Aboriginal Australians are challenging proposals to transport nuclear waste from northern Scotland to a sacred site. Wallerberdina, 280 miles north of Adelaide, has been identified as a potential location for Australia’s first nuclear waste dump as part of a deal that returns spent fuel processed at a nuclear reactor in Dounreay, Caithness, to its country of origin. The Dounreay Waste Substitution Policy, agreed in 2012, sees waste from Australia, Belgium, Germany and Italy processed at the Scottish facility to make it safe for storage after being returned to its country of origin. Campaigners have complained that the intended South Australian destination forms part of an Aboriginal heritage site rich in burial mounds, fossilised bones and stone tools. Gary Cushway, a dual Australian/British citizen, who lives in Glasgow, has written to the first minister asking for the first shipment to be stalled “until a satisfactory final destination is finalised by the Australian government”. He told The Times: “Radioactive waste is a problem we need to deal with but shifting the problem on to remote indigenous communities isn’t fixing the problem. “It is just creating more problems for indigenous communities that have been mistreated for centuries already.” In a letter sent last Thursday, Mr Cushway said he believed the Scottish government had “an opportunity to take the lead in mitigating the mistakes of the past that the UK government has made, not least the testing of nuclear weapons on indigenous homelands in South Australia and the forced removal of indigenous people that took place to facilitate this”. Speaking on behalf of residents from the Adnyamathanha community who live on land adjacent to Wallerberdina, he added: “The Australian government have no final destination for this waste and at present, the plan is to temporarily store it in an as yet unfinalised national radioactive waste management facility for ‘up to 20 years’.
Times 26th Sept 2017 read more »