Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Australia is spending $billions to fight tiny killer coronaviruses. Australia should be equally worried about tiny killer nuclear particles.

July 1, 2021

Australia ought to have extensive knowledge on the effects of ionising radiation.   Britain exploded 12 major nuclear bombs and 29 smaller ones in Australia and some neighbouring islands, in the 1950s.   The resulting clouds of radiation would have affected especially indigenous people, Aborigines, Islanders, and also soldiers, and the white population.

Was any epidemiological research done on these populations?   No, there was not.

Australia has had 13 uranium mines, 3 still in operation. It’s not as if the old ones have been thoroughly cleaned up.  Ionising radiation from these mines would have affected miners, the mining community, and Aboriginal communities, and may still be affecting them.

Was any epidemiological research done on the health of these populations?  No, there was not.

This is  why the nuclear lobby can say, confidently –  there is no evidence of harm to health in Australia, from low level ionising radiation.

Plenty of other evidence of individual cases – but these can be brushed off as “anecdotal”.

As the the Australian government plans a radioactive waste dump on agricultural land, and the global nuclear industry successfully lobbies some Australian politicians, it is time to genuinely examine the research that has been done, in other countries.   We pay attention to epidemiology about tiny viruses, why not to epidemiology about tiny radioactive particles?

Because ANSTO shut down cyclotron, Australia has the problem of importing a short-lived medical isotope

January 16, 2021

Why did ANSTO shut down National Medical Cyclotron, that made medical isotopes without nuclear waste?

January 14, 2021
Greg Phillips.  Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch, 13 Jan 2021,
Why did the “National Medical Cyclotron” (30MeV) get snuffed out after only 20 years? It was our only way of making Iodine123 here in Australia. Canada has been keeping its giant cyclotron (520MeV) going for over 40 years – and going strong.
Our National Medical Cyclotron was commissioned in 1990 and decommissioned in 2010 (the Opal reactor was officially opened in 2007 – perhaps that’s a clue). During this pandemic we have had to import Iodine123 at great expense from Japan. I get the feeling that ANSTOs management has been more interested in supporting “nuclear reactor partners” (eg. South Africa, China, UK..) than supporting a clean, resilient isotope supply for Australia.
I wonder how many of these new advanced Cyclotrons we could have bought instead of going down the Moly99 waste factory path. This cyclotron can make many medical isotopes, including Iodine123 and Technetium99. Also.. “The TR-24 cyclotron is designed to operate for more than 30 years and can be readily upgraded on-site.”    https://fiveyearplan.triumf.ca/teams-tools/tr24-cyclotron/  . https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052

Kimba community unaware that Australia’s medicine does not need nuclear reactor

June 18, 2020

even ANSTO is using cyclotrons for generating imaging isotopes! And we actually have imaging/cyclotron partnerships set up in almost every major city in Australia….do not produce nuclear wastes.……..(expanding nuclear production) so that ANSTO can become one of the major players in the global export market. Where was this information in the glossy handouts given to Hawker and Kimba?

Name withheld. to Senate Committee on  National Radioactive WasteManagement Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions] Submission 39  Excerpt

“States and territories are responsible for managing a range of radioactive waste holdings, accounting for about one per cent of total radioactive waste holdings in Australia.”…according to the DIIS – “Australian Radioactive Waste Management Framework April 2018”page 7
https://www.industry.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-
04/australian_radioactive_waste_management_framework.pdf

And what about the requirement of the diagnostic isotope for Australians? It is afterall in our best interests to maintain this? This is an interesting question. In Senate Estimates Adi Paterson in 2017 stated…. ”As we submitted to the question on notice, currently approximately 28 per cent of molybdenum-99 produced by ANSTO is used domestically. Approximately 72 per cent of Mo-99 produced by ANSTO is exported, meeting a global need for access to life-saving nuclear medicines.” https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;db=COMMITTEES;id=committees%
2Festimate%2F0493150c-8738-423c-a856- 9cb37d9e9073%2F0009;query=Id%3A%22committees%2Festimate%2F0493150c-8738-423c-a856- 9cb37d9e9073%2F0000%22

He then goes on to say later at the Senate Estimates, “The research use of isotopes predominantly takes place in our Camperdown facility, where we produce flourine-18, carbon-15 and oxygen-11.
These are cyclotron-based isotopes which are used for different types of clinical development of new imaging techniques, for developing new drugs and understanding the biological function of human living systems. That is a research cost for the production of those isotopes. There are small
amounts of isotopes whose inclusion into clinical trials we support. We do that under a very careful set of rules that ensures that should those clinical trials be successful we will be able to sell into the market the isotopes we produce that have supported the clinical trials. We have very good protocols on that which are very clear. We also sometimes undertake trials with stable isotopes, which are sourced from different jurisdictions. These are not radioactive isotopes, but with our careful tracing capabilities we can make use of those isotopes as well.”

