Slow down nuclear process: Sweeney

SLOW: Nulcear Free Campaigner Dave Sweeney believes the federal government are rushing their site selection process for their nuclear waste facility.
SLOW: Nulcear Free Campaigner Dave Sweeney believes the federal government are rushing their site selection process for their nuclear waste facility.

An environmentalist is urging the federal government to slow down their site selection process for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility as a community vote looms for Kimba and Hawker.

Nuclear Free Campaigner Dave Sweeney has accused Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan of being on a politically-influenced timeline to lock in a location for the nuclear facility.

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency CEO Dr. Carl Magnus Larsson said there was no urgency to move intermediate nuclear waste from the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney at a Community Information Session in Kimba on Monday.

“Last night it was heartening to hear that it’s not the regulator who is pushing this timeline it’s politics,” Mr Sweeney said.

“Instead of rushing this decision we need to seriously explore the long-term management options for long-lasting nuclear waste before moving it from a site with a high level of expertise and security to regional South Australia.

“We don’t need to make a decision by Christmas, we need to get it right.”

But National Radioactive Waste Management Taskforce Principal Advisor Bruce Wilson said the timeline of the site selection process was not being driven by the ARPNSA.

Mr Wilson said the speed of the process was based on the fact that the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) nuclear waste capacity would fill by the early 2020’s.

“There is common ground between the regulator, ARPANSA, and ANSTO, with both acknowledging a requirement for a permanent disposal pathway and plan for Australia’s radioactive waste.”

Mr Sweeney said there was increasing unrest in the Kimba community about the federal government’s plans to potentially use the ports in Whyalla, Port Pirie and Port Lincoln to transport nuclear waste.

“People are wanting detailed consultation, they want the government to outline what they’re going to do with the ports before they go ahead with it,” he said.

A decision on the location of the NRWMF could come as early as October. ​The five-week community ballot for Kimba begins on August 20.