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Byron Shire
January 19, 2022

Radiation found in soil at Byron Bay school

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Radioactive soil will be removed from Byron Bay Public School after testing showed higher-than-normal levels during upgrade works.

According to a statement from the education department, preliminary testing of soil during early construction works for the upgrade to the school has identified ‘quantities of naturally occurring radioactive material’.

‘The department has engaged an environmental consultant to assist with the management of remediation works in consultation with the school principal, NSW Health, NSW Environmental Protection Agency and Byron Shire Council,’ the statement says.

‘The health, safety and well-being of students, staff and the school’s neighbours are the highest priority for the department.’

Works are currently being planned to remove soil from the school work site with dates and times still to be advised.

The department said said the removal of the material ‘presents no health risk to the school, and will be done after hours to minimise impact to school operations’.

‘All classes have been held as normal, and the students have sufficient play area: while some areas have been reduced during the works, other areas have been opened up.

‘The project, due to be completed late this year, will deliver 10 new permanent teaching spaces in a two-storey building, and create a total of 28 teaching spaces for 650 students,’ the department said.

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  1. Not sure if the radiation is natural. The Sand Mining Company that used to process the Rutile and Zircon in the 1960s dumped/filled a few areas around Byron. I was told that the Primary School had been filled with the sand tailings . I remember as a child, that the area between Massinger St, Daniels St and Patterson St, waste sand was placed there.

    • WORD, Neil.

      So many people don’t know about Byron’s history as a toxic waste dump, some of it was even brought in.

      Seriously? How can ‘naturally occurring nuclear radiation’ render digging and moving of soil something that requires specialist teams to operate after hours while the children are restricted from going near the dig zone?

      You reckon if I dug a hole in Wilson’s Creek or in Federal or in Goonengerry or in Coorabell or Nimbin or f’ing anywhere in The Shire that they didn’t dump radioactive waste in the 50s and 60s that I’d be confronted with meter-topping ‘naturally occurring’ nuclear radiation? You think in Uki that I’d have to call in specialist teams to remove nuclear radioactive soil just to build foundations for a 2-storey building?

      Who in council or whatever it was came up with that ‘naturally occurring’ radiation idea? LOLS

  2. During the early ’90s the Byron Environment Centre supplied Council with a copy of the radioactivity survey done for the NSW Health Department many years earlier. This study examined sites where tailings from sandmining had been dumped. These tailings contained varying levels of monazite, which decays into thorium gas. I presume the Council still has a copy of the report – however I.have no idea if current staff are aware of its significance.
    From memory, the ‘hottest’ dump site in town was the Woolies property. I hope someone did tests before the recent excavations. Other sites with high readings were the northern end of Paterson St & yes, the school.
    If anyone is surprised that radioactive tailings have now been discovered, someone has not been doing their job.

    • Yes Richard the Byron Environment Centre did get onto the excavations of the Woolies site for the Mercato Mall development, and raised the sites radioactive pollution levels with Council and the EPA. Correspondence on lack of community announcements, uncovered trucks on Jonson St etc, had unsatisfactory responses, and site workers alleged additional other pollutants. The polluted soil was sent to a facility in Queensland and the excavated ‘unpoluted’ soil was sent to a housing commission development site in Ballina. Council has since, now developed a Policy!!

  3. Thorium gas causes bone & lung cancer get your kids out of there . They spent millions in Brisbane cleaning up s similar site in the 90 ‘s at Indooropilly,

  4. Yes. I did a job for two elderly men in tweed a couple of years back who were two of the workers who were directed to dump the tailings there and also Butler St.

    Then when the school was to be built they were directed to remove it to dump somewhere else.
    They didn’t tell me exactly where but said it was a park… national park and the area they hinted at was somewhere around Iluka??

    Apparently most all our North coast beaches are white sand because of the sand mining. Prior it was gray full of minerals including gold and radioactive material sold for sand blasting.

  5. Yes its sad …. I certainly would spend my money on toxic real estate …an im a no one….makes you wonder were the people with money and stardom get their real estate advice…

  6. Well the sands black at Ocean Shores now after the cyclone Oma its swept away huge seathes of the shoreline
    I suspect Byron is the same
    Now mid month the waves come in higher than on the full moon
    And its not going back out
    So you mightv have black sand again also at Byron?


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