So, even ANSTO is using cyclotrons for generating imaging isotopes! And we actually have imaging/cyclotron partnerships set up in almost every major city in Australia. For example Adelaide has one set up in the SAHMRI building. The thing about cyclotrons is that the isotopes are generatedon site, and do not have a distance factor involved and do not produce nuclear reactor quantities of nuclear waste!

And just for those interested, there are now advancements being made in immunotherapy and nanotechnology which means that patients can now receive treatment in a way which does not disrupt normal cells as a consequence. Immunotherapy is genetically modifying your own cells and
then reinjecting them into you to fight the cancer cells specifically. And nanotechnology is a way of specifically directing chemotherapy drugs specifically to cancer cells. Scott Morrison has injected almost half a billion dollars into Victoria to aid in this cutting edge technology. And neither involve nuclear reactors. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-11/nanocrystals-could-change-the-waycancer-
is-treated/7079958
https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/peter-maccallum-cancer-centre-to-become-globallifesaving-
cancer-treatment-hub-under-budget-boost/newsstory/
7e6e0880ddac37973d1588c56c13a064

But getting back to the quantities of Molybenum-99 produced by ANSTO. Only 28% is used by Australians. This is for 550,000 doses produced per annum. And 72% is exported. Now, ANSTO has a brand new ANM building which they are intending to use to generate 10 MILLION DOSES PER
ANNUM, so that ANSTO can become one of the major players in the global export market. Where was this information in the glossy handouts given to Hawker and Kimba?
With higher production of course comes higher levels of nuclear waste. It is one of the reasons why Canada exited the global
market scene because it was too expensive for their own taxpayers to continue to subsidize.

“Scheduled to be turned on just next year, once the ANM Project is fully operational, Australia will go from producing 550,000 doses of medicine a year to more than 10 million doses a year.“Our medicine production will increase exponentially. We’ll be producing enough medicine to meet more than a quarter of world demand,” said ANSTO CEO Dr Adi Paterson.” https://anstoprod.
cd.pnx.com.au/news/four-million-nuclear-medicine-doses-produced-and-going-strong

The ANM Project received operational licence by ARPANSA in late 2018.So for people like our MP’s to say that we all as Australians use the medical isotopes and therefore are responsible for the nuclear waste generated runs a bit hollow when we are actually propping up a major player in an export market!…..”

Cyclotrons are the no nuclear waste future for medical isotopes. ANSTO take note.

December 18, 2017

Steve Dale shared a link.Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South , Australia, 18 Dec 17,

Can anyone help ANSTO? They are heading down the wrong track with their medical isotope world domination dreams. Cyclotrons are the no-waste future. “The advantage of using cyclotron rather than buying isotopes for medical application is that as the isotopes has short half-life period. By the time an isotope reaches its destination it covers its half-life. However, by having a cyclotron in the medical facility it not only reduces the cost but also, increase the number of scans to the patients in a given day. ” – and yes, they can now produce high quality Technetium 99m.
Significant Growth Foreseen by Medical Cyclotron Market During 2017-2027, 

Medical cyclotron is a machine used in the medical imaging and research field to make relatively short lived radioisotopes. Cyclotron is a particle accelerator. It is an electrically powered machine that produces a beam of charged that is then further used in medical, industrial and research processes. A cyclotron machine takes the hybrid atom (these are hydrogen that make up water except they have a negative charge) and accelerate it to very high speed. When this procedure has enough energy, the energy is spent into a target where the reaction is taken.

The new element that is produced with the strike of positive ion and neutron is radioactive element that is used for the treatment in medical research. The major isotope that is used for the cyclotron is fluorine-18. Its ability to decay itself to produce positrons, which is used around the world for Positron Emission Tomography and PET scans.

