Pitt to declare nuclear site

PREFERRED SITE: From left, Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey, Napandee land owner Jeff Baldock and Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt at the Kimba site.
PREFERRED SITE: From left, Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey, Napandee land owner Jeff Baldock and Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt at the Kimba site.

Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt intends to declare the Napandee area at Kimba the proposed site for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF).

More consultation will be undertaken before the decision is made official, but it's an important milestone in a long and arduous site selection process which began six years ago.

Minister Pitt said it was clear radioactive waste could be "safely and securely" stored in Napandee, and the community ballot held in Kimba showed "broad community support" for the facility.

"This is the next step in progressing this nationally significant infrastructure project, which successive governments have been working on for more than 40 years," he said.

"I have reviewed the relevant information, which has informed my decision to proceed in accordance with the Act. I am issuing a notice to declare Napandee, and will seek the views of those with rights or interest in the site."

The intention to declare Napandee as the NRWMF site will kick-start the legislative process of the federal government acquiring the site for the purpose of hosting the facility.

"The nuclear industry is one of the most highly regulated in Australia and there will continue to be a range of community consultation opportunities," Mr Pitt said.

"I would like to again thank the communities of Kimba, Hawker and Quorn for their thoughtful engagement over a long period of time on this vitally important issue."

A period of further consultation will now occur, with the Minister considering relevant comments ahead of deciding whether to proceed with declaring the Napandee site.

Next the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA) will develop various detailed applications to relevant regulators. This process is expected to take a number of years to complete.

These applications will also include further consultations with community and Traditional Owner groups.

However the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) see the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANTSO) Intermediate Level Solid Waste Storage Facility at Lucas Heights as a long-term solution for storing nuclear waste.

It comes as the federal government invest $60 million to extend the interim storage capacity for Intermediate Level Waste at the ANSTO site in southern Sydney

In a submission made to the Public Works Committee inquiry, the ACF argue that extended interim storage at existing federal facilities at ANSTO would be a "possible and prudent" option to explore.

"ACF maintains that Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) should remain securely stored at ANSTO until an agreed and evidence based long term management site and strategy is developed," the submission read.