Nuclear Industry Can’t be Trusted to keep Us Safe


South Australians are increasingly concerned about the prospect of a Radioactive Waste Dump in their state following the incident in WA where a tiny radioactive capsule was lost in transit from a mine site in the Pilbara.

Greens Senator for South Australia, Barbara Pocock, says constituents are expressing concern about the dangers of storing intermediate level waste at the proposed location near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula. “There’s clearly a need for stronger safeguards and stiffer penalties if we are to have any faith in the protective regimes around nuclear materials,” she said.

“People were already concerned about this proposed waste facility prior to this incident but I’m now receiving messages from constituents who are alarmed about what’s happened,” Senator Pocock said.

“This incident exposes a major failure in the management of nuclear material in Australia and highlights the dangers that radioactive products pose to the community,” she said.

“People are frightened by the very thought that this kind of radioactive product can just fall of the back of a truck and not be discovered for days or weeks after it happened.

“Clearly, the code of practice for the safe transport of radioactive material has failed to protect the people of Western Australia and frankly, many South Australians are not prepared to take that risk,” Senator Pocock said.

“With an industry that produces waste that can be lethal to humans for thousands of years, failing to meet its own safety standards, how can we have faith that it won’t happen here?” She said.

There are many farmers on the Eyre Peninsula who are worried about the consequences that an incident like this could have on their crop markets. The European Union has implemented strict regulations governing the importation of food originating in third countries regarding exposure to radiation.

The Federal Labor Government is persisting with the LNP proposal to build a nuclear waste facility in South Australia despite widespread community opposition and a concerted campaign by First Nations custodians, the Barngarla people, who have instigated court proceedings to stop the dump.

“There was a piece of radioactive material the size of a tic-tac, lying on the side of the road in the Pilbara for the past two weeks and nobody had a clue where it was or how it was lost,” Senator Pocock said.

“Australia’s intermediate level radioactive waste should stay where it is at Lucas Heights until long term storage technology is available to keep everyone in Australia safe from nuclear radiation,” she said.