Marathon’s radioactive uranium waste in a shed in Arkaroola wikderness

In February of this year, Marathon was paid $5 million in compensation by the State Government over the decision to stop it exploring in the Flinders Ranges.

 it is ironic the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is home to a radioactive waste facility.

Radioactive waste being stored in shed in Arkaroola, THE AUSTRALIAN   BRYAN LITTLELY  with Giuseppe Tauriello From: adelaidenow December 25, 2012  IT’S the nuclear-waste facility that few people know about – 21 barrels of medium- to high-level radioactive material stored in a tin shed in South Australia’s Outback paradise.

The waste is in the heart of Arkaroola, the Outback wilderness sanctuary the State Government hopes will one day be included on the World Heritage list.

The facility, known as Painter Camp, is not registered under the Radiation Protection Act and a management plan for its safe and secure operation is still being developed.

In a revelation likely to outrage environmental groups and anti-nuclear campaigners, responsibility for Painter Camp now lies with the State Government, which a decade ago took its fight against the construction of a national radioactive waste depository in our Outback to the High Court. Former premier Mike Rann said in 2003 that “80 per cent of South Australians were opposed to the radioactive waste dump”.

Last year, with his last act as premier, Mr Rann introduced legislation to forever protect the 62,000ha of Arkaroola from mining and created a legacy as the man who saved Arkaroola.
The decision, in July last year, was seen as a major win for conservation groups and a blow to stakeholders of the mining sector – and none more so than Marathon Resources…….

In February of this year, Marathon was paid $5 million in compensation by the State Government over the decision to stop it exploring in the Flinders Ranges.

The Department of Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy inherited the radioactive materials and Painter Camp in October after it advised Marathon Resources on how to upgrade the facility.

The EPA and Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary also were consulted in the upgrade, which added a series of secure above-ground vaults for storing trays of drilling core samples, and the storage shed.

Geologist and Arkaroola manager Marg Sprigg says 226 trays of drilling core samples stored at Painter Camp are “very valuable to the state for ongoing research and studies”. “If there was a registered place for (the waste) to go, I’d be thrilled about that,” Ms Sprigg said.

“A management plan is being put together for the facility. It will be run by the SA Core Library.”

Greens MLC Mark Parnell, who has viewed the materials stored at Painter Camp, says the material in the drums “are not of much value”.

He says it is ironic the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is home to a radioactive waste facility.

“They exist, so they may as well be put to good use, regardless of the campaign to prevent mining. The crushed drilling samples aren’t of much value, however the Greens have long maintained that nuclear waste should be stored with minimal risk and is monitored above ground, in dry storage at or near the site of generation.

“This is also a reminder to visitors that the magnificent landscape of Arkaroola could have been ruined by mining and that if not for the actions of thousands of people who campaigned for protection, the industrial residue would have been much greater.”An EPA spokesperson said DMITRE has applied to have the facility, which sits in a gully in the shadows of uranium-rich Mt Gee and Arkaroola’s famed Ridge Top Track, registered under the Radiation Protection Act.

The EPA did not elaborate on the radiation levels of the materials, however, it is known radiation levels of the materials stored inside the barrels were too high for it to be returned to the ground during a rectification clean-up Marathon was ordered to take by the EPA in 2009.

Most of the barrels now in the shed had been buried by Marathon as a way of disposing of them…… http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/radioactive-waste-being-stored-in-shed-in-arkaroola/story-e6frg6n6-1226543320645

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