Maralinga concern

Submitted: Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:19
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Yesterday post ID 33902 appeared seeking information about going through the Maralinga lands up to Emu. In one of the replies to the post was a link to an article from an ABC Radio National program called Background Briefing. The article concerns the clean-up processes used to try and clear the area of plutonium, caused by the atomic bomb testing program. It cronicles a list of very disturbing events and gives an insight into the scale of the problem and its potential risks to a large area of Australia and Australians. I suggest people have a good read. Having worked at Ceduna for three years and having been born and lived in the far north of SA during the time of most of these tests I am very concerned about what happened. Last year as part of our trip across the Anne Beadell Hwy we were informed by the people at Ilkurlka that the Maralinga traditional owners view this area and Emu Clay Pan as no go zones. From the article, and the stories we heard when working in Ceduna, I think their views are well founded.
Jim
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Reply By: agsmky - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:24

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:24
That story is 6 years old ::shock:: Problem should have decayed by now!

agsmky
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim (Syd) - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:29

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:29
Plutonium has a half life of 24,000 years!! It is also amongst the most toxic substances known to man!!!
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Follow Up By: agsmky - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:33

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:33
Yep, i realise that........It's interesting to see after 6 years the story has drifted off into the deep archive bowels, yet the problem is still there.

agsmky

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Reply By: Lone Wolf - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:32

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:32
This is all very well, but have you considered, what the alternatives could have been, if we hadn't of been aggressive in weapons research?

Have you considered who may have taken Australia by force, and what they would have done?

It is done.

It is history.

People have been misplaced, people have got sick.

People died fighting the enemy in World War 2, who came to our shores.

I was bred in Woomera, during it's hey days, I know about weapons research.

Wolfie
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim (Syd) - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:57

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:57
The Maralinga Tjarutja people did not know that their lands were to be taken from them, they were not at war. They did not know why some of them would get sick and die from these tests and that their children would suffer as well. They did not know that the forced evacuation on the back of cattle trucks to a new area away from their traditional lands would lead to disease and alcoholism, and social breakdown. They did not know that family members would be misplaced only to walk through blast areas soon after these events. Mark Shepherd's book "The Great Victoria Desert" is certainly another insight into the events. As a person who during the course of my job with the SA Health Commission spent time working at Yalata, Koonibba and Ceduna I saw first hand what this can do. And let's not forget the people who were told to go and do the tests, white Australians and people from overseas, how much have they suffered unknowingly. One of the simple messages to come out of this discussion is that this area is very dangerous, don't let it cause you or any of your children to fall victim.
Jim
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Follow Up By: Toytruck - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:58

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:58
Lone Wolf,
I agree, its in the past but.......the weapons research was performed well after WW2. The great Len Beadell began to survey these tracks well after WW2.

I work in weapons reasearch every day, and live jsut down the road from Anne Beadell. The company I work for own the Womera Rocket Range and played a big part in the destruction that took place. We to this day test various weapons in this area, non nuclear I should add.

Pommies have a lot to answer for.
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Follow Up By: stano - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 21:12

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 21:12
"Have you considered who may have taken Australia by force, and what they would have done? "

I'm not sure to which enemy you are referring. The Japanese were defeated.
Stano.
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Follow Up By: Member - Leigh (Vic) - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 22:18

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 22:18
Hey Toytruck..having been through Emu recently can you tell me how clean the area is. Had my young bloke with me & didn't get out of the vehicle (only a 9yo) and after a lap of the area continued on out of the place. I guess all is well??
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Follow Up By: Member - Coyote (SA) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:01

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:01
Hey Toy Truck, I'd be interested to know what company you work for that OWNS Woomera Prohibited Area, especially as about 99% of the area known as WPA is actually Pastoral Lease and the Government only has a caveat on it that allows the area to be used for the "testing of War materials" and the other about 1% is owned by the Australian Government.
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Follow Up By: Toytruck - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 20:38

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 20:38
Coyote,
I didn't say OWNS the prohibited areas, and I am not prepared to say which company I work for on the net however, I can say, the company I work for has land in the Womera area that we continue to use for weapons research. They also own portions near the Alice....something to do with Pine...Trees or Pine Hills or Pine something anyway. We also have a seperate area near Alice where we test a system that let us look well over the horizon and by that I mean we can see whats happening on a runways or maritime or anything that moves for that matter in South East Asia or, maybe even furhter. I best not say much more.

