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Some Reasons to Say No to a New Nuclear Reactor

  • The case for a replacement reactor has definitely not been proved. The Research Reactor Review reported in 1993 that it was not convinced that there was a case. Yet the former Minister of Science refused to reopen the inquiry.

  • Medical radioisotopes can be produced in cyclotrons. Cyclotrons are alternatives to nuclear reactors. They produce relatively small quantities of low level radioactive waste and they can be cheaply decommissioned.

  • ANSTO's Lucas Heights site is Australia's de facto waste dump. Waste has been building up at the site during its 39 year life. A search for a national low level radioactive waste dump has been underway for many years. A suitable site has not been found. Even if found, it would not be suitable for long-lived medium level waste; yet there are plans to store it there anyway - "temporarily"!

  • Regulation of the Australian Nuclear Industry is below international standards. The present reactor operates on an "Authorisation" given to ANSTO management from its own Board of Directors. This is contrary to the guidelines laid down by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

  • There has never been a health study of the population close to the reactor site. NSW Health Department says that such a study "would not be warranted"; The local community deserves such a study.

  • It took ANSTO four decades to agree to carry out follow up health checks on former employees.

  • Insurance companies will not cover claims - personal or property - made relating to radiation exposure or nuclear accident. The reason given by the NRMA was that it would not have the funds to cover such an event, however unlikely it might be.

  • No Commonwealth legislation exists to cover claims against the government in the event of a nuclear accident. It seems that any claim would have to be made against the Federal Government. Neither the State Government nor the Council are certain of the procedures.

  • Spent fuel reprocessing plants have polluted the environment and caused health problems. This has occurred at Sellafield in England, Dounreay in Scotland, Hanford in the USA and La Hague in France. Such reprocessing plants have been subject to severe accidents - certainly at Sellafield, Dounreay and, very recently, at the Donen plant in Japan. Whilst said to be off the agenda at present, reprocessing may be necessary in dealing with spent fuel from a new reactor.

  • Public opinion is against ANSTO's preference for Lucas Heights as a site for a new reactor. In the poll commissioned by ANSTO, 83% of the Sutherland Shire people polled said that they preferred a remote site away from a large population. An even higher percentage - 88% - from the Liverpool area agreed. A full and impartial Environmental Impact Study on any proposed site is essential . The former Minister said that he could not understand why this was necessary! Would he have adopted the same attitude if his own electorate in Victoria had been chosen?

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