The Guardian May 24, 2000


Double blessed by water

The discovery of an underground aquifer of about two trillion kilolitres 
of water in Officer Basin (WA) has been a double blessing for communities 
there.

Apart from the huge amount of water discovered by mining giant Ananconda 
Nickel, which can be used in industry and agriculture as well as for 
drinking water, the discovery dealt a deathblow to the Pangea company's 
hopes for development of a nuclear waste dump in that area.

"The development of an international nuclear dump in this area would risk 
contaminating what might be Perth's drinking water", said Robin Chapple, 
coordinator of Anti-Nuclear Alliance of WA (ANAWA).

Pangea has been looking at two sites in Western Australia for the 
development of a dump site for nuclear waste from around the world.

One is Officer Basin near Laverton, the site of this water discovery, and 
the other is in Savoury Basin near Newman in the Pilbara.

According to Mr Chapple the Laverton area had been Pangea's primary target 
in Western Australia.

One has to wonder about Pangea's research.  After all the company was 
searching for a suitable site with no underground water and stable 
geological structure.

The fact that the water had been found in a location targeted for a nuclear 
dump does not give much confidence in the research that is supposed to have 
been conducted.

"The proposal Pangea is planning to put to the WA Government in 2002 can 
now only consider the Savoury Basin location. This will enable ANAWA and 
the community to focus their attention on Pangea's only remaining option in 
WA", concluded Mr Chapple.

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