The Flinders Ranges: no place for nuclear waste
The Flinders Ranges is at risk of being turned into Australia's nuclear waste dump.
The Federal Government wants to build a facility to store radioactive waste produced by federal and state agencies at Wallerbedina Station (near Hawker) in the Flinders Ranges. Radioactive waste earmarked for the federal waste dump is classified as low-level waste and long-lived intermediate-level waste (reactor waste). The majority of this waste is currently stored at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) nuclear research site. The government has promised $10 million compensation package for the local community andaround15fulltimeequivalentjobs. It is not clear how many of these jobs would be local and how many from workers coming from elsewhere. It is not clear if the jobs will continue for the full 100 years that the dump is planned to be operational.
THE SITE AND SURROUNDING AREA
The Wallerberdina site is of great cultural, historical and spiritual significance to Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners and is directly bordered by the Yappala Indigenous Protected Area; a crucial location for biodiversity conservation in the Flinders Ranges region.
- The site contains the first registered Aboriginal Songline of its type in Australia, where aboriginal history and stories have been thoroughly documented.
- Hookina Spring is a pristine desert oasis fed by a mineral aquifer and is a sacred women's site.
- This unique ecosystem provides a refuge for numerous species, of native flora and fauna.
- There is a high density of unique archaeological sites within the property.
- The area is a known floodplain and experiences earthquakes.
- This area is rich in traditional foods and medicines used by the local Adnyamathanha community for food and cultural practices.
Low Level Waste:
Currently there is over 4000 cubic metres of low-level waste in Australia.
It takes 300 years for the radioactivity to decay to background levels.
This waste will remain at the dump site forever.
Intermediate Level Waste:
At the moment there is over 600 cubic metres of intermediate-level waste.
It is the most dangerous waste produced in Australia and needs to be kept safe for tens of thousands of years.
There is no long-term plan for the management of this waste; it will remain in the Flinders Ranges indefinitely.
This dump will receive more waste with the increased production of medical isotopes for export, leaving the Finders Ranges with the waste.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
CONTACT MINISTER FOR RESOURCES MATT CANAVAN:
PO Box 6100 Senate Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600 [email protected] (02) 6277 7739
STAY INFORMED & ACTIVE:
Join the Facebook groupFight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA Contact the Flinders Local Action Group: [email protected] Contact the Conservation Council South Australia: (08) 82235155
DONATE TO THE CAMPAIGN TO SUPPORT ADNYAMATHANHA TRADITIONAL OWNERS: link
Doctors use radioactive materials for both diagnosing and treating sick people. But it is very clear that a dump is not needed to ensure the provision of nuclear medicine. There are broadly two areas in which radioactive material is used for medical purposes:
Nuclear scans for investigating disease:
These produce the vast bulk of medical nuclear waste. Its radioactivity is very short lived and after several months it can be disposed in normal rubbish.
It then is disposed of safely and appropriately in the usual manner of most waste (sewers, incineration, landfill tips etc.) according to set standards.
Cancer treatment radiotherapy:
Most radiotherapy uses X-rays or electromagnetic radiation which do not produce any waste at all.
A very small proportion of cancer treatment actually relies on radioactive isotopes, most of which are injected into the patient and do not need disposal
"The absence of a dump hasn't hurt nuclear medicine and the establishment of a dump won't help nuclear medicine" - Dr Jim Green, Friends of the Earth Australia.
The Flinders Ranges is a South Australian gem and it should never be risked.
The tourism industry employs approximately 1,400 people in the Flinders Ranges.
The site at Barndioota/ Wallerberdina is only 5 km from current tourism accommodation.