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Nine radioactive site absurd, says Minchin.



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NINE RADIOACTIVE SITES ABSURD, SAYS MINCHIN 9 October 2000

9 October 2000             00/450 

NINE RADIOACTIVE SITES ABSURD, SAYS MINCHIN  The Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin today described the Democrats call for each State and Territory to store its own low level radioactive waste as absurd. 

"Senator Allison is effectively suggesting that Australia house nine separate low level radioactive waste repositories across the country - this defies logic given the relatively small amount of radioactive waste in Australia," Senator Minchin said. 

"A national repository will enable Australia's radioactive waste to be managed more effectively and safely. 

"A purpose built national repository for low level waste and a purpose built national store for intermediate level waste is far preferable to the existing arrangements where radioactive waste is held at more than 50 locations around the country, including hospitals and research institutions in our cities. 

"The Federal and State Government experts agreed as far back as the mid 1980s that Australia should have one purpose built national repository for radioactive waste. 

"This sensible national approach was endorsed by the Keating Government, which with the support of the States initiated the process of siting and constructing a national facility. 

"The central-north region of South Australia was only selected for siting studies for the national repository for low level waste after a nation-wide scientific search that identified it as the best region in which to site the facility. 

"In the case of the national repository for low level waste, two thirds of the waste is already stored in central-north South Australia. 

"The facility will be well managed and monitored to ensure the safe disposal of Australia's low level waste, and regulated by the Commonwealth's independent regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. 

"Senator Allison has at least recognised that the waste produced by our hospitals and universities does need to be disposed of responsibly. 

However the idea that we should now build not one but nine low level waste repositories is absurd." 

Contact: Jennifer Eddy, Senator Minchin's office, 02 6277 7580

CMR531-00

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