Alice group to oppose date farm as nuke dump site at public meeting
The Federal Government has short-listed a former date farm 70km south of Alice Springs as one of six possible locations to house Australia’s radioactive material.

The government has promised infrastructure upgrades to accommodate the facility and says $10 million will be awarded to the host community.

Opponents of the Central Australia site say it’s flood prone, sits on the edge of two water basins and is productive for horticulture and cattle.

An online petition at change.org has so far attracted 400 signatures.


The petition says bordering the date farm is a land trust made up of three homesteads, the closest being Oak Valley outstation, owned by Mary Le Rossignol and her husband Robert, and the other is Walkabout Bore.

“The proposed nuclear waste dump site is 10km from Oak Valley, our boundary ends at the date farms fence, way too close for comfort,” the petition states.

Tara Liddy, from Oak Valley, said she was opposed to “putting poison into the ground that we belong to”.

“This is where I grew up, and my concern is that my son will not be able to enjoy the same childhood that I did on that country,” she said.

The family has previously claimed they weren’t notified of the landowner’s decision to nominate his freehold property.

Alice Springs doctor Hilary Tyler said the nuclear industry was dirty. “It is a myth that we need a waste dump for medical radioisotopes,” she said. “We can provide all cancer treatment without a nuclear reactor in Australia.” The opponents say Lucas Heights in Sydney has capacity to store all nuclear waste generated there for the next 20 years. “There is no rush to impose a dump on an unwilling community in an environmentally unsuitable location,” organisers of the meeting said in a statement.

Tokyo children's park closed over radiation
Extremely high levels of radiation have been discovered in a playground in Tokyo, officials said on Friday, fanning fears for the health of children in the area.

Soil underneath a slide at the park in the north-west of the Japanese capital showed radiation readings of up to 480 microsieverts per hour, the local administrative office said.

Anyone directly exposed to this level would absorb in two hours the maximum dose of radiation Japan recommends in a year.

"Many children play in the park daily, so the ward office should explain the situation," Kyodo News quoted a 62-year-old local woman as saying.

The radiation level is over 2000 times that at which the national government requires soil cleaning in areas around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where reactors melted down after the March 2011 tsunami.

"Because the area in which we detect radioactivity is very limited, and readings in surrounding parts are normal, we suspect radioactive materials of some kind are buried there," local mayor Yukio Takano said in a statement.

radioactive drone lands on Japanese PMs office
A drone marked with a radioactive sign landed on the roof of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office on Wednesday and tested positive for a "minuscule" amount of radiation, media reported.

Police found the radiation to be low enough not to be harmful to humans, media said.

Public broadcaster NHK said the bomb squad was called in to cart away the drone, which was carrying a small camera and a water bottle.


Abe was in Indonesia on Wednesday attending an Asia-Africa summit. An official at the prime minister's office declined to comment.

It was not immediately clear who sent the drone or why. But a Japanese court on Wednesday approved the restart of a nuclear power station in the southwest of the country, rejecting worries about nuclear safety in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima radiation disaster.

The ruling was a boost for Abe, who wants to reboot nuclear power to help cut reliance on expensive fossil fuel imports.

Televised aerial footage from the prime minister's office showed the drone with propellers covered under cardboard and later a blue tarp.

Broadcaster NHK said an official at the premier's office found the drone and that the device was around 50 cm (20 ins) in diameter. No-one was injured.

Japan, which has a proven track record in electronics and robotics, is looking to fast track industry-friendly regulation to give its drone sector an edge over the United States.

The government is considering the Fukushima nuclear plant, wrecked by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, as a test ground for robots and drones.

A Japanese company this year is planning to mass produce six-propeller drones that could survey radiation levels and help with the government's decommissioning effort, media have said.

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Fresh leak detected at Fukushima nuclear power plant
Sensors at the Fukushima nuclear plant detect a fresh leak of highly radioactive water going into the sea. The higher-than-normal levels of contamination were detected on Sunday, with sensors showing radiation levels 50 to 70 times greater than usual. Though contamination levels fell steadily throughout the day, the same sensors were still showing contamination levels about 10 to 20 times more than usual, a company spokesman said. It was not immediately clear what caused the original spike of the contamination and its gradual fall, he said.

aussie uranium fuels this ongoing disaster

Fixing old Rum Jungle uranium mine to cost $200m
The Department of Mines and Energy is seeking $200 million from the Federal Government to rehabilitate the former Rum Jungle mine site. Attempts to rehabilitate the site, Australia's first uranium mine, stem back to the 1970s. Scientists from the Department of Mines and Energy (DoE) have been drilling at the site over the past three weeks and analysing rock samples. Everybody knows that Rum Jungle has been here for a long time, but that doesn't mean we should still sit on it for a long time. Tania Laurencont, Department of Energy It is estimated that five million cubic metres of rock will need to be relocated or re-buried in two of the mine's deepest pits. The process is likely to take three years and cost millions, scientists say. "Everybody knows that Rum Jungle has been here for a long time, but that doesn't mean we should still sit on it for a long time," said DoE principal mining scientist Tania Laurencont. "During stage one we set that cost at just over $100m but as you work through detailed designed it's certainly looking more in the range of $200 million," she said. Uranium and copper were mined at the site from the 1950s until the site closed in 1971. Waste rock at the site was buried but it started releasing acid and metals into the nearby East Finniss River. Ms Laurencont said the rocks were larger and more oxidised than was thought.

The Department said a purpose-built facility was needed to store the waste, so there was no further damage to the environment. Last year the Federal Government allocated $14 million for developing a rehabilitation plan, in addition to $8 million already spent on a preliminary plan. Acidic drainage has plagued the site since it closed and the Finniss River is a significant fishing sport for Indigenous people and Territory anglers. The recreational reserve now known as the Rum Jungle South Recreation Reserve was shut from 2010 until 2012 by the Northern Territory Government where some low-level radiation was detected. The Department will present its plan of rehabilitation to the Treasury in March next year. Other plans to rehabilitate include cleaning up other areas of the site and reintroducing vegetation onto the site.