Australian news, and some related international items

Kimba farmer, neighbouring Napandee, stands firm against nuclear waste dump on agricultural land

Confidential Submission. National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions] Submission 37  Inquiry into National Radioactive Waste  Management Amendment

I am a farmer residing and working on a cereal crop and sheep property near the nominated site Napandee, within the Kimba District Council region. I have a good understanding of the project and I remain strong in my opposition to the siting of a Radioactive Waste Management Facility on agricultural land. Please find following my response in relation to the site selected.

The site selection process declared that the location should not be on agricultural land. The Code for Disposal of Solid Radioactive Waste provided by ARPANSA clearly stated that the siting of a Radioactive Waste Management Facility should not be on agricultural land:
“Section 3.1.29 (a) the immediate vicinity of the facility has no known significant natural resources, including potentially valuable mineral deposits, and which has little or no potential for agriculture or outdoor recreational use.”

The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, Nomination of Land Guidelines, November 2016 also clearly stated in Attachment A, Section A8 under the Community Well Being Objective the criteria: “Is the site located within an area that is likely to be expanded upon for community or industrial use or for natural/agricultural use in the foreseeable future”. The weighting to this criteria when taking site selection into consideration according to the guidelines was stipulated as “High”

Both these documents show that the facility should not be located on agricultural land, and yet the nominated site at Kimba is specifically located on a farm. Directly next to farming country, and entirely neighboured by productive farms.

That this part of the ruling is not being enforced is beyond me. It would be apparent to most people that under best practice the production of food should be separated from the production or storage of nuclear waste. That it is not the case in other countries does not provide adequate reason as to why Australia should lower their standards with regards to this.
It is imperative that this part of the legislation is upheld and made mandatory, rather than being optional. The increased focus globally on the production and storage of food shows that society values a clean green source of food highly and the scrutiny around this is ever increasing.

Lack of Broad Community Support. The requirement for broad community support has never been defined which has created chaos and confusion throughout the process. Neither the definition of community, nor the term “broad” were explained prior to any research being undertaken, so any suggestion of support or otherwise has been clearly manipulated to ensure the required outcome is achieved. The constantly moving goalposts throughout this project has been an obvious undertaking, so that opposition is selectively removed. The division and angst created through the district is genuine and has had devastating effects. It has bred an attitude of bullying and intimidation, resulting
in a strong feeling of mistrust throughout the community.

Project of Best Practice. I note that a recent development project of significant size occurring on the Eyre Peninsula has secured an Aboriginal Land Use Agreement (ALUA) showing genuine commitment to working with the Barngala people in an inclusive manner. It provides evidence that the Barngala people are not opposed to development within their region, and for the Australian Government to not be able to achieve a similar agreement with the Barngala people should be a significant red flag process to trample over the opinions of both the Barngala people and the South Australian people. In
the attempts of best practice, ensuring that the South Australian law prohibiting the storage of nuclear material is upheld (not overridden) and that the unanimous opposition shown by the local indigenous community is acknowledged (not overridden) this site should have been removed as a contender. While overriding these things is possible, it clearly does not support the attitude of a “best practice” approach.

If the government was genuinely focussed on best practice, there would be a good explanation as to why the Leonora, WA site has been continually disregarded. I can only feel that there is a political agenda being pushed here, rather than a genuine effort to find a permanent solution.

June 16, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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