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Flinders Local Action Group’s detailed submission: Nuclear Waste Dump decision is a National matter – not just a local one

CONCLUSION: The current model to establish a NRWMF is wrong. This initiative has not come from any community. This is a National problem and it needs a National solution.

What is really wrong about this process is that radioactive waste, including the legacy material, is the Nation’s inheritance from an industry which, for its entire lifetime, has not included waste disposal as part of its production process. Filling and stacking drums was never going to be a solution. This is a National issue and a National problem. Small, remote communities, whether at Kimba, the Flinders Ranges or anywhere else, should never be expected to make the decision alone to accept the toxic by-products of one industry’s lifetime production.

The Flinders Ranges are promoted throughout the world as one of the last untouched landscapes that can be easily accessed. Tens of thousands visit the Flinders Ranges each year from all over the world. 

A major point has been made of the need to clear our hospitals of low level waste comprised of used gloves, gowns, syringes and other items. This was contradicted, in October 2017, by a DIIS sponsored spokesman in Hawker who “advised that nuclear waste from nuclear medicine procedures in hospitals is virtually zero……the use of nuclear medicine will not contribute to radioactive waste in hospitals……this short lived product is stored for 10 half-lives……and disposed of as hospital waste.


Flinders Local Action Group , Greg Bannon, Roybn Wood, Leon Ashton, Bob Tulloch Submission toTo The Senate Economics References Committee. Inquiry into the process surrounding the Federal Government’s National Radioactive Waste Management Project (NRWMP).(Submission No. 73)

INTRODUCTION   The Flinders Local Action Group is a regional group of volunteers based in the Flinders Ranges that have strong concerns about the project proceeding in our community.

The three sites currently under consideration for the facility are all in South Australia – one at Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges and two in Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula. Some of this nuclear waste is a hazard for hundreds of years and some for thousands of years.

The Flinders Local Action Group (FLAG) was formed to challenge the waste facility being built in our area and is made up of indigenous and non-indigenous members of the community. The site at Barndioota is of high cultural and archaeological significance to the Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners, is located in a flood zone, is subject to seismic activity and is located in the iconic Flinders Ranges. We do not believe this site is appropriate for the federal radioactive waste facility. The process of site selection is fundamentally flawed and has caused deep division and stress in our community.

Addressing the Terms of Reference Continue reading

June 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Kay Fels’ strong submission against nuclear waste dump siting, – from a farmer’s point of view

Kaye Fels Submission to Senate Inquiry re the Nuclear Waste Repository Proposal at Barndioota South Australia (submission No. 63)

I am a life time resident of the Flinders Ranges region of South Australia. For the past 44 years I have lived and worked and now part own a sheep and cattle station within a 25 kilometre radius of the proposed waste repository.

I am deeply concerned at the way the land was volunteered for this purpose. The owner, who is an absentee landlord, saw an opportunity to capitalise on his sale. The irony is that he is an ex politician who was heavily involved in the nuclear debate in the 1990’s. The argument has been raised that you do not have to contact your neighbours if you wish to make changes but this is not a town block, nor is it something which does not come without stigma and or risks. I’m sure the equity of the neighbouring properties will be strongly affected by having a nuclear waste facility in the vicinity.

Another concern is that our stock (sheep and cattle) may also be stigmatised by the proximity of the waste dump and our organic status compromised. That is one source of income. We have been involved with tourism for over 50 years having established station stays, in purpose built cabins, and have continued to optimise this form of income with bush camping, 4WD tracks and providing services to the tourism industry since 1967. This will all now be jeopardised as the clean, green image of the Flinders Ranges is tarnished and why this area is even being considered is beyond me. The promises of a greater attraction, money for the community, jobs and security fade into insignificance when this highly productive region is being compromised by the effects of a nuclear waste facility.

Now for the risks, of which we are told will be minimal. The sites are located in an area where the underground water table is almost at surface level. This could lead to contamination of the underground water source, so vital to the region. The location is also on a piedmont plain and prone to flooding at intervals and intensities that most people would have no knowledge of. The floodwaters end up in Lake Torrens where the residues come to the surface and are blown to the four winds. There is also evidence where the flood systems have combined and resulted in flows into Spencer Gulf. Both scenarios are a recipe for environmental disaster.

