Nuclear waste returned to Australia, raising concerns about future dump site via The Guardian

A ship carrying 25 tonnes of radioactive waste arrived in Australia on Saturday, and was met by activists who warned Australia risked becoming a nuclear dumping ground.

About a dozen Greenpeace protesters, some carrying signs such as “Don’t waste Australia”, stood near the entrance to Port Kembla south of Sydney as the BBC Shanghai arrived.

Environmentalists have raised concerns about the safety of the ship, which left the northern French port of Cherbourg in October. One French lawmaker described it as a “dustbin ship”.
Australia sent spent nuclear fuel to France for reprocessing in the 1990s and early 2000s over four shipments, and it has been returned for long-term storage.

Reprocessing involves the removal of uranium and plutonium, stabilising the remaining substances in glass, and placing it all in a container suitable for transport and storage.

The waste will initially be housed at the Lucas Heights reactor in southern Sydney until a nuclear waste dump site is selected and built. It is expected to be trucked to the reactor from Port Kembla overnight.
Six sites, all hundreds of kilometres from major cities and including some outback locations, have been shortlisted for Australia’s first nuclear waste dump.

All the land owners involved are willing to house low to intermediate waste – mostly byproducts of nuclear medicine – which is currently stored at about 100 different sites around the country.

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◇”Environmental groups have raised concerns over the safety of the BBC Shanghai, pointing out it has been blacklisted by the US due to its record.
Greenpeace and French environmental campaigners called for the shipment, sent by French nuclear company Areva, to be halted. But following an inspection, the vessel was sent on its way and is set to arrive in Australia on 27 November.
An Areva spokesman said some small flaws had been found in the inspection that had been corrected.” Ship laden with nuclear waste heading to Australia despite safety concerns.

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