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Thursday, 27 March 1980
Page: 1177

Senator O'Byrne asked the Minister for National Development and Energy, upon notice, on 4 March 1980:

(1)   Are trucks carrying radioactive material required to have special safety fittings.

(2)   What was the reason for the unlocked tailgate on the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) truck on Saturday, 16 February 1980, that led to the alert in the Southern Suburbs of Sydney.

(3)   Were any senior AEC staff on duty at the time; if not, were any rostered on call, and how long was it before a senior officer took responsibility.

(4)   Are procedures laid down for the speedy verification of documentation of shipments of radioactive material.

(5)   How long did it take on Saturday, 16 February, to confirm that nothing was missing.

Senator Carrick - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(   1) In NSW radioactive materials are transported in accordance with the NSW Radioactive Substances Act 1957 and regulations implemented under that legislation. Part 12 (3) of the Regulations requires that containers of radioactive materials be so blocked and braced while the container is in a vehicle as to prevent its moving under conditions normally incident to transport.

(2)   The tailgate lock was apparently jolted out of position.

(3   ) Yes, a senior officer took responsibility immediately on return of the vehicle to the Research Establishment.

(4)   Yes.

(   5 ) Approximately 30 minutes.

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