Look, this is a very volatile subject I understand and I feel we have digressed from the original subject so lets jsut leave it at that.

I am not into war but if we, the big Oz, are to keep up with technology that races at a tremendous pace, we must keep our own protection devices up to date. Lets just hope we never need to use em in anger.

Toytruck.
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Follow Up By: Toytruck - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 20:44

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 20:44
Leigh,
there is a lot of excellent country along the Bombs Roads and is there to be enjoyed, I get there every opportunity I have. I have a 5yo a 4 yo and now a third on the way and do not hesitate heading out to these areas however, if the sign says "Prohibited Area", leave it alone.

This is still the best country in the world.

Toytruck
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Follow Up By: Toytruck - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 20:55

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 20:55
Stano,
have I considered who may have invaded this country "when"? WW1, WW2, or sometime since. We have terrorists here as we speak. The Japanese did invade Australia, came in from the North in WW2 and walked back out as they thought it was so easy it must have been a trap, lucky for us. Not unlike Pearl Harbour we were not prepared and the troops weren't ready.

They're ready now I can assure you.

.......just as I side note, the words "war" and "nuclear" certainly stir a lot of emotions and quite rightly so.

Lets get back to talking camping and 4WDriving. Its easier and much more fun.

My 2c
Toytruck.
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:35

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:35
From the Current permit application.

"Access is not permitted from Emu Junction to Maralinga"

So anyone contemplating this route would obviously be doing so without a permit as access IS not permitted.
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Follow Up By: Member - Coyote (SA) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 10:49

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 10:49
I have a permit for this very area. Permits are not generally given to the general public without specific justification.
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 17:03

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 17:03
So what was the specific justification?
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Follow Up By: Member - Coyote (SA) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 18:51

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 18:51
Hey John, I work in Defence and can explain why I/we would want/need to go there. I dont really waqnt to elaborate much more than that but I wanted to let people know that althopugh as a rule you cant go there, but there are ways to get approvals and I would sugest verious groups may get permissionby applying and justifying their reasons... I dont the run of the mill grey nomad/ traveller could use curiosity as justification though..
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Reply By: Richard Kovac - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:57

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 20:57
Jim
I read once that they now date wine by the date of the test at emu and Maralinga because of the fallout freaky ha.
It always a shame that no one seem to take responsibility of these problems the only justification in my mine for doing that they did is that they were scared of there enemy
No smart mine would build a bigger bomb to end life as we know it would they?

like what did Australia get out of it?

Richard
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Follow Up By: Toytruck - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 21:12

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 21:12
Rick,
like it or not there is two sides to every coin, be it tarnished or nice and shiney. Many people were employed, the Len Beadell construction crew were kept employed for years from this activity. The purchase of vehicles, equipment etc etc went on for a long long time. Lets face it, if this activity was not performed, and I am totally leaving out nuclear arguments, the great desert tracks that Len and the crew surveyed in building the "Rocket Range across Australia", the very roads we travel today might not be quite the way they are.

Out of the Gloom something good came from it. I love these tracks. Obviously you have been there also:-)

My 2c

Toytruck.
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Follow Up By: Richard Kovac - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 23:14

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 23:14
cool
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Reply By: Richard Kovac - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 23:14

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 23:14
cool
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Reply By: Member - Andrew W (SA) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 00:46

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 00:46
I took the request to be less specific in it's nature than what you appear to.

For one thing, it is possible to get permits. I had this confirmed for me today.

It may not be desirable, and in fact, they may not be granted - depends on where you plan to go, how you plan to do it, what safety (not radiation safety - personal safety) plans, etc.

Contrary to your statement, the Maralinga Tjarutja traditional owners are well informed - they live within the Maralinga Lands at Oak Valley, and the do "go" to the sites from time to time.