PET scans are used for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. With the product obtained from a cyclotron, we can produce a wide variety of isotopes of our interest for medical imaging such as iodine-123, Technetium-99m and Gallium-67.

The advantage of using cyclotron rather than buying isotopes for medical application is that as the isotopes have short half-life period. By the time an isotope reaches its destination it covers its half-life.

However, by having a cyclotron in the medical facility it not only reduces the cost but also, increase the number of scans to the patients in a given day. The medical facility that used cyclotron is required to be built with extensive safety such as multiple levels of shielding, monitoring and protection to ensure safe operations…….http://www.satprnews.com/2017/12/13/significant-growth-foreseen-by-medical-cyclotron-market-during-2017-2027/

Australia’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor is simply NOT NECESSARY for making medical isotopes

August 23, 2017
85% of ANSTO Lucas Heights isotope production is for Technetium 99. This can also be made in a cyclotron by using electricity – which makes NO Intermediate Level Waste & NO long lived LLW – thereby negating a national radioactive dump facility
Having the CRIC located on the same site as SAHMRI’s cyclotron will enable new shorter half-life compounds to be used in research. There are now several compounds being developed using the cyclotron for conditions such as dementia, cancer and cardiovascular disease which need to be tracked by advanced imaging machines.

State’s most advanced clinical imaging centre, worth $13m, opens at SAHMRI  http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/states-most-advanced-clinical-imaging-centre-worth-13m-opens-at-sahmri/news-story/a20eb257edad98bb0597dd787aa6837b?nk=ba26857f63080120cbd5fc74c94d3959-1503458683, Brad Crouch, Medical Reporter, The Advertiser February 15, 2017   THE growing South Australian Health and Biomedical Precinct takes another step forward today with the opening of the most advanced clinical imaging centre in the state.

The $13 million Clinical and Research Imaging Centre at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute has been established in partnership with Dr Jones and Partners Medical Imaging.

Space on the ground level of the SAHMRI building on North Terrace has become a Dr Jones & Partners clinic, with dedicated time allocated to SAHMRI researchers for clinical research without compromising the scheduling of patient treatments.

State-of-the-art imaging equipment in the centre includes CT, MRI and PET/CT platforms.

Officials say the arrangement is moving SAHMRI in a new direction of commercialisation with industry partners to create a facility to benefit researchers with the aim of improving the treatment and diagnosis of patients. (more…)

Queensland children’s health at risk – need to re-introduce fluoridation of water

November 14, 2016
diagram-fluoride

New Queensland Health data shows 3223 children aged 10 and under required hospital treatment in 2013-14 for dental caries (the scientific term for tooth decay or cavities).

More than 51 per cent of Queensland five to 10-year- olds who attended public dental clinics in 2014-15 had decay in their baby teeth. On average, four teeth were affected.

Decay in Queensland children aged five to 10 was 20 per cent higher than national averages to 2012-14 and 33 per cent higher in the permanent teeth of nine to 14-year-olds.

Queensland’s Chief Dentist Dr Mark Brown said he was concerned by the “high level of tooth decay” in children, describing it as “a significant problem”.

In terms of population, about three-quarters of the state has water fluoridation – up from less than 5 per cent before the Bligh government made fluoridated water supplies mandatory for communities of more than 1000 people in 2008.

But since 2012, changes made under former premier Campbell Newman have allowed councils to pull out of fluoridating water supplies.

“My concern is for the quarter of the population in regional and rural Queensland who don’t have access to fluoridation,” Dr Brown said. “That community is being left behind when most Australians now have access to water fluoridation.”.

Australian Dental Association state fluoride spokesman Dr Michael Foley said there was no doubt water fluoridation reduced the risk of decay.

  “We’re spending a fortune on general anaesthetics for kids with dental decay,” he said. “It’s stupid. Water fluoridation saves truckloads of money in saved dental costs.”

