Ship laden with nuclear waste heading to Australia despite safety concerns

The 25 tonnes of waste was originally generated by Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and sent to France in 2001 for reprocessing.

Australia generates nuclear waste from ANSTO's research reactor program, and successive governments have, unsuccessfully, attempted to find a new dumping site for this waste.

An Areva spokesman said some small flaws had been found in the inspection that had been corrected.

Once in Australia, the waste is set to be held at the Lucas Heights facility in Sydney.

Dave Sweeney, anti-nuclear campaigner at the Australian Conservation Foundation, said the placement of the waste at Lucas Heights is the “least worst option”.

“It’s a purpose built facility that is secure and has the highest level of nuclear expertise,” he said.

“In the future we need a full, public process that looks at the full range of options. Australia has to take responsibility for its own waste but we strongly believe that Australia shouldn’t become an out of sight, out of mind dumping ground for the world’s nuclear waste.”