Media Release 28-2-14
The NT is no place for Sydney’s radioactive waste: Time for evidence, not expedience
A plan by the NSW Government to move large volumes of radioactive waste from suburban Sydney to a proposed but non-existent dump site at Muckaty north of Tennant Creek highlights the confused and short-term thinking surrounding radioactive waste management in Australia, according to national radioactive waste watchdog the Beyond Nuclear Initiative.
BNI has condemned the suggestion by NSW Finance Minister Andrew Constance that radioactive soil from Hunter’s Hill should be transported to the proposed national radioactive waste dump at Muckaty.
“The NSW Liberals’ first plan to transport contaminated soil to politically vulnerable areas of Western Sydney was strongly challenged by the community, local councils and trade unions,” said BNI coordinator Natalie Wasley.
“The latest plan – calculated to move the waste out of the sight and mind of residents in the affluent suburb of Hunter’s Hill – shows extreme contempt for Muckaty Traditional Owners who have been campaigning for almost seven years against the NT dump plan.”
“A strong alliance between Traditional Owners, health and environment groups, trade unions and social justice organisations has stymied and delayed the Muckaty plan. The Muckaty site nomination is the subject of Federal Court action set for trial in June. Any attempts to move radioactive waste there from NSW would be actively challenged by the local community and their growing national network of supporters.”
“Mr Constance’s ‘viable option’ of a 3500km road trip for 5000 tonnes of waste is a long way from international standards that call for community participation in decision making on radioactive waste storage. Transporting radioactive materials long distances presents an unacceptable risk to transport and emergency workers as well as communities along the route.”
“The NSW government clearly does not have a strategy for responsible waste management beyond attempts to find a disenfranchised community to dump it on.”
“Instead of short term dump and run politics we urgently need an independent national commission into advancing responsible radioactive waste management. Minister Constance’s proposal highlights the pressing need for this inquiry to go ahead while the Muckaty site nomination is contested in court. Instead of political plans and toxic trucks we need a genuine and evidence based assessment.”