A debate is underway between scientists and conservationists in Australia over the possible construction of another nuclear reactor.
SV Technicians stripping reactor (6 shots)
SCU Keith Adler, General Manager Atomic Energy Commission speaking in English
GV EXTERIOR Building housing reactor (2 shots)
GV INTERIOR Prince of Wales Hospital with patient under body scanner and X-ray charts on screen (9 shots)
NEWPORT: "The reactor was being stripped down as the massive job of replacing the joints gets underway. But this is not the first time the twenty year old reactor has shown its age. The Commission is investigating a replacement that may cost up to one hundred million dollars and are having in the meantime to think in terms of just how many more years the reactor can run for."
KEITH ADLER (General Manager Atomic Energy Commission): "I think there's a lot of life left in this one, but it's getting more and more expensive to operate, that's the other point. I think myself that the main incentive for replacement is economic, certainly not technical and safety. Because we can keep it safe and we can keep it operating technically, but sooner or later it just won't be worthwhile."
NEWPORT: "With the reactor out of action until at least March next year research has all but stopped and the medical fraternity is having to figure out how to manage without important radio isotopes.
EDMONDS: "Prince of Wales Hospital is one of six major departments in Sydney which uses radio isotopes. Normally it gets its supply from Lucas Heights, but with local production stopped the Australian Atomic Energy Commission is flying in the radio isotope from America and Britain. The head of Prince of Wales Nuclear Medicine Department Professor Provine Murray says there have been minor interruptions to his department's work but so far the hospital has not suffered any major hold ups. If serious problems do arise he says non urgent cases will be postponed. Other Sydney hospitals report no disruptions, so as long as there's a constant supply of radio isotopes coming into Australia there should be no hold ups to medical services.
REPORTERS: PETER NEWPORT AND BILL EDMONDS
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A debate is underway between scientists and conservationists in Australia over the possible construction of another nuclear reactor. The Federal government is considering replacing the ageing nuclear complex at Lucas Heights, west of Sydney, following the discovery of a major fault. The 20 year old reactor has been shut down and maybe out of commission for five months while a defective expansion joint is replaced. At first it was thought the reactor may have been leaking, but this has now been discounted. The Lucas Heights complex is mainly used for research and the production of radio isotopes for hospitals. Scientists want the reactor replaced, the conservationists say the dangers of nuclear power are too great. This report from Peter Newport and Bill Edmonds of Channel Ten Sydney.