Senate releases nuclear report

The final report on the senate inquiry into the selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia was released on Tuesday but those who oppose the facility say it has failed to address their main concerns.

The recommendations included the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) working with local stakeholders to use part of the 60 hectare buffer zone to grow and test agricultural produce to reassure the community and agricultural markets the produce is safe for consumption.

The committee also recommended the minister intensify efforts to fully engage with the Indigenous stakeholders near Kimba and Hawker; that government undertake an independent valuation of the land to be acquired to ensure that the financial compensation is consistent with the original proposal to compensate the landholder at four times the land value; and that DIIS make submissions received during the consultation process publicly available where the authors gave permission.

However, while the No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA group is thankful for the time and effort put into the inquiry, member Kellie Hunt said it was “disappointed” with the recommendations.

“We are disappointed that the recommendations do not address any of our primary concerns,” she said. 

“In particular, our issues regarding the lack of definition of what constitutes broad community support, and the lack of genuine need to move the intermediate level waste from Lucas Heights to a second interim storage location.

“We continue to oppose the siting of this facility on agriculture land in the Kimba district.”

The Senate Economics References Committee wrote the report using submissions made by stakeholders in in the affected communities near the sites in Kimba and Hawker, as well as public hearings in Kimba, Hawker and Canberra.

A spokesperson from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said the department thanked the committee for the report and that it “looks forward to reviewing it.”

“We have the opportunity to take account of the findings ahead of the community ballot that is scheduled to begin on August 20.”

The full report is available on the senate inquiry website at aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Economics/Wastemanagementfacility