Radioactive waterfront home to be razed Sydney Morning Herald BEN CUBBY ENVIRONMENTDecember 28, 2009 NEW plans to clean up the site of a former uranium smelter in Hunters Hill mean a four-storey waterfront mansion the NSW Government has repeatedly declared safe will be demolished.
In addition, 3000 cubic metres of radioactive earth will be dug out of two neighbouring properties and another 500 cubic metres are likely to be scraped from the harbour floor in front of the site at 11 Nelson Parade, subject to more tests by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.
A secretive tendering process for removing the earth, in which bidders were forbidden from visiting the site or talking to neighbours, is under way. No environmental assessment or planning approval has been granted yet. The Herald understands the tests show elevated background radiation levels that in some cases exceed health guidelines, reinforcing results from independent tests last year by a private company, Australian Radiation Services. These showed that in some spots contamination was 350 times normal levels……………
The house was bought back from private owners for $3.4 million in an out-of-court settlement, after the Government said for six months that it was safe.
The clean-up plans are another climbdown for the Government, which maintained for years that the street was safe. Six people who lived in affected properties in the street are known to have died from cancer, ………….
NSW Liberal MP Michael Richardson, who has campaigned for years for a thorough clean-up, said the secrecy of the tendering process was alarming. “I understand the sensitivity of this issue but the people of NSW are entitled to know the full story,” he said.
The documents classify the soil as ”restricted solid waste” but Mr Richardson said some of it should be classified as hazardous waste, which poses a problem for disposal………………
The site was home to a uranium smelter owned by Radium Hill Company from 1908 to 1915. Uranium ore from South Australia was processed for export to Europe for cancer treatments
Radioactive waterfront home in Hunters Hill to be razed