Australian news, and some related international items

ANSTO Chief blowing hot air on radioactive waste

17 February 2023

The chief executive of Australia’s Nuclear Science Technology Organisation (Ansto), Shaun Jenkinson, admitted yesterday there was no evidence to support his claim last year that the production of nuclear medicine would stop if the proposed radioactive waste dump in South Australia did not go ahead.

Under questioning by South Australian Greens Senator Barbara Pocock, at a Senate Estimates hearing, Mr Jenkinson said there was “no specific analysis about at what point production of nuclear medicine would stop.”

Jenkinson claimed in November last year that Ansto would not be able to keep producing nuclear medicine once the waste management facility at Lucas Heights in Sydney reached capacity.

Pressed on the issue at the Estimates hearing yesterday, the Ansto head said, “If there was to be a delay in (building the new waste dump) we would be seeking approval for additional on-site storage until such time as a national waste management facility was ready and so we’re doing that.

“Its an iterative process we do that every year,” he said.

Commenting outside the hearing Senator Pocock said it was “disingenuous for Mr Jenkins to make alarming claims that could cause distress to people who rely on nuclear medicines, such as cancer patients, simply to support the Government’s case for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia.”

Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Dave Sweeney, accused Jenkinson of causing unnecessary concern to vulnerable people in order to support the case for a radioactive waste dump in South Australia, when he made the statement.

Senator Pocock earlier quizzed the Australian Radioactive Waste Authority (ARWA)about how much the Federal Government was spending fighting a court case brought by Aboriginal Traditional Owners of the proposed site saying that “in the midst of a campaign to give First Nations Australians a voice in matters that concern them, the Government surely should be listening to the Barngarla Native Title holders on this issue.”

ARWA also confirmed that the option for safe storage of intermediate level waste, including new waste, exists for years into the future at the  current radioactive waste management faciltiy at Lucas Heights and that there are no obstacles to further upgrades to increase capacity there.


February 18, 2023 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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