Dr Foley said he would like to see the State Government take control of fluoridating drinking water, rather than local councils. (more…)

Deceiving a jury about nuclear radiation – Greg Ward, Chad Jacobi, Nigel McBride, Jason Kuchel, Michael Penniment

July 17, 2016

 

banana-spinBananas, brazil nuts and some other foods contain radioactive potassium-40 — but in extremely low doses. Potassium-40 in bananas has a specific activity of 71 ten millionths of a curie per gram. Compare that to the 88 curies per gram for Cesium-137. This is like comparing a stick of dynamite to an atomic bomb. Our bodies manage the ingested Potassium 40, so that after eating bananas, the excess is quickly excreted and the body’s Potassium-40 level remains unchanged.

The radioactive isotopes that come from nuclear fission (such as strontium -90, cesium -137 and iodine 131) were unknown in nature before atomic fission: our bodies are not adapted to them. And as well as being far more radioactive that Potassium -40, they can accumulate in the body.

I had hoped for something sensible to come out of these Citizens’ Juries. That doesn’t look like happening if the juries continue to be fed this kind of nonsense. 

On the matter of ionising radiation and health, Noel Wauchope rebuts five misleading speakers at the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury hearings on Australia’s nuclear waste importation plan.

IN TWO DAYS of 25 Citizens’ Jury sessions in Adelaide (on 25-26 June), about nuclear waste importing, there was minimal coverage of the question of ionising radiation and health.

What little there was, was skimpy, superficial and downright deceptive, in 209 pages of transcripts.

There was not one mention of the world’s authoritative bodies on the subject — The World Health Organisation, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission or any of the reports on biological effects of ionising radiation.

There was no explanation of the “linear no threshold” (LNT) theory on ionising radiation and health, despite the fact that this theory is the one accepted by all the national and international health bodies, including the Ionising Radiation Safety Institute of Australia who, on this topic, quote the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

Instead of explaining this basic concept in radiation protection, the slight coverage on radiation and health given to the Jury, was done in a trivial manner as the following examples (listed in the transcript report) illustrate.

First Speaker

Greg Ward, Chief of Staff, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, was asked the following question by a juror (p 28):

“Why didn’t the commission report to us the effect of radioactivity in these two [Hiroshima and Nagasaki] populations?”

Greg Ward

That’s just one example … There are lots of studies being undertaken … to look at it from other angles as well … I would have to say that there’s a cloudy area, and that’s largely around the impact of low doses of radiation on humans … You’ve got others who would argue that actually small amounts of radiation actually has a beneficial effect on your immune systems, but there’s certainly no — I would have to say there’s no universal agreement at this point.

Rebuttal

But there IS universal agreement on the Linear No Threshold theory, as explained by the health bodies named above.

Second Speaker

Chad Jacobi, Counsel Assisting, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (p. 31):

Chad Jacobi

the effects that we’re looking at, they are what are known as stochastic effects, they deal with lower doses where you need to do epidemiological studies in order to determine the relationship between radiation and a particular consequence … outstanding evidence, from Geraldine Thomas … She gave excellent evidence on this topic and her evidence is very interesting.  

Rebuttal

Mr Jacobi did not go on to explain any of this evidence, so the jurors were left in the dark here.

However, Professor Geraldine Thomas of the Imperial College London, cited by Jacobi, is well known as a speaker promoting the message that ionising radiation is nothing to worry about. She pops up wherever the nuclear lobby is doing a soft sell and in particular, downplays the health effects of radiation on all species as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. She also claimed (at an international conference on radiation research in Warsaw in 2011):

Following Fukushima I doubt that there’ll be any rise in thyroid cancers in Japan.

Thomas’ views are greatly contested. Screening has shown an abnormal rise in thyroid cancers in Fukushima. Professor Timothy Mousseau has studied the Chernobyl and Fukushima situations extensively, finding ill effects of radiation — including genetic damage and increased mutation rates in many species.

Third Speaker

Nigel McBride, Chief Executive Business SA — the state’s peak business and employer group. Mr McBride had a lot to say — some snatches (p 88):

Nigel McBride

Maralinga atomic experiments … British atomic tests are not linked to this discussion; they’ve got nothing to do with it very subtle way of linking two completely unrelated issues to bring fear and emotion … 60,000 people work directly in the UK nuclear industry and in 60 years there has not been one fatality. Neither has there been a fatality in Canada, France, Germany, India and even the U.S. … Five and a half thousand people we understand die from some level of obesity yet we don’t ban sugar and sugary drinks … education over hysteria.

