SOME of the Aborigines who live in and around a sacred burial place in South Australia can still remember the clouds of poison that were the result of Britain’s nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s. Many of the indigenous population claimed they were exposed to radiation as a result of the post-war atomic weapons tests in the desert and received compensation from the Australian government. But a new kind of radiation could be heading to the remote sacred area of Wallerberdina – nuclear waste. The concerns are centred over a spot 280 miles north of Adelaide, which has become a potential location for Australia’s first nuclear dump. The movement of waste is part of a deal that returns spent fuel processed at the nuclear facility currently being decommissioned to its country of origin. Despite campaigners’ efforts it has emerged that David Peattie, chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), has insisted that there can be no change. And now Aboriginal elder Regina McKenzie has made a last-ditch direct appeal to the First Minister for help to halt Dounreay’s dumping plans, calling for her “not to be part of the cultural genocide of Australian Aboriginal people”. Mr Peattie said in a letter to UK campaigners who are fighting against the dumping: “The NDA does not have an option of retaining the waste in the UK.” 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 being returned to its country of origin. The UK Government has previously confirmed that “a very small quantity of Australian-owned radioactive waste” is currently stored in the country.
Herald 28th Jan 2019 read more »