Whyalla’s port could be used to receive and ship nuclear waste to and from a waste management facility, according to a report by the Federal Industry Department (DIIS).
But the federal government, who have plans to establish a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) in Kimba or Hawker, have poured cold water on the idea.
Whyalla, Port Lincoln and Port Pirie were named as potential nuclear waste ports in three “Site Characterisation, Technical Reports” released by the Federal Industry Department (DIIS) in July.
A shipment of nuclear waste is due from Sellafield in UK and a shipment out of Port Kembla is planned from the ANSTO Lucas Heights reactor of nuclear waste received from France in 2015.
“There is potential to have waste shipped from Port Kembla, NSW to key port locations such as Whyalla, Port Pirie and Port Lincoln,” say DIIS in their site characterisation report for Lyndhurst.
“From here, waste would either be shipped via road or rail to the waste facility location. This may be necessary for the transportation of TN81 containers.”
But Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey there wouldn’t necessarily be enough waste to be shipped via sea.
“Any discussions about use of ports are only possible options,” he said.,
Friends of the Earth environmentalist David Noonan believes the federal government could face ‘serious obstacles’ to secure the use of a port to move nuclear waste.
“These targeted port communities are denied a say in Minister Canavan’s pending decision on siting a Federal dump in South Australia,” he said.
“They haven’t been consulted on use of their ports, and are excluded from ‘votes’ in the Hawker and Kimba districts between August and September on whether or not to locate a NRWMF in those areas.
Mr Noonan claimed that the federal government had been targeting ports to transport nuclear waste in South Australia for over two years.
Mr Ramsey said there had been no decision to locate the facility in South Australia so far.
“Two communities are to vote later this month as to whether they are willing to host the facility. If neither agrees there is no project,” he said.
Mayor Lyn Breuer said she would not commit to supporting the use of Whyalla’s port for transporting nuclear waste until the council received a guarantee it would be safe.
“While I don’t think it would have any significant environmental impact on our community barring an accident, this would require significant community consultation,” she said.
“In the past Whyalla has opposed any nuclear or radioactive shipping in this region.”