Australian news, and some related international items

Radioactive wastes: South Australia

Royal Adelaide Hospital waste to be shipped back overseas when it closes, Daniel Wills, State Political Editor,   August 27, 2017  

RADIOACTIVE waste currently stored at the old Royal Adelaide Hospital is set to be sent back overseas as the site is cleared when health services shift to the other end of North Tce.

With demolition and redevelopment of the site imminent once medical services are transferred to the new hospital next week, The Advertiser can reveal the State Government is developing plans to return the waste back to it European or British origin.

More than a year ago, Renewal SA chief executive John Hanlon told a State Parliament committee how the Government was working on plans to house the waste in SA when the old RAH closed. While no proposal was settled, officials investigated a new SA site that could also be a repository for other low-level radioactive waste scattered in other sites around the state.

A  SA Health spokeswoman said the old RAH waste, mostly used for patient treatment and research, was no longer needed once the shift to the new hospital was complete.

“The radioactive sources are currently stored in lead-lined boxes in a secure store in preparation for the removal process,” she said. “Once the old RAH site is decommissioned, the majority of waste radioactive sources will be safely returned to the country of origin.”

Most of the radioactive sources at the old RAH used for medical purposes came from the UK or Europe. SA Health is also working to identify any other origin countries. Final disposal is expected to be dealt with by the source material’s manufacturers.

The department is working with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the state Environment Protection Authority to ensure safe, and legal removal. The old RAH is one of 78 different facilities in SA currently storing low or intermediate level waste, according to the government’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

Low level waste is generated in hospitals and by industry. It comprises paper, rags, tools, and gloves with short-lived radioactivity that do not require shielding during normal handling.

Intermediate waste is typically metal and other materials from decommissioned reactors.  It emits higher levels of radiation and requires shielding during handling, transport and storage.

Parliament was told in 2011 that radioactive waste currently at the old RAH is in a basement.SA Health is responsible for the removal of all known radioactive sources before the site is handed over to Renewal SA, which will oversee a $1 billion redevelopment.

August 28, 2017 - Posted by | South Australia, wastes

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