South Australia to face nuclear dump threat again

13 November 2015

South Australia to face nuclear dump threat again 

Conservation SA today expressed its concern about the short-listing of three sites in SA for a national nuclear waste repository.

Chief Executive Craig Wilkins said: "South Australians clearly rejected earlier plans to host a national nuclear waste dump and that widespread community opposition is expressed in state legislation − the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act.

"Conservation SA is concerned that affected communities will have insufficient time and resources to engage in the public consultation process. Just because a landowner has offered their property doesn't mean the wider region, including those places along transport routes, are in favour.

"The SA Government has an obligation to support those communities who oppose a waste dump being imposed on them.

"The hosting of a national nuclear waste dump raises serious risks well beyond the dump-site. For example, when this idea was previously proposed, the then Howard government acknowledged a 23% risk of one truck accident moving the entire national waste inventory to SA.

"There are credible alternative options for radioactive waste management. That includes the option of ongoing waste storage at the Lucas Heights site, south of Sydney.

"Conservation SA is concerned that hosting a national nuclear waste dump will open the door for vastly more hazardous high-level nuclear waste from nuclear power reactors around the world.

"A nuclear waste dump is illegal in South Australia.  There are huge reputational risks for our state.  It is essential that the South Australian community is given a genuine opportunity to say no if we decide we don't want one here," he said. 

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Media Contact:

Craig Wilkins: 0417 879 439

Jim Green: 0417 318 368



The Lucas Heights nuclear site is operated by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). Measured by radioactivity, ANSTO stores over 90% of Australia's radioactive waste (excluding uranium mine tailings waste). The federal government, the federal regulator ARPANSA, the Australian Nuclear Association and even ANSTO itself have clearly and repeatedly acknowledged that ongoing waste storage at Lucas Heights is a viable option.

Joint submission to the Royal Commission by Conservation SA, Australian Conservation Foundation and Friends of the Earth, Australia.

See esp:

  • Section 1.9 on the flawed Maralinga 'clean up, the Howard government's abandoned plan for a national nuclear waste dump in SA, and the later Muckaty/NT dump proposal.
  • Section 4 on proposals for an international high-level nuclear waste dump in SA.
  • p.206-2014: Feb 2014 chemical explosion in the New Mexico deep underground waste dump 

Several relevant papers are posted at:

  • Conserfvation SA and other environment groups, 2015, 'Radioactive Waste: Information for Communities'.
  • Jim Green, Nat Wasley and Dave Sweeney, Nov 2014, 'Responsible Radioactive Waste Management in Australia: The Case for an Independent Commission of Inquiry'
  • Anica Niepraschk, July 2015, 'Wasting Time? International lessons for managing Australia's radioactive waste'
  • Jim Green, 2015, 'Should Australia become the world's nuclear waste dump?'

Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, 'Irati Wanti' campaign against the Howard government's plan for a national nuclear waste dump in SA:

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Contact Conservation SA on (08) 8223 5155, [email protected], or at our offices at the Joinery at 111 Franklin Street, Adelaide.

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