Australian news, and some related international items

Australia obliged to take back Lucas Heights nuclear waste – it will go to Lucas Heights

The Australian Greens want to close the Lucas Heights reactor and ban the import and export of nuclear waste ….

Nuclear waste will be stored in Sydney at Lucas Heights BY: IMRE SALUSINSZKY, NSW POLITICAL REPORTER  The Australian May 01, 2012    NUCLEAR waste due to boomerang back to Australia in 2015 will be stored in metropolitan Sydney, after decades of political dithering over a national radioactive waste repository in the outback.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation will today launch its application for a licence to build an 800 sq m interim warehouse on the premises of the research reactor at Lucas Heights, which has generated the waste during the 50 years of its operation.

Lucas Heights is in Sutherland Shire, about 20km southwest of the Sydney CBD.

More than 13 cubic metres of waste – equivalent to about one-third of
a shipping container – is due to return to Australia in three years
after being reprocessed in France to remove plutonium and residual

Under an international agreement, the waste, which will remain toxic
for centuries, was exported to France in four shipments between 1999
and 2004.It is intended it will eventually be moved to a national
repository that will house radioactive waste from across
The waste will be shipped from France in a custom-built 6.5m steel
cask with walls more than 20cm thick and capable of withstanding an
earthquake or temperatures higher than 800C.

It will arrive in Australia at a port yet to be determined and will
then be trucked to Lucas Heights under high security on a special
multi-axle trailer.

Originally, it was intended the waste would be repatriated to a
national repository in the remote outback. Such a repository was
originally announced in 1992, and a site selected in remote South

But after a successful Federal Court challenge by the government of
South Australia, the Howard government announced in 2004 it was
abandoning the project.

A subsequent proposal for a national store for radioactive waste
produced by commonwealth facilities was also ditched. Last month, the
Gillard government passed legislation to establish a national
repository for nuclear waste at an unspecified site, but this is not
expected to be available until at least 2020.

Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said yesterday: “Given the
delays by successive governments in selecting a long-term national
radioactive waste repository, it is appropriate Australia’s nuclear
waste be safely and temporarily stored by ANSTO until the national
radioactive waste repository can be built…..
The Australian Greens want to close the Lucas Heights reactor and ban
the import and export of nuclear waste ……

May 1, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, New South Wales, reference, wastes

1 Comment »

  1. ANSTO did not even bother to let the local council, Sutherland Shire Council , know this was occurring [ ABC Illawarra , 97.3fm, 2.5.2012 , 7.36 to 7.40am , Peter Reily, breakfast announcer and Station Manager]. Naturally , this basic lack of common decency and lack of professional coutesy , boardering on arragoncy, did not go down well with the Mayor. She vowed to let ANSTO have a piece of her mind today at a hastily arranged meeting .

    Australia should not be involved in any aspect of the nuclear cycle ; yet if we are ,ANSTO and government policy should be consultative and up-front with all members of community before we are forced to consider the policy with the nuclear waste on its way back to us.

    This is the problem with this industry : some profit , while the rest of the community pays the price.

    Comment by grantdo | May 2, 2012 | Reply

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