Furthermore the site is located in a severe fault line as is the region of the Flinders. The land is constantly moving. We have evidence of huge cracks running for many kilometres on very similar soil types. This location is within 15km from the proposed site on very similar strata. Please see attached photos. If this disturbance was to occur where there is an above ground repository or even a sump, the results would be disastrous. Given that the proposal is to store low level waste in an above ground facility, and temporarily store intermediate waste in that same facility, it seems ludicrous that this is even considered given the geological and environmental features and risks involved. Why all the money has been spent on trying to convince the community what a great thing it would be when it clearly is unsuitable, beggars belief.

I am also very alarmed at how the original “66% of the people of the region were in favour” of the proposal going ahead was arrived at. When I questioned ANSTO regarding this I was told that it was an independent outsourced survey. People were supposedly telephoned and asked their opinion. When I inquired as to the survey base there was complete dismissal by ANSTO with them saying that they had every confidence in how the survey was conducted. I stated that I was not surveyed nor any of my family who also live and work here they tried to tell me that I was. Clearly this process is deeply flawed and there was a plot to choose a site and they chose here.

Apart from the physical disadvantages there is also the psychological damage caused by this proposal. The community has been split and in a small community such as ours which is renowned for its community spirit this is of huge concern. Family who have been friends for generations have been affected and it is ripping the heart out of the soul of the town. There is a lot of anguish and angst which you can’t walk away from although some have chosen to leave. One of the ANSTO representatives came out to speak to us in 2016 – which was the third or fourth visit in the “consultation”. My husband who had recently been through major heart operations was a little confrontational and asked why there was no continuity with the persons involved in the consultations. This person then proceeded to turn on his heel and leave. My son then informed him that he was here to hear our points of view, and was being employed to do so, and as such he was shirking his role. He then proceeded to accept an apology and contritely heard us out.

This is the problem. ANSTO will walk away from the conflict, problems and influences. We are left to deal with the trauma, the disadvantage, the psychological effects on family and relationships and the very real risks involved.

Whilst ANSTO have had representatives in Hawker and Quorn for the past 18 months their primary role has been to inform the public as to the benefits of the nuclear waste facility and sway the dissidents into coming in line with their way of thinking. All the hard questions are answered with “could”, “may”, “possibly won’t” or “shouldn’t” and there is a wealth of grey area to which there are no definite answers. E.g. will the waste repository have an effect on the organic status of our meat?” Answer: “No it shouldn’t impact on your organic status” Shouldn’t but it probably will! Even though there may be no physical impact again there is the stigma – and if there is any leakage into the water table or any contamination we will be left to bear the fallout literally!

Our family has been producing on the land for six generations and it is hoped this will continue into the future. My grandchildren are very concerned for their future here and do not want their future jeopardised by this intrusion. They have as much connection to the land as the aborigines and feel as protective.

The proposal has also caused a huge rift in the aboriginal community with some of the more vocal men in favour. However the women and the men who have lived here continuously are greatly opposed but are not given a voice and have become afraid of those who have assumed power.

We understand that the repository has to be sited somewhere but here is not the place. There are many more years where it could be housed at Lucas Heights so why make the move until necessary and why in an area which is so not suited for very many reasons. The intermediate waste will be temporarily housed in a facility not but for that purpose. Is this because they will build storage for this waste here too eventually? I am sure if the right reasons were quoted ANSTO were honest with us and the money was taken out of the equation there would be very few who would be in favour.

The $2m incentives to the community has already caused much angst as in their wisdom the Aus. Industry department decided to transfer some of their business grant applications into the $2m funding pool leaving community members aghast at the temerity of the businesses. One business owner has moved away because of the level of bitterness and the grant had “fallen through”. While this was happening Aus. Industry did not set the record straight. Not only has this now set a precedent which was advised against by members of the Barndioota Consultative Committee, it has also caused another deep divide in the community.

