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Thursday, 02 August 2018 16:04

CRA expresses concern about long-term effects of nuclear waste storage proposals

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Radoactive nuclear waste 150Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) comprises representatives of religious congregations of women
and men throughout the nation. As a group historically involved with the education of generations
of young Australians, CRA is concerned that short term proposals for the storage of Australia’s
nuclear waste will leave insoluble problems for present and future generations.

Three sites, all in South Australia, have been shortlisted by the Federal Government for a nuclear
waste facility that will permanently hold low-level nuclear waste and temporarily hold intermediate
level waste, toxic for up to 10,000 years. Two are close to the international grain farming area near
Kimba and one near Hawker in the iconic Flinders Ranges. All three sites are strongly contested.

"Our members," said CRA President, Sr Monica Cavanagh, "question the sense, the expense and the
risks of transporting long lived intermediate nuclear waste from where it is temporarily housed at
Lucas Heights, 1700 kilometres across the country to be temporarily stored in a regional, yet to be
built, facility.

"It is disturbing," she went on, "that it is not clear how long the intermediate level
waste will be simply stored at this temporary site as there is no plan for its permanent disposal."

CRA warns that acknowledging "Aboriginal peoples’ strong relationship to the land" must be more
than words. We are uneasy that acknowledgement and the promise of ready, substantial money to
under-funded communities/regions both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, has exerted unfair pressure
to expose their lands and community members to such risks now and for countless generations.

CRA points out that the unknown dangers of groundwater contamination have not been sufficiently
examined and that transport accidents are a real possibility. Moreover, the Barndioota site, and the
entire Flinders Ranges, is considered seismically active. Understandably, the Kimba international
grain farming markets are also at risk by association.

The submissions to the Senate inquiry make sobering reading. This process makes communities feel
powerless – no support is given to those with opposing views, it is a process that is heavily favoured
towards those pro-nuclear and when the rules keep changing to suit those in favour it really gives
people a sense of hopelessness. Kimba resident (Submission No. 61)

Given that most of Australia’s intermediate level nuclear waste comes from Lucas Heights many
believe that it should be kept there, at least until a final disposal solution is established.

"Surely care of Earth and reverence for our land should be our underlying principles," concluded Sr


PDF version: pdf CRA Press Release about disposal of nuclear waste 1 August 2018 (386 KB)

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