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Little Forest legacy site - summary of site history until the commencement of waste disposal in 1960

  • Payne, TE
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2015
ANSTO Publications Online
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The Australian Atomic Energy Commission (AAEC) disposed of low-level radioactive waste at a site in the Little Forest area on the southern periphery of Sydney between 1960 and 1968. Following common practice of the period, a clay-rich site was selected in the vicinity of the AAEC’s facility at Lucas Heights, and waste was mainly disposed by burial in closely spaced unlined trenches. During the time of operations (and subsequently until 2014), the site was known as the ‘Little Forest Burial Ground’ (LFBG). In recent years, ANSTO has been implementing a detailed scientific study of the status of the disposal site, now referred to as the Little Forest Legacy Site (LFLS). This study includes sampling of vegetation, groundwater and soils. As part of the research, documents related to the disposal operations have been reviewed, as well as information and data from over 40 years of monitoring and studies of the LFLS. During these investigations, it has become clear that although numerous records have been preserved, there are nevertheless some key information gaps. Furthermore, while there is evidence of several previous attempts to summarise the material, none of these has led to a definitive summary of the history of the site and disposal activities. The present report aims to summarise the history of the site until the commencement of disposal operations in 1960. This document contains information on the technical justification and other factors involved in the selection of the site, and some comments on the site selection process are presented in the final section. The main objective of this report is to provide a record of the events during this period, which will assist in understanding the disposal operations at the site and provide a context for interpreting subsequent monitoring data.

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