Toxic tour highlights radioactive danger

Issue 

Toxic tour highlights radioactive danger

By Shane McArthur

ADELAIDE — On July 23, more than 50 people joined a "toxic tour", organised by the environmental group Praxis, to highlight the dangers of long-term radioactive storage sites and publicise the Hiroshima Day rally on August 6.

Amdel storage site in Thebarton was the first stop. It contains waste from the Rum Jungle Mine and Radium Hill. Most of the material was removed in the early 1980s, but recently geiger counter readings revealed radioactive material still in the soakage pots.

The tour moved on to the Highbury dump, where it was met by 100 supporters of the local community group HEART (Highbury Environs Against Refuse Tips). Cheryl Leue from HEART said that the site contained radioactive waste from the Maralinga atomic test site.

This provided the opportunity for many of the participants, new to the anti-nuclear movement, to trek back in time and look at the connection between the impact of the French tests on the Pacific Islanders and the experiences of the Aboriginal people from Maralinga.

The tour also visited the Port Adelaide docks, where the yellowcake from Roxby Downs is shipped out. Local councillor and trade union activist Stephen Spence and Hec Kavanagh, also a councillor, spoke about the history of the Port Adelaide anti-nuclear campaign.

It was an eye-opening journey to discover waste dumps so close to home. The campaign against nuclear testing is more than just an exercise in stopping the French in the Pacific; it must also stop the Australian government from contributing to the nuclear cycle by ending the mining and export of uranium.