Conservation Foundation critical of SA nuclear dump
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has strongly criticised the attempts of the Federal Government to establish a nuclear waste dump in South Australia. The ACF said it is "a key test for democracy in Australia, for the rights of a community and of a state to determine their own future and to reject a nuclear dump". The ACF has called for recognition of the human rights of the Aboriginal traditional owners who oppose imposition of poison ground onto their country and culture. Environment Minister Kemp is the sole decision maker on the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) to bury wastes which remain hazardous for hundreds of years. The Federal Science Minister McGauran is also an advocate of both a second nuclear reactor for Lucas Heights in Sydney and for the dump plans which are needed to facilitate the reactor project. Both Ministers are engaging in a false public consultation in the EIS process as they intend to impose the dump, even against the will of the SA Parliament and people. They intend to over-ride SA legislation against the dump plan. The Federal Government has no right to operate on any of the three state owned sites assessed in the EIS but intends to use Commonwealth powers for the compulsory acquisition of a site in five to six months time if Minister Kemp approves the plan set down in the EIS. SA Premier Mike Rann said no other State or Territory is asking SA to take their wastes. Only the Federal Government pushing the idea. The EIS fails to acknowledge the opposition of the SA Government. It also does not fulfil EIS Guidelines on a number of other issues. EIS inadequate The Report of the Senate Select Committee "No Time to Waste" (April 1996) recommended above ground storage for low level wastes, however in November 1996 the new Liberal Government responded with a burial plan as it was said to cost less. In restricting the assessment to a burial plan the EIS does not provide "world's best practice" standards in radioactive waste management but only cites "internationally accepted practice". Burial practices have often gone wrong overseas and cannot readily be undone. The ACF does not consider burial to be responsible management. Local communities and local governments are being targeted for the transport of radioactive wastes through their areas and are not to be given any right to say NO!. There are two main transport corridors proposed from the Sydney Lucas Height s reactor site into SA: 1. out of Sydney via Dubbo and Cobar through the town centre of Broken Hill and along the Barrier Highway to Peterborough and through the town centre of Port Augusta onto Woomera and to a nearby dump site; and 2. out of Sydney via Yass and Hay through the town centre of Mildura across and along the Murray River to Morgan and Burra and then Peterborough as above. Unanswered questions Why are reactor wastes to be transported through town centres against the will of local communities and local government? Why is the Federal Government proposing to use the Murray River and Riverland Region as a waste transport corridor? The Federal Government intends to leave the responsibility for accidents and emergency responses to State Governments and local emergency services. Strong legislation has been introduced by SA Labor Premier Rann to make the nuclear dump plans and the proposed transport of wastes through SA illegal. The Bill has already passed the Lower House and is presently before the Legislative Council. The ACF considers the rights and of these many rural communities and the clean-green reputation of SA as more important than the imposition of a nuclear expansion in Australia. It believes that the nuclear dump-reactor plan will be rejected in any open and informed public debate with real involvement of the community in decision making. The ACF has called for the eight-week "consultation" period to be extended as the EIS has not been available to the public in the first two weeks of the period.
* * *For further information see: http://www.acfonline.org.auor http://www.iratiwanti.org Australian Conservation Foundation 120 Wakefield St, Adelaide, SA 5000 Tel. 08 8232 2566 Fax: 08 8232 2490 Email: email@example.com Web: http://www.acfonline.org.au