Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey has welcomed the federal government’s calls for voluntary nominations of sites for a national nuclear waste dump.
Landholders in all states and territories can nominate land for a facility to store intermediate level waste and dispose of low level waste.
Australia has 4248 cubic metres of low level and 656 cubic metres of intermediate level waste in temporary storage across more than 100 sites.
Mr Ramsey said the federal government was committed to taking responsibility for the waste, which is a by-product of industrial and medical processes that benefit all Australians.
“Under the Howard government a plan to store nuclear waste in Woomera was overturned in the Federal Court by the Rann Labor Government in 2004,” Mr Ramsey said.
“At the time the Rann Labor Government pursued a course of political opportunism running a scare campaign devoid of facts and managed to overturn the project in the Federal Court.”
The South Australian government's royal commission into the nuclear industry is looking at the prospects of nuclear waste facilities in the state.
“I congratulate the Premier on this move; we simply cannot make sensible informed decisions about this industry if we don’t talk about it."Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey
“It is interesting that this call for volunteers has occurred when Premier Jay Weatherill has just launched a royal commission into the possibility of South Australia raising its participation in the nuclear industry past the simple supply of yellowcake,” Mr Ramsey said.
“I congratulate the Premier on this move; we simply cannot make sensible informed decisions about this industry if we don’t talk about it.
“The government will also engage with the community in closest proximity to the selected site and will discuss a package of benefits in recognition of the potential construction and operational requirements of the facility.”
Resident John Sowerby said he was strongly opposed to a nuclear waste dump in the region and feared the government would not take the selected community’s long term safety into consideration.
Mr Sowerby criticised the government for eyeing off rural land for the dump and said the transport of waste to the site would bring additional safety issues.
“They don’t care about us country people; the thing that worries me is the safety aspect,” he said.
An independent advisory body will assess the nominated sites against a number of criteria, including community well-being, stable environment, environmental protection, security and economic viability.
At the end of the assessment and public consultation, the government will negotiate with the landholder of the selected site.
Site nominations close on May 5, 2015.