The Federal Government is in the process of obtaining a permanent internet site for the dump and the waste will be kept at ANSTO in the interim.

Six regions have been named on its shortlist, including three in South Australia.

South Australia is currently holding a royal commission to investigate whether or not the state ought to turn out to be more involved in the nuclear industry.

Public consultation about the website of a permanent waste facility is underway and the Federal Government will narrow down the list to just three web sites early next year.

Australians do not want waste, activists say

Greenpeace said the Australian public do not help the return of the nuclear waste.

It has commissioned a poll, displaying nearly 3 quarters of Australians oppose plans to store nuclear waste for other countries.

The ReachTEL poll conducted in November surveyed three,144 individuals.

It identified 72.1 per cent of respondents opposed the concept of relocating waste to Australia, 9.six per cent had been undecided and 18.3 per cent supported it.

The poll had a margin of error of 1.9 per cent.

BBC Shanghai Photo: BBC Shanghai is shipping 25 tonnes of reprocessed nuclear waste from France to Port Kembla. (Supplied: Greenpeace/Dominic Lorrimer)

Bringing reprocessed waste back to Australia

In the past two decades Australia has sent eight shiploads of waste overseas.

In the 1990s, the Federal Government created a deal with France to take some of our nuclear waste.

Australia does not have the capacity to reprocess it to make it protected for extended-term storage.

France has now completed that and what is left is on a ship coming residence.

Eight shipments have been sent to France, the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The waste sent to the UK will return in the second half of this decade and the waste sent to the US will stay there.

Topics: nuclear-issues, nuclear-energy, environmental-impact, port-kembla-2505, nsw, australia

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