Many of the older residents of Hawker and district are confused, frightened and tormented by the proposal. One lady in her nineties whose family used to own the Wallerberdina Station blames herself for having sold the land to someone who would “put it up” for consideration as a nuclear waste facility. She has since developed dementia which I am sure has been hastened by the added stress.

Also of extreme concern is the amount of time, money and resources which has already been expended in convincing the community that this is a good idea. Why all this expenditure has occurred before feasibility studies have been conducted, clearance given by the aboriginals and other land holders and the state government (which I believe is bound by a nuclear waste management act) I cannot comprehend. As a taxpayer I am astounded at the waste of money over the past two plus years on this proposal which may not and I hope not come to fruition. I would like to know how much has already been spent on resources and all costs involved in this project. Independent studies should have been carried out. No, – more resources have been extended gagging people who are exponents of the negative. Some working for government departments have been told their jobs are on the line if they speak out further. Is this an honest and transparent process? – I think not!

The consultation phase was a tokenism with ANSTO telling us what will be happening, how safe it is and pushing the affirmative – not a true reflection of the community’s views and concerns. The consultative committee is a rubber stamp only with member’s views either “put down” or not taken seriously and an unworkable number with little effect. Even the meetings do not have minutes but are conveyed as courses of action with no recourse.

I hope the project will be abandoned and speak for many other persons in the community many of whom are afraid to speak out for fear of reprisal. There are no frank and open discussions and I fear that as already quoted, “the heart of the community has been ripped out”.

Let the Federal Government acquire land which is suitable and not in a pristine area which is free from atomic pollutants. Leave our small communities alone and don’t let one person make the decision that his land is available to the detriment of a whole region and community.

Thank you for taking the time to read my submission. For any further clarification or information I can be contacted at or Kaye Fels Please see photos below [on original] for indication of surface movement during 1990’s taken 3/8/2018

June 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Ellenor Day is concerned about conflict of interest in nuclear waste site volunteered by Grant Chapman

Ellenor Day SUBMISSION TO AUSTRALIAN SENATE REGARDING THE: Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia  (Submission No. 67)

I am writing as a resident of Quorn, South Australia, in regards to the proposed national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia. I have lived in the region for 8 years and have recently built a home with my husband in Quorn. While I disagree with having a radioactive waste management facility in South Australia altogether, my submission is only regarding the selection of Barndioota as a possible site, as I have not been part of the consultation process for Kimba.

The government has stated that it will not impose such a facility on an unwilling community. However, the methods of consultation upon which their statements about a broad level of community support are based, are flawed. Below are my thoughts and opinions in the context of the Terms of Reference provided:

a) the financial compensation offered to applicants for the acquisition of land under the Nominations of Land Guidelines;

My concerns are not about the compensation offered to land-owners, however in the case of the Barndioota site, the site is co-owned by an ex-Federal Senator Grant Chapman, who served on various Committees relating to this industry. This does call into question whether Mr Chapman had prior knowledge of plans to build a facility of this nature. There was no consultation with neighbours at that time which I find quite astounding.

b) how the need for ‘broad community support’ has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including:

i) the definition of ‘broad community support’, and

Broad community support is a somewhat ambiguous term, and the basis for which the government is stating they have broad community support for Barndioota is flawed. Please see below for details.

  1. how ‘broad community support’ has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage; In this section, I refer to this report: Community%20Sentiment%20Surveys%20Report.pdf

My concerns begin with the Australian government’s sample size used to make the statement that “The nomination at Barndioota in South Australia demonstrated strong overall support (65 per cent of those surveyed) for moving ahead to Phase 2”.

They phoned 228 people, 59 refused to be surveyed and contact couldn’t be made with a further 56. So 113 households were surveyed, and in total 146 responses were received. That is just 146 people out of an estimated 1671 population for the Flinders Ranges Council area at that time (Refer to ABS Statistics for detail). On that basis, the “strong support” is based on just 95 people (or 5.7% expressed as a percentage of the total Flinders Ranges Council population).

