Thanks for your time, Kimba

23 December 2016

Man on forklift storing low level waste

I refer to the letter Nuclear Relaunch in last week’s Eyre Peninsula Tribune.

Australian legislation says any landowner may nominate to host a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at any time until a decision is made on its location.

The department has not received another voluntary nomination from the Kimba region, and whether one comes forward is a matter for landowners in the area.

We were recently invited to return to Kimba by the Working for Kimba’s Future Group, where we held informal consultations with more than 200 members of the community about three possible sites that the group was considering.

I would like to thank everyone who took time out in a very busy period of the year, and we will provide our feedback to the group, the council and anyone else who is interested.

No matter where the facility is ultimately located, I can categorically state that it will not host high-level waste.

We are looking to site a near-surface facility, for permanent storage of Australian low-level waste over about 300 years, and temporary storage of our intermediate-level waste over a few decades.

Australia does not produce high level waste and our national facility will never be suitable for such material, regardless of whether a decision was ever made by a government to accept it from overseas.

Such a proposal would fail nearly every technical, legal and regulatory test.

We can say this because the Australian waste facility we are actively working towards is a completely different type of structure compared to the hypothetical international facility.

This hypothetical high-level waste facility would be hundreds of metres further underground and built to store waste for thousands more years, compared to the one we are proposing.

It would also likely have to bemuch larger than the one for Australian waste, in order to be economical.

The independent national regulator ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) would not allow it under the facility’s licencing conditions, nor would it meet the International Atomic
Energy Agency requirements.

No matter where the Australian facility proposed from the Australian government goes, it will be for Australian waste only.

Bruce Wilson, Head of Resources Division

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science