Australian news, and some related international items

Nice little bonanza for former SA Liberal Senator Grant Chapman in choice of nuclear waste dump site

uranium-enrichmentMr Frydenberg said Barndioota, owned by former SA Liberal Senator Grant Chapman, had been chosen ahead of others because of broad community support

If Barndioota is chosen, Mr Chapman and his business partner would get four times the land value for the 100ha excised for the repository from the 6357ha section of their station which has been nominated.

National low-level nuclear waste dump earmarked for Barndioota, near Wilpena Pound  April 29, 2016   The Advertiser

 A CATTLE station west of Wilpena Pound has been earmarked as the site for a national radioactive dump for medical and laboratory waste. In a surprise pre-election move, federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg will on Friday reveal that South Australia’s Barndioota has been pinpointed for the dump ahead of five other voluntarily nominated sites.

Mr Frydenberg emphasised that the short-listing was not a final decision to put the national facility at Barndioota, 35km northwest of Hawker, but it now represents the only option.

In a significant development, Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said the State Government was supportive of the site’s short-listing and he called the process rigorous.

Overwhelming state and community opposition in 2004 forced the-then prime minister John Howard to abandon plans for a similar national radioactive waste dump near Woomera.

Mr Frydenberg, who will face voters at a July 2 double dissolution election, said he would make a final decision on the site within a year — after design, safety, technical, environmental and indigenous heritage assessment at Barndioota. He had previously been expected to nominate two SA sites — one near Kimba and Barndioota — on a shortlist of two or three ahead of a final decision later this year.

Traditional land owners say the site, near the Flinders Ranges and the famed Wilpena Pound, is home to countless sacred sites and culturally important landmarks that would be destroyed by a radioactive waste dump…….


The national dump has been earmarked through a distinctly separate process to the underground repository for high-level overseas spent nuclear fuel and other waste recommended in February by the state Nuclear Royal Commission, headed by former Governor Kevin Scarce. His final report will be handed to the State Government on May 6.

Mr Frydenberg said Barndioota, owned by former SA Liberal Senator Grant Chapman, had been chosen ahead of others because of broad community support but left open the remote possibility of choosing another site. “I again emphasise that this facility will only be established at a site that has broad community support and meets Australia’s strict environmental and radiation protection regulatory requirements,” he said in a statement to The Advertiser.

Mr Frydenberg said the Barndioota community would be given up to $2 million for local projects creating lasting economic or social benefits, in recognition of any disruption during the assessment process. A $10 million fund for community development projects has been promised to the area of the final chosen site.

If Barndioota is chosen, Mr Chapman and his business partner would get four times the land value for the 100ha excised for the repository from the 6357ha section of their station which has been nominated.

The low level purpose-built repository would be about the size of four Olympic size swimming pools with a 100 hectare buffer on the 25,000 hectare property. Designs have not been prepared for the national repository but it will be modelled on above-ground storage and disposal facilities overseas.

Mr Koutsantonis said the State Government was supportive of the Barndioota site’s short-listing for the national repository despite “some flaws” in the self-selecting model.

“The process has been one of self-selection and it has been a very rigorous one from what I can tell externally,” he told The Advertiser.“We’re supportive of it (the site). We wish that community well.”

However, he said there were some flaws in the process under which only sites volunteered by landowners were assessed.

Mr Koutsantonis said it was far too early to discuss sites for the high-level repository recommended by the state Royal Commission but said Barndioota did not appear to match the Commission’s criteria for a dedicated port and rail line near the facility.

Federal Grey MP Rowan Ramsey said Barndioota, in his electorate, had significant support from the Hawker community.

“I was in Hawker last week and I can’t tell you how enthusiastic the general population is about this,” he said.

Port Augusta mayor Sam Johnson said he was disappointed with the choice because it seemed like the state was “selling ourselves out”.

“People around here in Port Augusta have been positioning themselves, for at least the last seven years, as a renewable, clean part of the state and trying to drive that, but the Government are driving a completely different agenda,” he said.

“It’s probably about time the Government listen to the people, and what they truly wanted as opposed to trying to shove a cash cow down people’s throats.”

Greens MLC Mark Parnell said he felt deeply saddened for the traditional landowners, and that the Government would now have a fight on their hands.

“I thought this would have been one of the least likely sites because of the Aboriginal opposition,” he said.

“It’s not an unreasonable fear that a site having been earmarked for one type of radioactive waste dump all of a sudden becomes an option for another type, (and) that’s obviously a worry that local people have got.”

The land holds significant cultural heritage to the Arnggumthanhna Camp Law Mob.

Representative Enice Marsh said she had a strong feeling the site wouldn’t go ahead, but now felt “shattered”.

“If there’s still very strong plans for this to go ahead … it’s been done behind the back of the traditional owners,” she said. “No one from the Government will come meet with us. “It’s rude, I think it’s an insult to traditional owners that they are being ignored.”

…….Mr Chapman said more detail and assessment would be conducted over 12 months, which will involve further community consultation.

ConservationSA chief executive Craig Wilkins said communities were in the “firing line”. “The Flinders Ranges is not suitable for a nuclear dump,” he said.

“The potential for six ongoing jobs is not a response to (job losses) Port Augusta and Whyalla.” He said there was also a risk to nature-based tourism at Wilpena Pounds in the Flinders Ranges….


April 29, 2016 - Posted by | South Australia, wastes

1 Comment »

  1. “Broad community support”? Is that what you call ignoring the wishes of the local Indigenous community?


    Comment by Mercurial | May 11, 2016 | Reply

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