The truth about Lucas Heights and the supposed medical need for the nuclear reactor

Kazzi Jai shared a link. 18 Feb 19, Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste In The Flinders Ranges

X-rays and CAT scanners (which use x-rays) in hospitals do not use radioactive sources. The films from X-rays are very valuable due to their silver content, and can be recycled if they are no longer required. There are now hospitals which are using phosphor flat plate detectors on their X-ray machines, so that a digital image is obtained and kept on hospital computer files instead of generating a film.

The disposable items such as gloves, gowns, sheets etc used in hospitals for loved ones using nuclear medicine are withheld for a period of 10 or more days, then deemed, according to safety regulations, to be safe to be discarded in normal waste.

Of the isotopes which ANSTO – Lucas Heights reactor produces, only 28% are actually used in Australian Hospitals. The rest – 72% – are sent overseas. Which is interesting as the majority of Lucas Heights reactor use is for nuclear medical isotope production!
And of that 28% which is quoted as used in Australian hospitals, the majority of those isotopes are used for nuclear medical imaging – the rest is for treatment. So in fact actual nuclear medical treatment using isotopes is very small.

Also noteworthy is that now cyclotron/imaging partnership locations are found in all of the capital cities in Australia including Darwin – only Hobart does not. This means there will be less reliance on the isotope production from Lucas Heights, as cyclotrons allow generation of isotopes for imaging on site, and do not utilize radioactive sources such as a nuclear reactor to generate them! In other words they do not produce nuclear waste!

In Adelaide you will find the cyclotron and an imaging partnership in the SAHMRI building.

And ANSTO is heavily involved in the cyclotron sector as well. They have a cyclotron in Sydney and a similar piece of equipment called a synchrotron in Melbourne. But you rarely hear about those in South Australia……..

The solution to the waste generated at Lucas Heights – and they have the majority of the nuclear waste generated in Australia by the way, because they generate it there – is to keep it at Lucas Heights!

They claim it is safe there – then keep it there, until they have found a way to properly deal with the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste, and the Low Level Nuclear Waste can follow that!

Double handling of Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste is NOT World’s Best Practice! Neither is transporting nuclear waste over 1500+kms away from where it is generated!

And Lucas Heights has plenty of space to deal with its waste – and we have been told by DIIS and ARPANSA that should a suitable site not be found, that production of isotopes would not be affected nor Lucas Heights licensing and regulations be affected, and they would simply build more buildings to accomodate it.

Oh….and here is a link on how X-rays in hospitals (both used in X-ray machines and CAT scanners) are generated, if you are interested –


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: