Court orders mediation to end radioactive waste dispute0
A controversial and long-running dispute over the mishandling of radioactive materials at an Australian nuclear research facility has ended after a court-ordered mediation Sydney, The Australian reports.
Former health and safety officer at the facility, David Reid, submitted a report to regulators, along with a complaint that the facility was selling falsely labelled batches of Y-90, a medical isotope used in radioimmunotherapy treatments for cancer. According to Reid, the facility knowingly sold the falsely labelled batches and did not inform officials, a violation of Australian manufacturing guidelines.
After receiving the courts decision, both the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and Reid seemed to welcome the confidential settlement, which was reached late last month at the Federal Magistrates Court in Sydney.
Though ANSTO has reached a dispute resolution Sydney with Reid, industry analysts remain skeptical as questions remain about occupational health and safety and management practices within ANSTO’s radiopharmaceutical production facility.
There are also implications for the nuclear medicine community as Reid has lodged a complaint with the Therapeutic Goods Administration regarding batches of radiopharmaceuticals that he claims were falsely labelled by staff at the production facility.
His complaint follows the release last month of a damning review by global consultant KPMG into previous investigations, both triggered by Reid, into two Yttrium-90 contamination events at the facility. The first was conducted in-house by ANSTO, the second by the regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency.
Reid, a former technician at the facility, was suspended in June 2008 after going public with accusations of safety breaches, cover-ups and bullying at the facility and was eventually fired in 2011.
But Reid was not alone, technicians Jason Howe and John Bourke were also bullied and harassed after trying to report a September 2010 incident in where a coworker was contaminated with Y-90.
In related news this week, ANSTO and its subsidiary Petnet faced a direction hearing in the Federal Court in Sydney after a case brought by Cyclopet, a Sydney-based supplier of fluorodeoxyglucose, a radiopharmaceutical used in positron emission tomography, or PET scans.