Australian news, and some related international items

Kimba Consultative Committee draft Minutes reveal what a mess the Federal Radioactive Waste dump project is in.

The most important part the draft minutes is the first item relating to the nature and activity of the radionuclides in the immediate level waste proposed to be stored at Kimba but there was no discussion recorded on this issue.

This should have probably been the main item of business of the meeting considering it is the major aspect of community safety but received scant attention

Peter Remta, 22 Nov 21, I was recently asked to comment on the draft minutes of the Kimba joint community meeting held on 24 October 2021 and attach them for your reference 

The draft minutes are available on

Suffice to say that the federal government is ill prepared to choose and pursue the Napandee site near Kimba and as I have previously shown it is a grossly unsuitable and highly expensive exercise 
It tests common sense to continue with the plans for the facility as it will surely not be approved for the required licences

I cringe when I read the draft minutes of the joint meeting at Kimba on 14 October 2021 and the explanations and reasons by the federal government’s personnel as recorded in those minutes relating to the proposed nuclear waste management facility at Kimba.

In most instances they are unconvincing and inconsistent explanations even bordering on the nonsensical considering that this is a most important and serious issue for this country deserving far better attention than has been given to it over the past few years.

From all of this is it is quite obvious that the radioactive waste management facility at Kimba is still in its infancy of planning and prematurely unprepared for its objectives which is hard to understand as the government has been assessing the various locations at Kimba for over five years and has so far spent up to $100 million for that purpose.

It is also a gross indictment on the competence of the government and its various agencies all of which has been aided and abetted by the responsible ministers involved which should be gauged in the light of
the imminent ministerial declaration of Napandee near Kimba as the site for the management facility as mentioned in section 2 of the draft minutes

The most important part the draft minutes is the first item relating to the nature and activity of the radionuclides in the immediate level waste proposed to be stored at Kimba but there was no discussion
recorded on this issue.

This should have probably been the main item of business of the meeting considering it is the major aspect of community safety but received scant attention.

I have pointed out previously that based on the best available scientific and technical information internationally the details and levels of the radionuclide activity in any nuclear waste to be stored (as that at Kimba) is of prime importance since it becomes the determining factor for the selection of an appropriate site for storage and the manner in which the storage is undertaken.

This means that there can be no realistic designs – however conceptual of any storage facility until that information on the radionuclides is fully disclosed and understood and hence the conceptual designs for
Kimba so far put out by the government are nothing more disingenuous and misleading promotional material to try and convince a rather sceptical public.

What is more the details of the radionuclides inventories and activity should have been given to the community at Kimba when the various locations were initially identified as possible sites for the facility
but this has still not been done to this day

Considering the seriousness and risk factors involved ARPANSA(2) is
also grossly at fault in not having ANSTO(3) provide the radionuclide
information to it and the Kimba community as this is completely against the legislative objectives and functions of ARPANSA

It is no excuse on the part of ARPANSA that it cannot become
involved until there is a formal application for a licence and it should
therefore be held to account.

I do not wish to examine in detail all of the discussions covered by
the minutes other than those that are glaringly obvious and need
some specific comment.

The first thing is that I am amazed at the number of government
personnel involved in the meeting with little benefit to the Kimba

To that extent it seems no more than a normal and social country visit
by a few public servants
The various issues described as community conversations if properly
considered have little or no relevance to the proposed facility

With respect I cannot understand how the Kimba men’s shed and
Probus and similar social groups and amenities add anything useful to
the safe and proper storage of nuclear waste in accordance with the
prescribed international safety standards.

Given the small population involved it is difficult to understand why
more medical and health care will be available through additional
medical practitioners and nursing staff at Kimba if they are already
currently available

If anything most people will avoid the Kimba region if the waste

storage proposals will be implemented and it may prove difficult to even
retain its present medical practitioner

At this stage the background of the program is far short of the safety
codes and prescriptions of the International Atomic Energy Agency
This also includes the community skills and development program
covered in section 4 of the draft minutes as again it is completely
unrealistic and impractical as probably none of the so called trades
will be required and the program will not be able to provide sufficient and
highly specialised training for the construction and operations of the facility.

No number of community workshops or similar forums on behalf of the
government will improve that situation and it is just engendering false
expectations of employment and economic benefits,

The process described as full heritage assessment is an ironic joke
considering that the government failed to give the local Aboriginal
population (and in particular the Barngarla peoples) a vote in the community ballot and then vehemently opposed their court applications to preserve and exercise their rights to a vote
Surely this could have been easily resolved in the first place by giving
the Barngarla the right to vote and then fully including them in a proper
assessment of the government’s proposals.

To that extent the federal government should have studied the Reset
Review led by Stanford University(4) which specifically covered how
indigenous peoples should be considered and involved in situations
such as that now arising at Kimba.

The discussion about acquiring a nuclear powered submarine fleet is
rather unnecessary and inappropriate and although it came about from
questioning from community members it has little relevance to the
establishment of the facility at Kimba.

It is far too early to know precisely what will happen in that regard
as even the federal government itself does not yet know in which
way the acquisition of the fleet will be completed

However contrary to proposals on behalf of the government the
nuclear submarines will not be capable of being built in South
Australia since that state lacks the necessary attributes and features
for that purpose

The building of these submarines is completely different from the Collins
class and hence any suggestion by the government to use South
Australia is an unfounded and misleading proposition.

Again this is a highly promotional exercise to obviously raise the hopes of
the local community because of their strong dependence on agriculture
since the government has no effective planning or even a description of
what research will be undertaken.

The government should have availed itself of the research in that
regard already undertaken overseas where there are nuclear waste
facilities within agricultural situations which in most instances are being
strongly criticised and opposed and should then have given that research to
the Kimba community for full consideration.

The idea of a visitors’ centre appears grossly misleading and
impractical since the above the ground storage of the intermediate
level waste at Kimba will create substantial risk to any visitors despite
adopting the safety regime used at Lucas Heights and the required safety
measures and monitoring for visitors will be near nigh impossible to
achieve at Kimba.

The premature nature of the proposed facility at Kimba is best
demonstrated by the fact that government is still trying to work out
precisely how much space and land area will be required having
already had several attempts in that regard.

The area required and the land use as is referred to should have been
well and truly settled when the Napandee location was first suggested
as the proposed location for the facility

It is also telling to note the comments by Mr David Osborn regarding the
hazard reduction and other measures and related issues in the fourth paragraph of page 6 which confirm the extent of work still required to determine the suitability of Napandee for the facility
This is in line with many of the inconclusive findings of the characterisation
report by AECOM(5)

The obvious conclusion from these minutes is to the federal government
and its agencies are far from ready or even prepared in any context to
choose and declare Napandee as the site for the national nuclear or
radioactive management facility
PJA REMTA 19 November 2021


  1. Kimba Consultative Committee and Kimba Economic Working Group
    Meeting at the Kimba Gateway Hotel 40 High Street Kimba on Thursday 14
    October 2021
  2. ARPANSA – Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency
  3. ANSTO – Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
  4. RESET OF AMERICA’S NUCLEAR WASTE MANAGEMENT – Strategy and Policy – October 15, 2018 Stanford University
  5. Center for International Security and Cooperation George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs
  6. AECOM Australia Pty Ltd – Technical Report – Site Characterisation Napandee – dated 23 July 2018

November 22, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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