Nuclear meeting in Kimba

NUCLEAR: From left, Kimba Consultative Committee Deputy Convenor Dean Johnson, National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce General Manager Sam Chard and Convenor Allan Suter.
NUCLEAR: From left, Kimba Consultative Committee Deputy Convenor Dean Johnson, National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce General Manager Sam Chard and Convenor Allan Suter.

Assisting the Kimba community in transitioning out of the site selection process should it not be chosen for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) was among issues discussed at a consultative committee meeting on Wednesday.

The committee, made up of Kimba community members both for and against hosting the facility near Kimba met with NRWMF taskforce general manager Sam Chard.

It is the first meeting of the committee since the 2019 Federal Election and the first since the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) legal challenge against the proposed community ballot was dismissed.

Despite the BDAC appealing the decision, the Kimba District Council this week announced its intentions to move forward with the ballot.

In an opening statement at the committee meeting, Ms Chard said the government had reaffirmed an offer to financially support a ballot to gauge support for the project among affected indigenous groups.

"We're open to their suggestions about how we might do this," she said.

Jeff Baldock, who sits on the committee and volunteered the Napandee site, said he was pleased to resume discussion and see movement in the ballot process.

"There's so many people around town and in the district in general that just want to have their say, and then we'll know," he said.

Another topic discussed at the meeting was the decision to increase the footprint of the site to allow a larger buffer zone between the facility and its neighbours.

While the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science originally stated it required no less than 100 hectares, further research and the results of a 2018 Senate inquiry has seen the buffer zone expanded from 60 to approximately 100 hectares at both the Lyndhurst and Napandee sites, increasing the overall footprint to 160 hectares.

Mr Baldock said he was comfortable with the decision, which was in part made to allow space for agricultural research and development.

"It's another opportunity for our community to do trials for cropping... and generate income," he said.

The operational footprint housing the core facility has not changed in size.

After community members wishing to observe the meetings expressed concern about restrictions on note taking during meetings, reviewing the observer code of conduct was on the agenda.

Ahead of the meeting, committee convener Allan Suter said the code of conduct was primarily set up for confidential items discussed during the meeting and would be looked at.

"There is a willingness to revisit that today and we'll be guided by what the committee members want as far as future processes are concerned."

"(The regulations) certainly don't need to be as tight as they are today."

Minutes of the committee meetings are released on the department website.