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Notice given 30 August 2001

3862  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources—With reference to the Minister’s answer to Senator Allison’s question without notice on 23 August 2001 (Senate Hansard , p. 26241):

(1) What is the level of radioactivity of the oily waste currently being produced at the Esso oil rig off Gippsland.

(2) How often are measurements required to be taken of the radioactivity in the waste being produced.

(3) Can records of these measurements be produced.

(4) What level of radioactivity is permitted in granite used in kitchen bench-tops.

(5) Is it the case that the level of radioactivity of this oily waste increases as the oil wells mature.

(6) What are the radioactivity limits for disposal of radioactive oily waste in landfill disposal.

(7) What is the level of radioactivity above which re-injection would be required in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK).

(8) Does the Australian Government require re-injection at the US and/or UK level; if not, why not.

(9) Is it the case that radioactive oily waste, which has a higher level of radioactivity than that permitted at Dutson Downs, is being stored at Barry’s Beach in Gippsland.

(10) What is the level of radioactivity of this waste.

(11) What are the storage requirements for this waste at Barry’s Beach.

(12) Is Barry’s Beach also licensed by the Environment Protection Authority as a prescribed waste facility.

(13) What protection is required to be used by workers at the Esso oil rig against exposure to radioactivity when cleaning scale off pipe-work.

(14) Can a copy be provided of the hazard identification, assessment and management documentation prepared by Esso as required by petroleum safety legislation for offshore exploration and production.

(15) Can the results of measuring conducted on the radioactive scale at Western Australian offshore rigs be provided.

(16) What protection is required to be used by workers at Western Australian offshore rigs against exposure to radioactivity when cleaning scale off pipe-work.

(17) Will the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency codes of practice and safety guide be mandated for oil and gas operations.

(18) What are the requirements for taking measurements of the radioactivity levels at the Dutson Downs resource recovery facility: (a) at the new solidification plant; (b) at the burial site; and (c) after it is buried.

(19) How is the exposure of workers at the Dutson Downs facility measured.

(20) Does this extend to radiation protection measures for all workers involved.

(21) What radiation protective measures are in place for workers who routinely scour Australia’s gas pipelines.

3863  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs—With reference to the nominal roll prepared for the cancer incidence and mortality study of British nuclear weapons testing personnel:

(1) Is it the case that, of the 8 590 civilians identified on the nominal roll, some had left the range before any weapon was fired; if so, how many civilians were in this category and why are they to be included in the study.

(2) Why is it that the study will not cover non-cancerous, auto-immune system, genetic or psychiatric/anxiety outcomes.

(3) Has the Minister responded to the submission made by the Nuclear Veterans to the Consultative Forum (NVCF) explaining some of the study problems; if so, can a copy be provided; if not, why not.

(4) Will the study be modified in light of that submission; if so, how; if not, why not.

(5) What is the latest estimated date of completion of the study.

(6) Has the Minister considered the recommendations of the NVCF that, as an interim measure and to partly compensate for the long delays in establishing the study, immediate action is undertaken to provide:

(i) health coverage for surviving test participants (equivalent to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs ‘Gold Card’),

(ii) coverage for widows (equivalent to war widows), and

(iii) welfare officers to assist veterans, widows and descendants gain access to information relevant to their individual cases.

(7) In a letter addressed to Senator Allison dated 21 August 2001, the Minister said, ‘This protocol will need careful consideration of the Scientific Advisory Committee and then referral to relevant ethics committees and the Consultative Forum which has been established’: Does this mean that the methodological and statistical issues will be resolved before the funds are committed to the study.

(8) What is the likely date by which these issues will be resolved.

(9) Have each of the recommendations made by Professor Kaldor in his report on study methodology, dated July 1999, been adopted; if not, why not.

(10) Will the Minister also evaluate the results of the radiobiological pilot studies in New Zealand before committing funds to the mortality study.