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1st nuclear waste shipment returns to Australia tomorrow

Posted December 04, 2015 19:07:24

The very first shipment of Australian nuclear waste processed in France for lengthy-term storage is expected to arrive back in the nation tomorrow.

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

The Federal Government is now looking for a permanent dump site, not only for the waste to come back from Europe, but for locally created nuclear health-related waste.

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

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

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

Emma Gibson from Greenpeace mentioned the group was expecting it to arrive at Port Kembla tomorrow.

“Greenpeace is going to be down there waiting for the ship to arrive,” she said.

“We’re going to document it coming in … and document it unloading its cargo and taking it to Lucas Heights to make confident we can reassure people that it’s got there safely.”

I believe it really is genuinely essential that we raise these problems with the initial shipment now and to make confident that we do not get far more dodgy stuff taking place in future.

Emma Gibson, Greenpeace

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) is refusing to confirm when the ship will dock.

Greenpeace has raised a number of issues about the safety of the ship carrying the waste, the BBC Shanghai.

ANSTO has rejected claims that it is not seaworthy, and said it passed a rigorous safety inspection just before leaving France.

Right after the waste is unloaded, it will be taken to the nuclear facility at Lucas Heights.

“We’re all going to breathe a sigh of relief when this dodgy ship in fact arrives and we want it to unload its cargo as safely as feasible and take it by road to Lucas Heights, where we’ll all breathe a sigh of relief when it gets there.”

More waste to return from UK

Eight shipments have been sent to France, the United Kingdom and the United States in the ’90s 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 remain there.

“I think it’s genuinely crucial that we raise these issues with the 1st shipment now and to make confident that we don’t get more dodgy stuff happening in future,” Ms Gibson said.

Greenpeace has alleged that the waste onboard is more harmful than what the Government is reporting, but ANSTO has rejected the claims.

Even though the waste will be kept at Lucas Heights in the interim, the Federal Government is in the midst of discovering a permanent website for the dump.

Six areas have been named on its shortlist, which includes 3 in South Australia.

South Australia is currently holding a royal commission to investigate no matter whether the state must turn out to be more involved in the nuclear market.

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

Subjects: nuclear-power, nuclear-issues, sa, australia

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