National Radioactive Waste Management Facility: Department of Industry and nuclear experts at the Quorn Agricultural show

28 September 2016

Staff from the Federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) and Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) were welcomed to Sunday’s Quorn Show.

Their stand provided information on the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility for the permanent storage of low level waste, and temporary storage of intermediate level waste.

Scientists were also on hand to provide a run down on nuclear science, nuclear medicine, and how the Australian nuclear program touches more lives than people always think.

A spokesperson for the Department said Wallerberdina Station was voluntarily nominated to host the facility, and the next phase of the process, which involves on-going community consultation, heritage surveys and, following this, detailed technical site design and assessment, had now commenced.

“The facility will not proceed unless the community wants it, and things like meetings with residents, newsletters and these stands provide information to help inform the decision,” said the spokesperson.

“This was another great chance for members of our organisations to meet with the community, and for the community to have their questions answered by both the Department and ANSTO experts.

“The Department is discussing the proposal with as many community members as possible to ensure everyone has the opportunity to have their voices heard and to receive additional information.

“We were very pleased with the level of interest, and the number of people dropping by to hear more about the project.”

The inclusion of the bananas at the ANSTO stand was not a random choice – bananas are naturally slightly radioactive, and a good talking point to start conversations about radiation.

“From agriculture and archelogy to environmental research and medicines, nuclear science is used in all sorts of ways, and we were on hand to answer questions,” said an ANSTO spokesperson.

“At the ANSTO stand, people were able to learn about and ‘see’ all the different types of radiation with help from radios, glow boxes, infrared cameras and Geiger counters.

“They were even able to do a quiz on nuclear science for the chance to win a stuffed Professor Proton, Nicky Neutron or Eddy Electron.

“People were very interested in the fact that sunlight, everyday household items like kitty litter, and foods like bananas, nuts and potatoes are radioactive, and even living in a brick house has an effect.”

The people at the ANSTO stand were able to explain that even the staff who work with radioactive waste every day have little or no additional exposure to radioactivity than anyone else.

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