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Warning on nuclear waste sites

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Catholic Religious Australia has questioned the Federal Government’s shortlisting of three sites in South Australia for a nuclear waste facility.

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CRA, which represents religious congregations of women and men throughout the nation, issued a statement last month on the issue, saying the facility would permanently hold low-level nuclear waste and temporarily hold intermediate level waste, toxic for up to 10,000 years.

Two sites are close to grain farming near Kimba and the other is near Hawker in the Flinders Ranges.

“Our members question the sense, the expense and the risk of transporting long-lived intermediate nuclear waste from where it is temporarily housed at Lucas Heights, 1700km across the country to be temporarily stored in a regional, yet to be built, facility,” said CRA president Sr Monica Cavanagh.

“It is disturbing that it is not clear how long the intermedia level waste will be simply stored at this temporary site as there is no plan for its permanent disposal.”

CRA warned that acknowledging Aboriginal peoples’ strong relationship to the land must be more than words.

“We are uneasy that acknowledgement and the promise of ready, substantial money to under-funded communities/regions both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, has exerted unfair pressure to expose their lands and community members to such risks now and for countless generations,” Sr Cavanagh said.

She added that unknown dangers of groundwater contamination had not been sufficiently examined and transport accidents were a real possibility.

Moreover, she said the Barndioota site, and the entire Flinders Ranges, was considered to be seismically active.

“Surely care of Earth and reverence for our land should be our underlying principles,” Sr Cavanagh concluded.

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