Nuclear Fallout: Is the Land You Plan to Buy Contaminated?

Posted on: 2 October 2017

If you are considering buying a piece of land in rural Australia, you may not think that you need to worry about the effect of nuclear fallout or radiation. However, there is a chance that you do. Many Australians are not aware of the fact that the British government carried out a series of nuclear tests on Australian land between 1952 and 1957. The tests were carried out at Emu Field, Maralinga and on the Monte Bello Islands. Each detonation sent large quantities of radioactive dust thousands of feet into the air. The wind carried this dust hundreds of miles until it eventually settled on the ground, contaminating the land. Below is a guide to the steps you need to take when buying land near a nuclear test site.

Check the Records

The Australian government holds detailed records of all of the nuclear testing which occurred during the 1950s. Because the testing took place so long ago, it is now no longer secret, so you should be able to check if the land you plan to buy is anywhere near a test site. You should contact the Land Services Department for further information.

Commission an Environmental Assessment

Before you put in an offer on the land, you should commission an environmental assessment. Environmental assessments are carried out by professional contractors who will take air, soil, plant and water samples from different parts of the land which is up for sale. These samples will be tested, and detailed results will show you the levels of different forms of contamination which are affecting the site.

Call in a Decontamination Team

One benefit buying contaminated land is that it will typically be sold at a vastly reduced price. For this reason, you may wish to purchase the land, knowing that you can use some of the money saved to finance the decontamination of the soil. A company which specialises in soil decontamination will use heavy equipment to excavate the soil down to a depth of several metres. This soil will then be hauled off to a waste disposal site. Once all of the contaminated soil has been removed, the decontamination team will backfill the site using clean soil which is of the same type and colour.

If you would like to find out more about buying land which has been contaminated by nuclear fallout, you should contact a company which specialises in environmental assessments and decontamination.