The following points provide useful information about the future of Maralinga since the rehabilitation of the Maralinda and Emu nuclear testing sites, and its return to traditional owners, the Maralinga Tjarutja Aborigines.
Are Maralinga and Emu now safe?
The independent Commonwealth nuclear regulatory body, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), completed final check monitoring of Maralinga in 2000.
In 2001 the Chief Executive of ARPANSA formally advised that the clean-up had achieved the safety standards set at commencement of the clean-up of the main test sites.
Most of the 3200 square kilometre site is now available for unrestricted access. As a precautionary measure, permanent habitation is not permitted in a 412 square kilometre area delineated by boundary marker signs. This area is safe for casual access for purposes such as hunting.
Emu was found not to have significant contamination apart from residual radioactivity close to the major trial detonation sites and was returned to Maralinga Tjarutja in 1996.
Work at the test sites has addressed various health and occupational safety hazards in addition to radiological hazards. This includes removal of asbestos, concrete structures and “trip and fall” hazards in the Maralinga Village area, repair and maintenance of Village infrastructure, roadworks, and removal and burial of large quantities of uncontaminated debris around the site.
Will Maralinga still be monitored?
Under the Handback Deed the Commonwealth Government is committed to periodic radiological monitoring of the test sites to confirm the safety of the land, and to conduct any maintenance of rehabilitation works that is required. Details of the monitoring program are set out in the Maralinga Land and Environment Monitoring Plan, a subsidiary document to the Handback Deed.
Can the public visit Maralinga?
Maralinga can be visited by the general public by arrangement with the office of the General Manager of Maralinga Tjarutja at Oak Valley.
For more information about Maralinga, see Maralinga and British nuclear testing in Australia.
To contact office of the General Manager of Maralinga Tjarutja at Oak Valley, phone (08) 8670 4214.