Proposed National Radioactive Waste Facility: Implications and Options for SA

After a controversial process that has torn apart the previously close-knit Kimba community, Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt (Liberal National Party – Qld) has formally declared the Napandee area near Kimba in the Eyre Peninsula grain belt as the proposed site for Australia’s first dedicated national radioactive waste facility - the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF).

The planned facility is not consistent with international best practice, and waste will be placed in temporary storage without a plan for what happens next.

The government says this will take decades while the federal nuclear regulator says it could take a century. Yet, there is a safer and cheaper alternative: keep the waste where most is currently stored at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) Lucas Heights facility south of Sydney, and only move it once a long-term site to house Australia’s long-lived intermediate-level waste is identified.

It simply does not make sense for the waste to be sent on a temporary basis to SA. Especially as it is fiercely opposed by the Aboriginal Traditional Owners – the Barngarla people and many regional grain producers. Further, the federal plan is illegal under SA law.

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