Media Release

SA Nuclear waste dump “Trojan Horse”

13/11/2015 11:00 am

South Australians should be under no illusion that a “low level” radioactive waste dump for South Australia will be limited to medical waste such as test tubes, masks and gowns because the government is also planning to store intermediate level waste at the selected site.

Intermediate level waste can stay dangerous for hundreds or thousands of years.

In the US last year, that nation’s only underground intermediate radioactive waste dump was closed following a fire and a contamination leak within days of each other. The contamination incident resulted from a “typo” in the instruction manual which saw the wrong type of “kitty litter” used as an absorbant. The New Mexico Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is likely to stay closed for 4 years and to cost $500 million to rehabilitate.

The decision about a nuclear waste dump is not just a matter for individual landholders wanting to make a buck, or even for local communities tempted by the Government’s $10million incentive payments. This is a matter for all Australians. Transporting radioactive waste by road and rail through Australian cities, towns, suburbs and regions concerns all of us, not just those living around the proposed facility.

In South Australia, construction of a radioactive waste dump is illegal under State law. It is also illegal to transport nuclear waste into or within South Australia.

The State Government will also be breaking the laws if it actively encourages a nuclear waste dump. Under State law, it is illegal for the State Government to use any public money for the purpose of “encouraging or financing any activity associated with the construction or operation of a nuclear waste storage facility in this State.”

The Greens in State Parliament will strongly oppose any attempt to repeal the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000.

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