Australia’s nuclear radiation regulator is not really “independent”

Jim Green 21 Feb 16 Bruce Wilson (from the federal government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science) and other governments reps were keen to talk up the role of the ‘independent’ regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). But ARPANSA has a troubled history. Its troubles began immediately: the government allowed ANSTO a direct role in selecting the founding CEO of ARPANSA, so ARPANSA’s independence was undermined from the start.

Here’s a more recent example of problems with ARPANSA, summarised in a 2011 ABC article:

“A review of Australia’s nuclear industry regulator, ARPANSA, has found an improper relationship with the main agency it monitors [ANSTO]. The Health Department’s audit and fraud control branch has been investigating how ARPANSA handled allegations of safety breaches and bullying at the nation’s only nuclear reactor in Sydney. Whistleblowers had alleged ARPANSA was too close to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), which runs the Lucas Heights research facility.”

ABC, 8 July 2011, Nuclear regulator ‘too close’ to ANSTO,www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/07/07/3264086.htm

An independent regulator could provide some confidence. But a not-so-independent regulator with a poor track record …

 

More information about ARPANSA:

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