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Nuclear waste dump on Aboriginal land invalid, court told via phys.org

The earmarking of a remote Australian outback area as a nuclear waste dump was invalid because officials failed to contact all traditional Aboriginal landowners affected, a court heard Monday.
Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory was nominated in early 2007 as a site to store low and intermediate radioactive waste under a deal negotiated with the Aboriginal Ngapa clan.
While Australia does not use nuclear power, it needs a site to store waste, including processed fuel rods from the country’s only nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights, on the outskirts of Sydney, a facility which is mostly used for nuclear medicine and research.
At the time, the Northern Land Council, the indigenous organisation which helped negotiate the deal on behalf of Aboriginal landholders, said the millions the community would receive as a result would benefit generations.
But opponents have fought against the dump for years, with a trial starting in the Federal Court in Melbourne Monday alleging Muckaty’s nomination was invalid due to a failure of the government and the land council to obtain the consent of all Aboriginal owners.
“What we’re here to say is ‘no more’ and that this process was so legally flawed that it is invalid,” Ron Merkel, who is representing traditional owners, told the court.
“The opposition is in no small part based on a spiritual affiliation to the land and that radioactive waste will poison the land,” he said in comments cited by Australian Associated Press.
The court was told the consent of all groups with a claim to the land was required for the facility to go ahead, but some Aboriginals whose country was affected have never had a chance to voice their concerns until now.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-06-nuclear-dump-aboriginal-invalid-court.html#jCp

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NT nuclear dump will ‘poison’ land

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