Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Forget nuclear power, we should be worried about expanding the Olympic Dam uranium mine

"To use a non-medical term, these proposals are mind-blowing in the potential risks to this and to future generations"

Sir Gustav Nossal
Fiona Stanley
Peter Doherty
and others

Their actual submission is below. First, here's The Advertiser's report:


August 18, 2009

SCIENTISTS and doctors including a Nobel Prize-winner and two Australians of the year have warned of the "mind-blowing risk" of the Olympic Dam expansion.

The State Government is taking public submissions on the BHP mine's environmental impact statement and the experts warn of arsenic, mercury and uranium which will enter undergroundwater and the atmosphere.

The 15 have written to the State Government warning that up to 5.5 million tonnes of toxic waste in dams with an area of 4000ha will reach ground water within 150 years and dust storms could blow thousands of tonnes from the 242 million tonnes of waste into the atmosphere and all over the state for hundreds of years.

"To use a non-medical term, these proposals are mind-blowing in the potential risks to this and future generations," the letter states.

"There will be direct adverse health impacts and also impacts on future generations."

A spokesman for BHP said the company was studying all the submissions to the EIS and would respond to all of the documents in a supplementary EIS.

The medical experts recommend the project be delayed until after health impact studies can be undertaken and that BHP be made to put aside funds to pay for the health effects for "centuries".

The letter is signed by, among others, Nobel Prize-winner and Australian of the Year Professor Peter Doherty, Australians of the Year Professor Gustav Nossal and Professor Fiona Stanley, former Dean of the University of Adelaide Medical School Professor Bob Douglas and Executive Dean of Health Sciences at Flinders University Professor Michael Kidd.

The experts also point out that South Australia may have to rely on the Great Artesian Basin water below the mine if the Murray becomes unusable.

The toxic waste created by the mine represents 5.5 million standard-size trailers of toxic acids stored in dams 15 times the area of Adelaide's CBD as well as another 242 million trailers of solid material.

Roxby Submission

BHP's Environmental Impact Statement
promotional video