Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Pastoralist Donald Fels finds that Barndioota, South Australia, is a totally unsuitable site for a nuclear waste dump

I feel we are scapegoats for the eastern seaboard. There is 450 hectares at Lucas Heights and only 60 hectares at present. It has been said that only an area the size of three Olympic swimming pools are required so there is room at Lucas Heights for many years to come – why shift it now.

Mr Donald Fels  Submission to inquiry regarding the proposed nuclear waste repository at Barndioota, Submission 76 to Senate Inquiry on Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia

I am a 65 year old 4th generation pastoralist, owner of Merna Mora Station, which has been in the family for 130 years, and is located approximately 19 kms from the proposed facility. I also own Wintabatinyana Station located 10 – 15 kms northwest of the facility site.

As well as running stock we have a tourist development at Merna Mora which commenced 50 years ago. From this clean, green belt we have been selling steers to the Japanese market for 24 years via AMH and JBS Swift as marbled shorthorn beef now part of Thousand Guineas Beef as well. We have very good quality merino wool and sheep meat which is sought after. We recently sold wethers to Turkey and as such must meet strict marketing codes. It has been important to keep our options
open as margins are very small in the meat and wool game. We definitely do not need the stigma of nuclear waste for our products or indeed in terms of our equity if we are ever to sell.

We are in the driest state in the driest continent in the world so water is another great concern and needs very little to upset the ecosystem. My grandchildren are 6th generation here and wish to continue here but none of the family want a waste facility near us.

The land here is very seismically unstable, the ground is very porous and the water table very close to the surface within 1 -2 km radius is less than a metre down.

The process of selection was not done properly. Many people were not surveyed. A lot of younger people who only have mobile phones were not surveyed. We were not surveyed and there are 4 families of us. We were advised why bother we were against it anyway. When consultants are employed to do surveys the right questions are asked to get the outcome needed.

Five very talented long term geologists working in an immediate area advised that it is not the right area in which to construct as the ground is too unstable, porous and prone to flooding. In a one in a hundred year flood it could result in a major catastrophe. Temporary Intermediate storage could
result in a longer term than this.

As for the job creation very few would eventuate as most construction would be by a major firm such as Downer or John Holland. They would bring in their preferred sub- contractors and place in a mobile camp. Tours would be unlikely to persist and really don’t see this as continuing.

The landlord is absentee, never likely to live here. Neighbours and community were not consulted prior to the land being offered. Land is perpetual lease country which is out of district council areas.

In outback areas, perpetual lease is exempted from native title but not native heritage.

I feel we are scapegoats for the eastern seaboard. There is 450 hectares at Lucas Heights and only 60 hectares at present. It has been said that only an area the size of three Olympic swimming pools are required so there is room at Lucas Heights for many years to come – why shift it now.

I feel strongly against this proposal to build this facility – please take these points into your consideration in the selection process. The consultation process has caused a deep rift in our once close knit community with many friendships now very distanced. All some see is the money but there is so much more to this. No monies should go to individual businesses only to community projects but there is already a bad precedence right from the first round. Several individuals received funds and now it is expanding to whole of the Flinders Ranges Council area 70 – 80 kms away.

I have been disappointed with the lack of continuity by ANSTO and do not feel that the consultation process has been fair and equitable.

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May 4, 2018 - Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump

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