Rebuttal

On Maralinga, from Keith Thomas, Chief Executive of the South Australian Native Title Services (p 97):

Keith Thomas

For Aboriginal people the past really does shape the present and the future. Significant events like happened at Maralinga very much become a part of that … that’s affected people all the way to the present as there’s people dying young, which shouldn’t be happening … Aboriginal people — “We don’t want that stuff here because we’ve seen what it does to people.”

On nuclear workers’ fatalities:

An investigation in the U.S. last year, revealed at least 33,480 American nuclear workers died as a result of their radiation exposure. International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organisation also reported on nuclear workers’ leukaemia.

Fourth Speaker

Jason Kuchel, Chief Executive South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy. At last, the fun part about bananas and chocolate. He provided these to jurors, as some sort of evidence of the benignness of ionising radiation (p 117):

Jason Kuchel

I took the opportunity during the break to put some bananas and some chocolates on the tables … you will get to see the point of that as we go through. … [the risks of] getting an x-ray, flying in a plane or even eating a bananaAt the Onkalo waste repository in Finland, the worst case radiation dose if someone were to stand on top of the facility for a whole year and there was a defective package, the equivalent radiation would be equal to eating one bite of a banana.  

As the facility is not yet accepting radioactive waste, all that hardly matters. And that was all from Mr Kuchel.

Fifth Speaker

Associate Professor Michael Penniment, Director Royal Adelaide Hospital, went on at length about the present storage of radioactive materials in hospitals and so on in Adelaide. He took a long time to go near the question of health effects of low level radiation but he finally got to talking about radioactive sources (p 124):

Michael Penniment

It may be that you may not want to avoid them anyway … I got the banana association straight up. I didn’t get the Lindt one [the reference is to the Lindt chocolate factory, which is quite near a nuclear power plant]; I didn’t see that coming. But certainly there’s some radioactive potassium.

You can decrease your risk by doing a few things: you can live in a wooden house, that will take per cent house; if you live in a tent, that will take 20 per cent off; if you live in the open, that will take 50 per cent off.  (He goes on to elaborate the benefits of radiation in treating cancer).  And that’s it — end of his presentation.

However, later in the Q and A section, Penniment did return to that subject ( p.132):

I saw an article by … David Webb … in the follow-up to Chernobyl … there were 28 deaths, and those were the radiation workers that were sent in to clean up the initial spill … And then there was something of the order of 1500 people that died from suicide because of their concerns about radiation, which he described as really the fallacy of radiation, that those people were so worried, and beyond that nobody has died form that incident.

There’s even data that suggests, and it’s reassuring to me, there was data from the British Radiology Association a number of years ago that low level exposure that’s above what we’ve set as the community limit actually may have an improvement in health in terms of what’s called radiation hormesis. The study of radiation workers in the 50s and 60s where controls aren’t as tight as 30 they are now suggests that it may actually have a very low level exposure to radiation but above what we would deem safe might actually have an improvement in health.

Rebuttal

On Chernobyl deaths:

Professor Penniment has taken his information from the World Nuclear News. As well as the sources noted above, eminent Russian scientists have put the death toll at 985,000. The most recent study TORCH-2016, an independent scientific evaluation of the health-related effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, explains the difficulty in getting an accurate estimate but suggests a conservative estimate of 30,000.

On nuclear workers’ health: 

As explained above, in rebutting Nigel McBride.

On radioactivity of bananas:  

Bananas, brazil nuts and some other foods contain radioactive potassium-40 — but in extremely low doses. Potassium-40 in bananas has a specific activity of 71 ten millionths of a curie per gram. Compare that to the 88 curies per gram for Cesium-137. This is like comparing a stick of dynamite to an atomic bomb. Our bodies manage the ingested Potassium 40, so that after eating bananas, the excess is quickly excreted and the body’s Potassium-40 level remains unchanged.

The radioactive isotopes that come from nuclear fission (such as strontium -90, cesium -137 and iodine 131) were unknown in nature before atomic fission: our bodies are not adapted to them. And as well as being far more radioactive that Potassium -40, they can accumulate in the body.

I had hoped for something sensible to come out of these Citizens’ Juries. That doesn’t look like happening if the juries continue to be fed this kind of nonsense.

