Radioactive Repeat: federal radioactive waste Groundhog Day increases uncertainty
A small town on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula is again in the frame as a site for Australia’s nuclear waste despite being ruled out of consideration less than one year ago because of deep community concern and opposition to the plan.
Yesterday federal Resource Minister Matt Canavan formally accepted two revised site nominations and initiated a 90 day process to measure community views on a planned facility for the disposal of low level and extended storage of higher level radioactive wastes. Last April two previously nominated sites in the region were ruled out of federal consideration.
“This plan is simply not the best way to advance responsible radioactive waste management in Australia”, said ACF nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney.
“Revisiting a community that has already made its view clear looks more like Canberra’s frustration than community consultation.
“Less than a year ago Minister Canavan’s predecessor Josh Frydenberg ruled the Kimba region out, now it is back on the table. This radioactive waste is a direct hazard for many thousands of years – far longer than any politician’s promise. Short term thinking about long term waste is not good policy or practise.”
ACF joined other environment and public health representatives in the Kimba area last week in a visit that included a public meeting, stakeholder meetings and a regional tour. There is clear and continuing community concern and opposition to the waste plan.
The plan will put further pressure on an already stressed community and further highlights the continued uncertainty in the governments wider approach given it is also exploring a controversial site in the Flinders Ranges at the same.
“There has never been an independent assessment of long-term management options in Australia, rather just a decades long search for a postcode,” said Dave Sweeney. “It is time to stop repeating past mistakes and adopt a new and better approach”.
ACF supports a wide civil society and stakeholder call for Australia’s radioactive waste to be managed in improved storage facilities at existing federal sites to allow for a credible, comprehensive and open exploration of the full range of future management options.
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