Northern Territory nuclear waste dump ‘contravenes UN declaration’

Oliver Milkman reporting on Austrailan policy makers crafting terminal policy on disposal of low level nuclear waste. Apparently they are backing off original plan to dump it on indigenous peoples’ territory. Here is an excerpt from The Guardian:

“The government risks breaching an international agreement if it goes ahead with a controversial nuclear waste dump in a remote part of the Northern Territory, conservationists say, with Labor Senate candidate Nova Peris calling for the plan to be dropped.

Conservationists claim that the Muckaty dump, near Tennant Creek, would be in contravention of the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, which states that nations must “ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent”.

The basis of this consent is currently being challenged in the federal court, with a directions hearing set to take place in Melbourne on 26 August.

Opponents of the dump have waged a lengthy battle against the Northern Land Council, responsible for nominating the Muckaty site, which they claim didn’t have the full consent of Indigenous communities before striking a $12m deal to choose the location eight years ago.

Gary Gray, the resources minister who recently visited the site, told Guardian Australia that the government would not push ahead with the Muckaty site until the case was resolved. Anti-dump campaigners have welcomed this, given that the case could take several years to conclude.

However, Gray added: “The government is not considering the viability of other sites. Under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012, only volunteer nomination sites may be considered for a facility.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/aug/14/test-nuclear-waste-nova-peris

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