“Govt stands by Muckaty for waste dump
SMH April 27, 2010
Resources Minister Martin Ferguson is confident he is consulting with the right traditional owners over the site of Australia’s first nuclear waste dump, despite a looming legal challenge.
The government is considering Muckaty Station, near Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, for a facility that would store low and intermediate level radioactive waste.
The land was nominated by the Ngapa traditional owners, one of five family groups who are custodians of the land, but others oppose the dump.
They have engaged lawyers for a possible legal challenge over who can rightfully have a say over the land.
Mr Ferguson on Tuesday told ABC Radio the Ngapa peoples’ link with the site had been identified in a Northern Land Council anthropological report, which would not be made public.
He was confident the government was dealing with the right group.
While not surprised a legal battle was looming over the dump, Mr Ferguson said time was running out to find a “mature” solution to the nuclear waste problem.
“Half a million Australians a year benefit from nuclear medicine,” he said.
“Eighty-five per cent of that nuclear medicine is actually manufactured in Australia, in accordance with international protocols we have to select a site.”
The waste dump had to be selected and built by 2014 because “time is not on our side”.
© 2010 AAP