Experts have played down the use of land to make nuclear waste dump. They believe the radiation to be of "acceptable" levels, and the area to be
used is in a negligable zone, in terms of earthquakes.
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation acting executive director Ron Cameron said it was important the public understood the issues
regarding the generation, storage and transportation of low-level radioactive waste.
Mr Cameron was speaking in Adelaide today at an Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency public forum on the safety of the proposed
low-level radioactive waste dump in South Australia's north.
Dr Cameron said low-level radioactive waste was just that - waste material which emitted low levels of radiation - and was comprised of items such as
laboratory coats, rubber gloves and glass.
These materials were generated for activities such as the delivery of diagnostic and therapeutic radioisotopes for nuclear medicine procedures.
"If you stood two metres away from a truck full of low-level waste for one hour without moving, you would receive less radiation than you would if
you flew to Los Angeles and back," he said.
Dr Cameron said a recent New South Wales government inquiry into low-level waste supported ANSTO's claims about the minimal risks associated with the
transport of low-level radioactive waste.
The Australian Democrats told the forum the risk of earthquake should be enough to stop the dump, proposed for a site 20km east of Woomera.
The Democrats said it would be irresponsible to locate it near the same fault line that rocked Adelaide with a major quake in 1954.
Democrats MP Sandra Kanck said the Torrens fault line stretched from Kangaroo Island to Torrens Lake in outback SA, next to the proposed site.
"The brief history of European settlement throughout South Australia only adds to the concern that the dump will eventually be rocked by an
earthquake," Ms Kanck said.
The Federal Department of Education, Science and Training, which would be the owner and have overall responsibility for the dump, told the forum today
the site near Woomera was the best location.
Dr Caroline Perkins, from the department's radioactive waste management section, said the risks of an earthquake were negligible.
"This has been a very boring place for the last 30 million years," Dr Perkins said of the site's seismic, tectonic and volcanic activity.
"This really has been a very stable area."
Personally I would not like to be anywhere near one of these so called dumps... No matter how "safe" they are reported to be.
[Edited on 27-2-2004 by Zion Mainframe]