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No case made for a new reactor
No place for it in our Shire

This new reactor will burden our beautiful Shire and divide our community for 50 years.

A former Chief Research Scientist at Ansto says, ".the reactor will be a step into the past. [It] will comprise mostly imported technology and it may be the last of its kind ever built.[with] little impact on cancer prognosis."

The Shire community will divide between those who oppose a nuclear risk in our midst and those who uncritically accept Ansto's propaganda that this thing is needed for "nuclear medicine" - which it definitely isn't!

Shire Mayor McDonell is correct in saying that whenever opponents of the new reactor get a chance to debate Ansto, then Ansto is defeated. Which is why Ansto avoids debate and fears a royal commission into its secrecy.

It constantly runs feel-good advertising, using funds that Council and community groups can't match.

Here are just 10 facts that Ansto won't face:

This will not be a "replacement reactor" - it is different, is twice as powerful, and will produce dangerous radioactive waste faster than before.

It is not indispensable for producing medical isotopes - safer and cheaper ones can be obtained by non-reactor means (cyclotrons, accelerators, etc.).

It is not "cancer curing" - nearly all its isotopes are diagnostic, and often other diagnostic means are available.

It is not a "clean reactor" - every reactor by its nature keeps increasing its stockpile of radioactive waste (much remaining dangerous for thousands of years)

It is not "safe" in any certain sense - all reactors are subject to human error and many accidents (Ansto calls them "incidents") have occurred over the 43 years of the old reactor, fortunately not so far of major proportions.

It is not safe, either, while its location within Sydney makes it vulnerable to earthquake tremors (see the official report, in May) and to terrorist attack (an easy target, beside a busy road).

It is not significant in Australian science, though lavishly funded for decades - its output of research papers has been "modest", its "rate of invention and patenting makes little contribution to the nation as a whole" (Professor Ian Lowe); and ".more productive research could be funded for the cost of a reactor", said a former head of CSIRO.

It is not essential to continuance of the science facility at Lucas Heights, which is mainly non-reactor science anyway. ANSTO could become ASTC, the Australian Science and Technology Centre.

It has not been credibly costed, not subjected to cost-benefit analysis - its estimated $285m has not been open to scrutiny and obviously avoids the many add-ons needed to decommission the old reactor, provide for annual depreciation of the new one, provide the still awaited repository for dangerous waste, and much else. Secretiveness has landed Ansto and the Government in the embarrassment of a three-year-old Treasury estimate of $527m uncovered by Sutherland Council under Freedom of Information law.

It is not to be built by French or German or Canadian tenderers (from advanced countries) but by an Argentinian firm - so who will blame angry Shire residents who see this as "the cheapest quote", for El cheapo reacto, imperilling their safety? The case for a new reactor anywhere in Australia has not been made. Of all places on our continent, Sutherland Shire as the "Birthplace of Modern Australia" should be the last choice.