Australian news, and some related international items

Friends of the Earth call on Madeleine King, Minister for Resources to overturn the declaration on Kimba nuclear waste site.

The Hon Madeleine King MP

Minister for Resources

Dear Ms King

Kimba Nuclear Waste Dump

We are writing in regard to the proposed construction of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (nuclear waste dump) at Napandee, near Kimba in South Australia. Napandee was declared on 26 November 2021 by Liberal National Party MP Keith Pitt, then Minister for Resources and Water, as the chosen site for the permanent disposal of low level radioactive waste (LLW) and temporary storage of intermediate level radioactive waste (ILW).

We urge you to overturn the declaration of this site by the previous government.

1. First Nations Voice to Parliament
We were greatly encouraged when Prime Minister Albanese, in his election night speech, embraced the Uluru Statement from the Heart, including its call for a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the constitution. A voice to parliament would enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to provide advice to the parliament on policies and projects that impact their lives. The clear advice from the Barngarla people, the Traditional Owners of the area, is that they don’t want it. The Barngarla people were excluded from a community ballot conducted by the Kimba District Council in November 2019, so they conducted their own independent poll. Not a single Traditional Owner voted in favour of the dump.

We wish to lend our support to the Barngarla people’s call for their voices to be heard and for the nuclear waste dump proposal to be cancelled. We note that the Premier of South Australia Peter Malinauskas recently reiterated SA Labor policy that Traditional Owners should have a right of veto over nuclear projects. South Australia has a law prohibiting the establishment of nuclear waste storage facilities in this state (Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000), which, while not binding on the Commonwealth, should be respected.

2. Process
While a majority of those who were actually allowed to vote in the Kimba community ballot supported the dump, a substantial minority opposed it and the proposal has divided the community. Furthermore, besides the Barngarla people, significant other affected communities have not been consulted. A facility that would involve transportation of radioactive waste to the storage and disposal site should involve consultation with all communities along the transport route and with the wider public. No such consultation has occurred. In fact, transport of repatriated reprocessed intermediate level waste was excluded from the March 2022 Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act referral.

3. Better alternatives
In a submission last year to a public consultation about the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF), Friends of the Earth Australia stated (1):

‘Moving LLILW [Long-Lived Intermediate-Level Waste] to an above-ground ‘interim’ store adjacent to a repository for lower-level wastes makes no sense given that much of the waste is currently located at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights site, which is properly secured and home to much of Australia’s nuclear expertise. ANSTO also enjoys considerably higher access to nuclear monitoring, security, waste management expertise and emergency response capacity than any other site in the nation.’ 


‘Successive governments have assumed that a shallow, remote repository is the best solution for low-level radioactive waste (LLW). That assumption needs to be tested as no federal government has attempted to demonstrate the net benefit of a remote repository. Measured by radioactivity, a large majority of LLW is stored at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights site; measured by volume, ANSTO manages about half the total volume. ANSTO expects to continue to operate at the Lucas Heights site for many decades into the future and it is by no means clear that a remote repository is preferable to ongoing storage at Lucas Heights, especially given the continuing uncertainty around the long-term future management options for LLILW.’

The Australian Radioactive Waste Agency’s National Inventory of Radioactive Waste released on 6th Sept 2022 shows that ANSTO is the predominant source of existing and future radioactive waste to be disposed and stored at Kimba.

When asked if ANSTO could continue to manage its own waste, Dr Ron Cameron (ANSTO) said, ‘ANSTO is capable of handling and storing wastes for long periods of time. There is no difficulty with that. I think we’ve been doing it for many years. We have the capability and technology to do so.’ (2) More recently, CEO of Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), Dr Carl Magnus Larsson, confirmed that ‘Waste can be safely stored at Lucas Heights for decades to come.’ (3)

In light of the above circumstances, you should not feel under any obligation to honour the decision of the previous government. The sooner you cancel this project, the better.

Yours sincerely,

Philip White 12 October 2022
On behalf of Friends of the Earth Adelaide

1. Friends of the Earth Australia, ‘NRWMF public consultation: Published response: Submission re Proposed Nomination of Napandee (Kimba, SA) for a National Nuclear Waste Dump and Store’, 22 October 2021:

2. ARPANSA forum, Adelaide, 26 February 2004:

3. Hansard, Parliament of Australia, Economics Legislation Committee, 30/06/2020:


October 13, 2022 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics

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