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Search for Australia nuclear waste site narrowed

Search for Australia nuclear waste site narrowed
CANBERRA - Australia said yesterday it had narrowed its search for a storage site for the countrys low level radioactive waste to three locations in the central-north region of South Australia. "All sites are located in flat, stony desert country on pastoral leases between Woomera and Roxby Downs. One of the three sites is in the Woomera Prohibited Area, and the other two are east of the Woomera/Roxby Downs road," Industry, Science and Resources Minister Nick Minchin said in a statement. Minchin said the selection of the site will be announced later this year after the results of further investigations have been assessed. Australias low level waste, which includes hospital, research and industry waste, is currently stored at over 50 sites around Australia. The waste, which does not require shielding in handling or storage, will be disposed of in near-surface trenches at the new site, which will be owned and regulated by the Federal government. Minchin on Friday said a nationwide search had been launched to decide where the countrys intermediate level radioactive waste should be stored. The move came amid growing concern in South Australia state that the new site would be located in its remote desert - near the planned low-level waste dump. "There has been no decision to locate a store for Australias long-lived intermediate level waste with the (low-level) repository," Minchin reiterated yesterday. Minchin said Australia had around 500 cubic metres of intermediate level waste, which requires shielding in handling and storage to stop radioactive exposure, stored at many sites around the country. The intermediate level waste, which comes from hospitals, research laboratories and industry, would be housed in an above-ground store in a building constructed of concrete. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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