The total responses included 38 people from Hawker and 106 from Quorn (as well as 2 from other areas around Barndioota). Neighbours, Indigenous people and Businesses were apparently surveyed separately, so these are not included in the 65% statistic I’m talking about.

In their own document, the government said there is a high margin of error for consultations around the Barndioota site. Even they got confused, because on one page they say it was +/-10% and on another page they said it was +/-9%.

In the initial survey report, just 3% of Indigenous people surveyed supported the Nuclear Waste Facility. 65% of Neighbours either Strongly Opposed or Opposed.

  1. how any need for Indigenous support has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including how Indigenous support has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage;

In the initial survey report, just 3% of Indigenous people surveyed supported the Nuclear Waste Facility (from a sample of 77 people). The consultation process should have stopped then and there and an alternative site should have been explored for the Nuclear Waste Facility.

After many years working with Aboriginal communities, I would also suggest that while clearly some Aboriginal people support the proposal, they are not representative of all Aboriginal people in the region. In the same way that my opinion is not representative of all non-Aboriginal people in the region, it’s important to recognise there are many voices and they are all important.

  1. whether and/or how the Government’s ‘community benefit program’ payments affect broad community and Indigenous community sentiment;

I do not have strong opinions about the Community Benefit program, however, it is clearly a ‘sweetener’ to encourage the community to get on board and support the Nuclear Waste Facility. Additionally, the job advertisement for the local Community Liaison Officer was very marketing and promotion focused rather than being targeted towards real, meaningful community engagement

e) whether wider (Eyre Peninsular or state-wide) community views should be taken into consideration and, if so, how this is occurring or should be occurring; and

For info, there is no ‘r’ in Peninsula.

I don’t believe in state-wide views being taken into consideration, because I fear that city-based South Australians, as well as populations south of Adelaide, will not care what happens in our region. It is so far away from their homes, their families and their lives. People living in our region, however, are living this issue and it has divided communities. This facility has the potential to impact on our lives, our businesses, and the prosperity of our region, given the Flinders Ranges is one of SA’s greatest tourism destinations.

Community views should be sought from people located in and around the proposed sites. I strongly believe this includes, for the Barndioota site – Hawker, Quorn, Cradock and Port Augusta. Some consideration also needs to be given to landowners and businesses located north of Hawker. I think Port Augusta opinions are important, as if such a facility is built in the region, tourism businesses in Port Augusta may also suffer as a result and

I think Port Augusta people have a right to have a say in that too. Notably, many people in the Port Augusta community have connections to Hawker and Quorn and regularly visit the area for tourism, recreation and to visit family.

The marketing of information sessions for the community has been extremely poor and, as a result, I believe there have been some low attendance numbers. I attended a session for business owners in late 2017 in Quorn and there was only a handful of business representatives there because of a lack of advertising. In fact, I only found out about the session by accident as I saw something on Facebook the day before and sought out further information. At this session, I asked if any economic analysis/data modelling had been completed to provide evidence of the proposed benefits and was told that this had not yet been done. How, after two years, is this possible this had not yet been done? A whole department is dedicated to this process – yet meaningful data has still not been gathered (nor has meaningful consultation been undertaken to obtain statistically significant data on community opinions).

I provided my contact details and business card at that session I attended to ensure I didn’t miss out on any further information. Yet I have not ever heard from anyone from the department since. As a result, I missed the last meeting they held in Quorn recently because I was out of town.

I would like to see meaningful community engagement in any further efforts to gather community views. You can’t just put a poster on the community noticeboard and tell the committee to tell their friends – that is not adequate community consultation.

f) any other related matters. I have noted some submissions published on the website so far are from members of the Barndioota Consultative Committee (BCC) who are paid allowances to sit on that committee. In considering all submissions, I think it’s important that the Standing Committee are advised who are currently being paid by the government for this purpose and who are independent community members. I appreciate that the BCC committee members deserve to have their say as part of this process – the same as all of us – but I think transparency in this case is very important.

June 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment