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Thursday, 22 May 1980
Page: 3217

Mr Holding asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 26 March 1980:

(   1 ) Has his attention been drawn to newspaper reports that a Pan American Airways Boeing 747 cargo jet was involved in a landing drama at Mascot Airport, Sydney, on Friday 21 March 1980 (the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph,22 March 1980).

(2)   Is he able to state whether the aircraft was (a) having problems with its nosewheels and (b) carrying radio-active material.

(3)   If the aircraft was carrying radio-active material, (a) what radio-active materials were contained in the cargo, (b) what quantities of each were involved, (c) is his Department or any authority under his control carrying out an inquiry into the incident, (d) what were the findings of any inquiry held and (e) what safety precautions were taken by airport or airline groundstaff, fire and other emergency staff to ensure that (i) general safety and emergency procedures were followed and (ii) radio-active material did not escape from its containers.

(4)   What (a) air navigation laws apply to the air carriage of radio-active and (b) types of containers for radio-active materials are required by air navigation laws.

Mr Hunt -The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   I am aware of the newspaper reports to which the honourable member has referred.

(2)   (a) and (b) The aircraft concerned, a Boeing 747 operating as Pan American Flight 871 reported severe nosewheel shimmy had occurred during the take-off at Nadi and that there could be some difficulty with the landing at Sydney. It also reported that it was carrying radio-active materials in its cargo. In the event the aircraft made a normal landing at Sydney.

(3)   (a) and (b) The aircraft was carrying radio-active materials described in the Air Waybill as:

(i)   Cobalt 57 solid 0.108 curies index 0.S yellow label II packed in lead container,

(ii)   Six pieces marked 5 PO 2 10 radio nuclide. Three pieces 0.01 MCi, 0.036 MCi. Index not applicable to this group. Yellow label I.

(c)   An investigation is being carried out into the incident.

(d)   The investigation has revealed that there was no damage to the nosewheel and that the radio-active materials were being carried in complete compliance with the relevant regulations.

(e)   (i) and (ii) The Atomic Energy Commission, Lucas Heights, to whom some of the radio-active materials were consigned, was alerted and they sent representatives to the airport to deal with any problems which might arise in respect of the radio-active materials. In addition, three ambulances, nine fire brigade units, police (including the police rescue squad) and an airport medical team were in attendance when the aircraft landed. The containers used to carry radio-active materials are designed to withstand damage in accidents.

(4)   (a) In Australia, radio-active materials are carried in accordance with the requirements of Air Navigation Orders Part 33 which require compliance with the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radio-active Materials. These regulations are also applicable throughout the world and packages of radio-active materials cannot be accepted for carriage by air unless they comply fully with the regulations.

(b)   Containers used for the carriage of radio-active - materials must meet the specifications laid down in the IAEA Regulations.

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