Pub test is singular
Sadly Bruce Wilson’s letter in the Eyre Peninsula Tribune (July 12) highlights the narrow support base of this radioactive waste process. The pub test mentioned is singular.
All other pubs and their patrons have now been excluded from this very important decision and cannot be held responsible. Responsibility is now confined to the Kimba district alone.
I ask again in the public arena if our current South Australian radioactive waste site at Woomera can have its secrecy lifted and the facts and figures and hopefully an open inspection facilitated so people can make an informed decision.
I would expect the workforce at the Woomera waste site is nothing like the number quoted in the pub test. Maybe the patrons are getting a bit glassy eyed on the tab and can now only see dollar signs on everything radioactive. The lure of money can obscure sound judgement.
I also note with interest the boundary adjustment mentioned between Lucas Heights and Barden Ridge. I find it ridiculous that Mr Wilson suggests that only a few real estate agents were responsible for this. We all know it takes strong public sentiment and a long democratic process to get something like that changed. It is probably fair enough too.
Lucas Heights is unique as a suburb of Sydney as there is no longer residential development there. Public sentiment has been grossly understated in this whole saga.
If it was science, logistics or economic reasoning the medium level waste would stay at Lucas Heights until a deep geological disposal site was finalised. Public sentiment and political motivation is obviously alive and well there.
In fact the waste now stored at Woomera was originally destined for Lucas Heights. It now sits on commonwealth land in SA. It has both low and medium level waste that has not been cared for properly and has been in breach of its licensing for two years. It is leaking.
ARPANSA has no teeth to enforce the rules and there is not enough public or political pressure to keep them honest. Despite the spin the facts are clear. Radioactive waste storage in rural SA is a disaster.
With the current site not open for scrutiny, the fantastic opportunity might well be just fantasy. People have been showed complex and expensive processes in which waste should be treated before disposal.
However this work has not yet begun at Lucas Heights as the licensing for the new site has not yet been set and may change. If I was cynical I could suggest the licensing may be relaxed a bit after the site is selected.
The concrete at Woomera and in the decommissioned HIFAR reactor at Lucas Heights will struggle to conform to the proposed disposal methods. Do not forget this waste site is permanent for most of the existing and future waste of Australia. Kimba will become the radioactive waste capital of Australia.
Sadly the process so far has excluded and discriminated against those outside the Kimba district who are equally affected by this site and entitled to a say. Kimba has stolen their vote so it can also take the money. Radioactive waste is not safe, but the biggest danger to the now isolated and insignificant Kimba district is public perception. Not a good start for all the promised benefits.
All about perception
The Eyre Peninsula is a wonderful place, surrounded by some of the cleanest sea on earth and the purest air on the planet blows from the southern ocean.
In other parts of the world prime agricultural land and water are becoming polluted by industry and mining and encroached on by expanding cities.This makes the EP more precious.
Why then would you put this at risk by siting a nuclear waste facility there? It is all about perception.
Last summer rockmelons from a property in the Riverina became infected with listeria, four people died and 17 became ill.
As a result sales of rockmelons dropped by 90 per cent and many growers had to let their rockmelons rot on the vine even though they were safe to eat. When people think of nuclear waste they think of Chernobyl, Fukishima and Maralinga.
Why would you risk EP’s clean green image, billions of dollars worth of produce for a nuclear waste facility and a paltry $30 million?
Facility could strengthen Kimba
Last week I was fortunate to be able to visit ANSTO at Lucas Heights and I am very thankful to the federal government for giving me this opportunity. To see the world class facility, learn that Australia is world leader in nuclear science and to hear about the ground breaking research was amazing.
My family has been in the Kimba community for several generations. I want to remain here for the rest of my working life and maybe even when I retire.
Having a young granddaughter now, I want it to be possible for her to access health care, education, shops and services, sporting teams, and a variety of jobs.
Thanks to the foresight of many of our locals we now have the opportunity to host the federal government’s low to intermediate radioactive waste facility here in our district.
I see this great opportunity of hosting a state of the art waste facility to store Australian low-intermediate radioactive waste as a way to strengthen our community, bring in big ‘outside’ dollars, build and ultimately provide job security as we face the uncertainty of farming in a low rainfall area.