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Double standards on radioactive waste disposal in Australia

This is very interesting. They say it’s ”low leve” – presumably ”safe”. Yet for the residents of a posh Sydney suburb, its worth a century-long fight to get it removed – and sent to America !! Makes you see why the residents of Lucas Heights , – now called Bardon Ridge – might be keen to have their much higher-level radioactive trash foisted on distant rural Kimba, South Australia

Hunters Hill radioactive waste to be removed  sent to United States  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-30/hunters-hill-radioactive-waste-to-be-removed-sent-to-us/1001
BRani Hayman  1 May 21,

Key points:

  • The land was the former site of the Radium Hill refinery, which closed in 1915
  • The removal will begin in the coming weeks and take 12 months
  • Melinda Pavey said the issue had taken a long time to resolve because it was “complicated”

Several properties on Nelson Parade at Hunters Hill were built on land contaminated by a former uranium processing site, which closed in 1915. 

The area was also occupied by a carbolic acid plant until the early 1900s and a tin smelter until the 1960s.

Residents have spent decades fighting for the state government to remove the affected soil.

Finally, their calls have been heard, with the waste due to be excavated and sent to the United States.

Philippa Clark from the Nelson Parade Action Group said she was pleased the issued had finally been resolved.

“This is the way you deal with this kind of contamination and the best way possible for us and the environment and future generations,” she said.

The NSW government said the process would begin in the next few weeks and was expected to take 12 months. 

The Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the health and safety of the community would be the main priority during site remediation works and the transportation of the material.

“The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) will supervise the excavation and packing of the contaminated material into sealed bags and containers prior to transport to the USA,” she said.

While there is a sense of relief within the community, the decades-long battle has put strain on the affected residents.

When asked why it has taken so long to find a solution, Ms Pavey said: “Because it was complicated.”

A parliamentary committee in 2008 called for a comprehensive remediation plan for the site and in 2014 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a management order to Property NSW to commence the works — although it said the development consent still had not been issued.

A plan to move the contaminated material to Kemps Creek in Sydney’s west was also abandoned in 2014 following community backlash.

The Mayor of Hunters Hill, Ross Williams, said the residents were looking forward to the area being rehabilitated.

“It’s been a health issue and a legacy issue for all that time.

It’s low-level radioactive material and it came from an industry that was essential [really?] back in those days,” he said.

“In modern times the environmental consequences wouldn’t have been tolerated.

“Once it’s totally cleaned up it will be available for any use.”

Ms Clark is pleased with the outcome despite how long it has taken.

“The government has listened to what we all wanted and what the parliamentary inquiry recommendation had been,” she said.

“We overwhelmingly just want to see ordinary houses and [go] back to [living in] an ordinary street, but without the stigma and without the constant anxiety that we’ve had to live with.”

May 1, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, wastes

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