The clay pan at Emu, like the other test sites at Maralinga have been cleaned up. Does that mean you would be allowed to camp on them - most likely not - there are still some restrictions. Does that mean that you would be putting your life in danger going there? Probably only as much as crossing the road or some other deadly activity like that.

The Maralinga Tjarutja lands are a substantial area much larger than the testing area, as surely you know if you lived in Ceduna. I was just looking at the details on the NATMAPs today. The plutonium was only ever to be found at the testing sites.

The ABC story is considerably out of date, (there was a lot of clean up in the '90s through to 2003/4) and as much as I am not one to believe everything governments say, this is what was said in 2003 ...

"The Maralinga Rehabilitation Technical Advisory Committee (MARTAC) report confirms that clean-up of the former British nuclear test site at Maralinga has been a success and the process has been of a world-class standard," Mr McGauran said.

The $108 million Maralinga Rehabilitation Project, the largest clean-up of its type ever undertaken in the world, began in 1995 and was completed at the major test sites in 2000.

It consisted of two major parts - the removal of surface soil from the more contaminated areas and the treatment of contaminated debris pits.

"The report Rehabilitation of Former Nuclear Test Sites at Emu and Maralinga (Australia) fully addresses all aspects of the project," Mr McGauran said.

"It describes the contamination, the agreement of the Commonwealth, South Australia and the traditional owners Maralinga Tjarutja to the clean-up option, the outcomes of the rehabilitation and future land and environment management issues.

"Not only did the project meet required standards, it achieved an excellent safety record and was completed at the major test sites on time and within budget.

"Recently, there has been some criticism of the decision to abandon the use of the in situ vitrification (ISV) process to treat contaminated debris pits.

"The Report concludes that the results of the ISV were unsatisfactory, and after a dangerous explosion in March 1999, could not responsibly be continued with."

The Commonwealth’s independent regulator, ARPANSA, has confirmed that the clean-up met the standards agreed to in 1991 by the Commonwealth and South Australian governments and Maralinga Tjarutja, the traditional owners, prior to the clean-up and was consistent with international guidelines.

ARPANSA has found that possible radiation doses are well below those anticipated at the start of the project and a restricted land-use boundary is purely a precautionary measure.

Stakeholders are now working with the Commonwealth to see that the land is returned to South Australia and given back to the Maralinga Tjarutja traditional owners as soon as possible.

Mr McGauran thanked the Maralinga Rehabilitation Technical Advisory Committee (MARTAC) which prepared the report on the clean-up

Additional information on the MARTAC report is attached. The report can be viewed online at 4pm at Site Link

... there you go - make of it what you will, but scare mongering is unnecessary. Let's be informed a little.

Ciao for now
Andrew
AnswerID: 173273

Follow Up By: Member - Coyote (SA) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 10:54

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 10:54
I plan to be travelling through from Maralinga to EMU later this year and out of interest I'am hoping to take a geiger counter with me.. Will post the result I find but my travelling wil not be to conduct "scientific ' experiments or anything, In fact I wont even be leaving the main roads except to visit with the caretakes at Maralinga so I dont plan to go into any of the sectioned off areas but it will be interesting to just notice if thereis actually any difference in background radiation in this area..
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew W (SA) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:04

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 11:04
make sure you add the geiger counter to your rig description ;-)

The gadget every outback explorer needs!
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Follow Up By: Member - Coyote (SA) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 13:10

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 13:10
I guess it's just one of those bells that you wouldn't ever use again. I'm lucky I can sign soemthing like this out from work. I'd hate to have to buy one.. still. it wil be interesting.. I wonder if I can get a bul bar mount for it ????? Perhaps If i attach a hiclone or finch to it, it would be more sensitive and more efficient too???
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Follow Up By: Member - Coyote (SA) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 13:11

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 13:11
That should be fithc not finch.. although unfortunatley my bull bar has had a few finches fitted to it at various time useing the momentum installation technique.
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Follow Up By: Member - Coyote (SA) - Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 13:11

Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 13:11
Geeez what is it with my typing.. ten thumbs today.. try again.. FITCH
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