Nuclear dump debate resumes

Nuclear dump debate resumes

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SA Senator Rex Patrick's move to allow the Woomera Prohibited Area to be selected as a site for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility has been welcomed by No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA secretary Toni Scott, who said it was good he had provided Federal Parliament with another option.

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HOPEFUL: No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA secretary Toni Scott said the group were glad Rex Patrick had provided Federal Parliament with another option for the proposed radioactive waste facility.

HOPEFUL: No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA secretary Toni Scott said the group were glad Rex Patrick had provided Federal Parliament with another option for the proposed radioactive waste facility.

SA Senator Rex Patrick's move to allow the Woomera Prohibited Area to be selected as a site for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility has been welcomed by No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA secretary Toni Scott, who said it was good he had provided Federal Parliament with another option.

"We believe this facility should be in the right place, not the only place that is nominated by an individual," she said.

"The government have looked into the WPA before and it has a lot of suitable attributes, with waste already there, federal security, road and rail access, as well as being remote and not on productive agricultural land.

"We believe it's likely the most suitable place in SA if our state really wishes to pursue the path of hosting a radioactive waste facility."

RELATED READING:Worried Kimba locals say nuclear fight will continue

With a senate inquiry into the Nuclear Radioactive Waste Management Facility ongoing, the dump's location is still subject to debate, despite the federal government declaring Napandee, 20 kilometres west of Kimba, as the site in February.

SA senator Rex Patrick has announced he plans to move amendments to the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Amendment Bill to allow for the nomination of land within the Woomera Prohibited Area as the site, rather than Kimba.

"The Federal Parliament will be given a choice on whether the site should be on prime agricultural land on the Eyre Peninsula, in a community bitterly divided about it being built there, or in the remote and highly-secure WPA where a significant amount of low and intermediate level radioactive waste has been stored for more than two decades," he said.

Mr Patrick described the previous site selection process as "highly-flawed" and one that "pitched local against local".

RELATED READING:Opinions divided on Kimba's nuclear future

He also said appropriate location prerequisites of 65 per cent community support, and support from neighbouring landholders and traditional landowners were never achieved.

Mr Patrick said Woomera was the obvious choice for the site, being remote, having "enormous tracts of land that are not used for weapons testing" and already storing a significant amount of radioactive waste.

Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt, in a statement about the passing of the National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill through the House of Representatives on Thursday last week, addressed the WPA proposal.

He said the idea was "simply not practical", with an increase in Defence Force training activities limiting access to the area.

Mr Pitt also defended the consultation process, saying there had been extensive engagement and consultation with the community, which showed broad support for the project.

RELATED READING:Kimba nuclear count shows support

In response, Mr Patrick said it was "ludicrous" to suggest a suitable area could not be found within the WPA's "12.7 million hectares of remote desert land".

"There has been radioactive waste stored inside the WPA for the past two decades, which has not affected defence operations," he said.

Mr Patrick said not meeting the required benchmarks of community, traditional landowner and neighbourly support were enough reason to look at other options for the facility's location.

Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said the local community had heard enough and wanted work on the facility to begin, saying the project would provide a long-term economic lifeline to Kimba.

"I have visited similar facilities around the world to what is being proposed in Kimba and seen how safe they are and the tremendous opportunities they bring to the towns where they're based," he said.

"Of course there are differing views, but the whole community has made a decision and most are looking forward to the commencement of work."

RELATED READING:Kimba nuclear waste facility to deliver multiple benefits, supporters say

Mrs Scott disagreed with federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt's comment the WPA was "not practical" as a site for the facility due to defence force activities.

"We're talking about 12.7 million hectares of land, about twice the size of Tas, so surely many activities could take place within the WPA," she said.

Ms Scott said the Kimba group were hopeful the senate enquiry into the nuclear bill would lead to Kimba being scrapped as the facility site.

While the group acknowledged 61.58 per cent voted in favour of the site in the Kimba ballot, it argued the necessary two-thirds support, as well as the support of traditional landowners and neighbours, was not achieved.

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