Debunking the myths around medicine and a nuclear waste dump

March 7, 2016

A very comprehensive 2010 OECD Nuclear Energy Agency report found reactor based isotope production requires significant taxpayer subsidies, as the cost of sale does not cover the cost of production.

The report concludes: “In many cases the full impact of Mo-99/Tc-99m provision was not transparent to or appreciated by governments… The full costs of waste management, reactor operations, fuel consumption, etc were not included in the price structure. This is a subsidisation by one country’s taxpayers of another country’s health care system. Many governments have indicated that they are no longer willing to provide such subsidisation.”

What is needed urgently is a debate about how much waste we make. We have a choice: whether we follow ANSTO’s expensive business model to ramp up reactor manufacture (and the long-lived radioactive waste that goes with it), or collaborate with Canada to develop cyclotron manufacture of isotopes that does not produce long-lived nuclear waste.

Debunking the myths around medicine and a nuclear waste dump

Nuclear Waste In Australia: A Few Home Truths https://newmatilda.com/2016/03/07/50511/   By  on March 7, 2016 Australia’s hunt for a central nuclear waste dump continues, but we already have more waste than we know what to do with, writes Margaret Beavis.

The Federal government is seeking a location for a nuclear waste facility. But the provision of information to communities has been problematic, with some major flaws.

Claims have been made that provision of nuclear medicine services is a key reason to build it, but existing medical waste makes up a very small proportion of the total waste requiring disposal.

In addition, little has been said about ANSTO’s business plan to greatly ramp up Australia’s reactor based production of isotopes from 1 per cent to over 25 per cent of the world’s market, which will massively increase the amount of long-lived radioactive waste produced in the future.

A new process may reduce the volume of the waste, but the actual quantity of radioactive material to store will be significantly greater, and will become most of the radioactive waste Australia produces.

In Australia nuclear medicine isotopes are indeed useful, but according to Medicare figures represent less than 3 per cent of medical imaging. They are most commonly used for bone scans and some specialised heart scans. They are not needed (as claimed by government) for normal X-rays, most heart scans and the vast majority of cancer treatments (surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy). (more…)

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) dishonest about medical isotopes

February 5, 2016
Medical isotope production
Medical Association for the Prevention of War, 5 Feb 16 Media reports today linking continued access to nuclear medicine to the development of a new national nuclear waste facility do not correctly reflect the situation or advance considered discussion of these issues, according to leading national public health group the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW).
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), which runs the Lucas Heights reactor, has increased pressure on the waste dump selection process by saying it will run out of storage capacity by early 2017, and will have to stop making medical isotopes for nuclear medicine use. This statement omits many facts.
ANSTO has quietly decided to develop a reactor based export industry for medical isotopes, to supply 30% of the world market. This plan, made with no public debate or inquiry, would very significantly increase waste from reactor use.
In contrast, Canada had an extensive public review of its reactor production in 2009, and decided it did not wish to continue using a reactor to produce isotopes. Reasons included lack of reliable supply (reactors only operate 80% of the year, and do break down from time to time), expense to the taxpayer of the production, and the burden of nuclear waste left in Canada due to international use.
The Canadians have developed proven methods of isotope production using cyclotrons (which does not generate reactor waste), with a successful pilot in January 2015. They are now in the process of scaling up and getting regulatory approvals for this, and look to be able to supply Canada in the next 3-5 years.
It should be noted that using medical isotope produces extremely little waste. It is reactor production of isotopes that needs public debate and scrutiny.
We can continue with ANSTO’s business plan, and export to supply the world market. This will leave Australia with vastly increased burden of nuclear waste from international nuclear medicine use, and is the more expensive option.
We can return to business as usual supplying Australia, which means we produce isotopes less than one day a week (not five days a week), with a subsequent major decrease in radioactive waste. This would enable all parties to plan world’s best practice storage in a rational and calm manner. We could further partner with Canada and work to develop cyclotron production of isotopes at commercial scale in Australia.
This is cheaper and more reliable than reactor production, and does not leave communities, taxpayers and future generations with a nuclear waste burden that will last for millennia. And unlike a nuclear reactor, it poses almost no accident, proliferation or terrorist risks. We do not need to choose between access to nuclear medicine and the time and processes needed to advance responsible radioactive waste management.