Two proposed sites in South Australia for a low-level radioactive waste dump will proceed to the next phase of assessment, the federal government says.
The government has accepted the nominations of land at two sites near Kimba, on Eyre Peninsula, and one at Lyndhurst, in SA’s mid-north. under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan says the decision to progress the Kimba sites was made after considering direct representations, the results of an independent postal ballot and submissions during a 90-day consultation process.
“Progression to phase two does not constitute a final decision, rather, we now know that across the community there is broad support for continuing this conversation, and that is what we will do,” the minister said in a statement on Tuesday.
Mr Canavan said phase two in regard to the Kimba sites would engage people with all views allowing the local community to have another chance to express their opinions on the suitability of both locations.
In-depth consultation and technical assessments of the Kimba sites would also be undertaken along with allocation of a $2 million community benefit package to fund local projects.
A site at Wallerberdina Station near Lyndhurst, in South Australia’s mid-north, has also progressed to phase two.
At Wallerberdina Station, a process including a heritage assessment, technical studies and community consultation is continuing.
The federal government’s decision in relation to the Kimba sites has disappointed a local group opposed to the location of a nuclear waste dump.
They said the community ballot revealed only 57 per cent support, well below the 65 per cent previously cited as evidence of broad approval.
“Minister Canavan has repeatedly promised that he will not impose this facility on a community that doesn’t want it,” the group said in a statement.
“Yet has progressed nominations in Kimba where it is proven that 42 per cent of us do not.
“It is impossible to find words to properly describe how utterly disappointed we are.”
Mr Canavan said radioactive waste produced from nuclear medicine was currently stored in more than 100 locations around the country.
“International best practice is that it be consolidated into a single, safe and national facility,” he said.