Already, I have received a number of replies to my question to Labor politicians and candidates. Some replies have directly answered the question:
“Would you vote for changing Labor Nuclear Policy or would you vote to keep the present policy?”
Quite a few Labor politicians have opted to send a standard answer, THAT DOESN’T QUITE ANSWER THE QUESTION. (I have wtitten back, politely asking them for more clarity on their personal position) This is their reply:
Thank you for your email regarding nuclear waste.
Labor is strongly opposed to the importation and storage of nuclear waste that is sourced from overseas in Australia.
However, Australian produces much of its own radioactive material – life-saving medical diagnoses and treatments, industry, agriculture, veterinary science, communications and home consumer products all generate and use radioactive material in some way.
Most nuclear waste generated in Australia is low-level nuclear material including contaminated paper, plastic, protective clothing, glassware and smoke detectors.
Australians also produce much smaller amounts of intermediate-level waste from reprocessing spent fuel used in scientific and industrial research as well as production of lifesaving nuclear medicines. Very small volumes also arise from other medical, veterinary and industrial practices including disused radiotherapy and industrial radiography sources.
In health, ANSTO produces more than 500,000 patient doses of life-saving nuclear medicines each year. These are used in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of medical problems including cancers, heart and lung diseases and bone damage. During their lifetime, one in two Australians will benefit from diagnoses or treatment using nuclear medicines. That’s more than 10 million people.
We should not expect these benefits without accepting the responsibility of managing and storing the waste radioactive material generated.
Australia’s current management and storage arrangements create unnecessary complexity, causing safety and security risks.
A national facility will provide a long-term answer to the safe storage and management of the radioactive waste that Australians will continue to produce.
The site-selection process for this national facility is a necessarily long and in-depth process and must not be rushed. Environmental, meteorological, hydrological and heritage evaluations must be considered before final site selection.
Regional consultative committees need to provide extensive and continuing community consultation, honestly and openly, allowing communities to make decisions based on facts.
Labor is committed to finding a solution for storage of Australia’s nuclear waste. We will continue to oppose the importation of nuclear waste from other countries.