Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

The New South Wales Pacific Highway’s ‘toxic ditch’

Ben Colton said his uncle Robert Deards was one of the initial police officers called to the crash and handled the drums, which “made him sick to the point he nearly died”. Mr Colton said his uncle and another officer spent 14 hours at the scene – and were later told to go for a swim to wash off any radioactive particles – but their complaints and recognition of their exposure fell on deaf ears.

CAESIUM-137 A radioactive isotope formed as a by-product of nuclear fission usually involving uranium. It has a half-life of 30 years. It remains the main health risk and source of radiation around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Short term high-level exposure can produce nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, head aches and blisters, which can return
up to weeks later in the body. It is also blamed for birth defects.

Lethal, toxic truth buried in a highway ditch Herald Sun, By Richard Noone and Neil Keene From: The Daily Telegraph April 19, 2012 WHY radioactive materials, a banned pesticide and food were on the same truck that crashed on the New South Wales Pacific Highway in 1980 is a mystery….. An ANSTO spokesman said the drums – one 60 litres and another smaller one – carrying the nuclear material were undamaged in the crash and later taken with the undamaged food to Brisbane. The rest, including the DDT, was believed to have been buried.

Despite full knowledge of its location the then RTA proceeded with the $60 million upgrade, awarded to BMD Constructions, in March last year without removing it first.

A BMD spokeswoman declined to comment.

A 2008 report by the RTA’s environment branch into the current upgrade
described the contaminated area as a 7m x 12m “chemical burial site”
and warned the upgrade was likely to affect the site……
The discovery has raised questions about transport guidelines at the
time, which preceded the 1986 Chernobyl disaster that forced a global
crackdown, as well the material burial and subsequent handling of the
incident. The RMS has conflicting reports and at best can only narrow
the exposure to workers as occurring between April 2-5.

Port Macquarie man Don Barnes, who was driving one of two cars
involved in the 1980 crash, said he saw at least one canister lying on
the road.

“They knew it was contaminated, if it was that bad it should never
have been buried there – it should have been disposed of properly,” he
said.

Ben Colton said his uncle Robert Deards was one of the initial police officers called to the crash and handled the drums, which “made him sick to the point he nearly died”.

Mr Colton said his uncle and another officer spent 14 hours at the scene – and were later told to go for a swim to wash off any radioactive particles – but their complaints and recognition of their exposure fell on deaf ears. Retired firefighter Albert McWhirter was among the men tasked with cleaning up the spilled chemicals.

“By the time we got there they had already taken the radioactive stuff
away. We moved the DDT and food powder into a hole they had dug with a
backhoe, and as far as I know they just filled it in,” he said.
DEADLY CARGO

CAESIUM-137 A radioactive isotope formed as a by-product of nuclear fission usually involving uranium. It has a half-life of 30 years. It remains the main health risk and source of radiation around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Short term high-level exposure can produce nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, head aches and blisters, which can return
up to weeks later in the body. It is also blamed for birth defects.
AMERICIUM-241

A radioactive isotope derived from the artificial element americium
(Am 95 on the periodic table). It has a half-life of 432 years.
Classic radiation sickness is not likely with a release of
americium-241 alone unless a victim is exposed to extremely large
amounts. Initial symptoms of radiation sickness may include weakness,
anorexia, vomiting and diarrhoea.

DDT

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) is an organochlorine insecticide
first synthesised in 1874 but its insecticidal properties were not
discovered until 1939 by Swiss scientist Paul Hermann Muller, who was
later awarded a Nobel prize. It was widely used throughout World War
II to control insects and insect-borne disease and later extensively
used in agriculture until concerns emerged in the 1960s that it could
cause cancer. It was banned in the US in 1972 and worldwide under the
2004 Stockholm Convention, although it can still be used under certain
circumstances. DDT is a persistent organic pollutant in that it is
absorbed by soils and sediments, leading to long-term exposure in
animals and humans. It is toxic to a wide range of living organisms,
including marine animals such as prawns and many fish species. It is
considered a carcinogen and evidence suggests it leads to birth
defects and other reproductive problems. Acute exposure can cause
headaches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/lethal-toxic-truth-buried-in-a-ditch/story-e6frf7l6-1226332686160

April 19, 2012 - Posted by | history, New South Wales

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