Greenpeace Storms Aussie Reactor

17 Dec 2001


Greenpeace Storms Aussie Reactor
The Associated Press
Sunday, December 16, 2001; 10:47 PM

SYDNEY, Australia Dozens of Greenpeace activists dressed up as nuclear waste barrels stormed a nuclear reactor Monday, scaling the walls and unfurling protest banners.

Detective Inspector Laurie Pettiford of the New South Wales state police said 46 people were arrested Monday and would be charged with trespassing.

A four-wheel-drive vehicle was used to block the gates of the Lucas Heights reactor in southern Sydney as two truckloads of activists ran onto the grounds, scaling a radio tower, the main building and a waste storage facility.

Some unfurled banners reading: "Nuclear never safe." One protester chained himself to the top of the main building.

Pam Keenan, a spokeswoman for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization, the government authority that runs Lucas Heights, said Lucas Heights has "layers" of security.

"Because of that security in-depth approach, there wasn't any breach of the secure part of the site," she said.

The facility, a research reactor where scientists produce radioactive medicines sold to hospitals, also supplies irradiated silicon for the semiconductor industry.

The reactor, about the size of a washing machine, possesses only enough radioactive uranium to fill a coffee cup.

Built in 1958, Australia's only reactor is due to be replaced next year.

"A new reactor is unnecessary," Greenpeace activist Stephen Campbell said in a statement explaining the protester's actions.

2001 The Associated Press


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