Lucas Heights Nuclear reactor mainly for “medical uses” That’s a lie!

nuclear-medicine
it would be highly misleading to attribute this predominantly to medical isotope production given the broad range of uses of the HIFAR and MOATA reactors over the last 60 years.
Radioactive waste in Australia, Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) 18 Jan 16   “……..How much medical
waste will be deposited in the repository?
Less than 1% is medical waste (leftover radium and some disused sources). Most states and territories each only have a few cubic metres of low level medical waste.
 There are broadly two areas in which radioactive material is used for medical purposes:
Nuclear scans for investigating disease. These produce the vast bulk of medical nuclear waste. This is short-lived and decays on the medical facilities’ premises until its activity is negligible. It then is disposed of safely and appropriately in the usual manner of most waste (sewers, incineration, landfill tips etc.) according to set standards.
Cancer treatment radiotherapy. Most radiotherapy uses X-rays or electromagnetic radiation which do not produce any waste at all. A very small proportion of cancer treatment actually relies on radioactive materials, which almost all decay rapidly. Longer lived sources must be returned to their (overseas) sources when used up and so do not need local disposal. The provision of nuclear medicine services does not depend on a permanent waste repository.
What about the radioactive waste derived from the production of medical isotopes at Lucas Heights?
 • Firstly, most countries import their medical isotopes and clearly do not store the waste involved in its production. Medical isotope supply is a globalised industry with five reactors supplying over 95% of the world’s supply. Australia’s domestic production of medical isotopes is a policy choice not a medical necessity.
 • Secondly, Canada (the world’s biggest supplier) is switching to non-reactor isotope production, which does not create radioactive waste. This will significantly reduce Canada’s accumulation of waste. In contrast, ANSTO is proposing to dramatically increase reactor isotope production to sell to 30% of the world market. As a result Australia will accumulate much more waste from international isotope sales. Developing cyclotrons instead (like Canada) would eliminate radioactive waste from isotope production. • Thirdly, as outlined above, the majority of waste requiring long term disposal is not medically related at all. ANSTO emphasizes “only 40% of low level radioactive waste” arises from its activities. But ANSTO does not just make medical isotopes; it also produces isotopes for industrial research activities , manufacture of semiconductors and analysis of minerals and samples2 . The contribution to waste production of medical radiopharmaceuticals has been overstated.
Although 61% of Intermediate level waste is ANSTO related, this is only 5.8% of the total waste for the repository. Furthermore, this does not include the returning reprocessed spent fuel, since ANSTO does not classify spent fuel waste. And again it would be highly misleading to attribute this predominantly to medical isotope production given the broad range of uses of the HIFAR and MOATA reactors over the last 60 years……… https://www.mapw.org.au/files/downloads/Radioactive%20waste%20in%20Australia%20colour%20FINAL.pdf https://www.mapw.org.au/download/radioactive-waste-australia-fact-sheet-2016
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