Sutherland Shire Mayor Carol Provan has condemned the Federal Government’s decision to store nuclear waste at the ANSTO facility at Lucas Heights, claiming Sutherland Shire has become the ‘defacto dumping ground’ for the nation.
ANSTO issued a press release this morning confirming it would be storing the waste, but has yet to even contact the council about the issue, Cr Provan said.
She said the shire was paying the price for years of inactivity by successive Federal Governments, which have failed to secure a suitable site for permanently storing the waste.
‘‘They told us they would investigate a national repository but they have done nothing about it,’’ Cr Provan said.
She said it was ‘disgusting’ the government had decided at the last minute to store the waste on the doorsteps of so many homes in Sutherland Shire.
‘‘The Shire has grown so much since ANSTO was first here. We have kids who live further out in the shire, and of course they are worried about the impact of this decision,’’ she said.
The nuclear waste, which is currently being processed in France, is scheduled to arrive at ANSTO in 2015.
It is scheduled to be stored at ANSTO for a maximum of five years until the national repository is built.
ANSTO’s general manager of commercial operations Shaun Jenkinson said there was no ‘credible risk’ to the community from the waste.
‘‘It is not dangerous waste,’’ Mr Jenkinson said. ‘‘It is hazardous only if it is not shielded.’’
When it was properly stored at ANSTO, Mr Jenkinson said the waste would generate no more radiation that that experienced by a passenger on a flight from Australia to Europe.
He said ANSTO was only an interim storage site for the waste and that best practice demanded it eventually be permanently housed in a national repository.
The waste will be stored in a purpose-built facility at Lucas Heights.
What do you think of the decision to store interim nuclear waste at Lucas Heights?