Letters to the Editor

Selling community’s future

Tripling the money for communities taking nuclear waste suggests a level of desperation on the part of the government. But it does not remove the long term impacts nuclear waste can have on tourism, on produce prices and most of all on future generations.

The forthcoming vote requires community consent, but real consent needs accurate information.

Is the government is restricting information? Locals report CSIRO experts can no longer advise concerned community members directly. Queries must now go through the department.

Similarly, while “all expenses paid” tours to ANSTO are freely provided, requests to tour the leaking drums at Woomera are denied.

The role of nuclear medicine has been overblown. Information from just DIIS sources is not enough.

Opposing expert voices have been not allowed to speak at some presentations, and incorrect statements made to discredit alternative views.

DIIS promises were different, before a vote was needed.

Forty five jobs, up from 15, is a huge leap.

In 2010, Department section manager Patrick Davoren said a facility would create six full-time jobs, with counter-terrorism officers for any radioactive waste of "safeguard significance" (i.e. Intermediate Level Waste).

In 2006 Senate Estimates Senator Crossin asked about jobs. The reply:  approximately 30 construction jobs and 6 ongoing jobs.

The existing low level radioactive waste site at Mt Walton in WA has no full time jobs.

The government promises a whole “new industry”. But once waste is containerised at Lucas Heights, how much processing will occur locally? Once construction is done, stacking and guarding the waste and minding the newly created visitors centre seem to be it.

Only 24 years ago the community around Lucas Heights, whose mayor was recently in Hawker spruiking for towns to take this waste, took ANSTO to court to get rid of the drums now in Woomera.

And always, with government jobs, where is the money coming from? What guarantees are there? There is absolutely no cost benefit analysis of the increasing nuclear waste production from Lucas Heights, despite plans to massively ramp up production of isotopes by a factor of 25-30.

In 2003 the government's own PR company Michels Warren noted: "The National Repository could never be sold as "good news" to South Australians. There are few, if any, tangible benefits such as jobs, investment or improved infrastructure."

Why not leave the intermediate waste safely at Lucas Heights until proper disposal is sorted? It takes little space, and would hopefully make ANSTO reconsider plans for 40 more years of increasing production.

Nobody wants this waste. But out of sight is out of mind. There is a significant risk the community will be left dealing with highly toxic long lived intermediate waste, long after the money is spent.



Firm nuclear supporter

I’ve just had the privilege of visiting Australia’s Lucas Heights in Sydney to view the nuclear reactor which supports research and the production of the nuclear medicine.  

More importantly it became much clearer to me how highly regulated and monitored this industry is.  

It was eye-opening to view how the low level waste is sorted, contained, compacted and then stored, and to learn about the incredible tests that the intermediate level waste storage is put through to ensure it is impenetrable. 

The suburbs of Sydney are virtually right next door and we visited the child care centre right there on site that has a long waiting list.

It has taken me awhile to form a view of whether Kimba should embrace a low –intermediate level radioactive storage facility for Australia’s waste.

After becoming much more informed about the industry, the disposal and storage plans, and the roles of independent regulators, I am now a firm supporter of welcoming this very safe industry to our area bringing with it incredible economic opportunities through the $200+ million construction phases right through to the operation with a minimum of 45 jobs.

I look forward to our community have much greater employment and economic opportunities.



We can all have our say

To the writer of the anonymous note who said to me, "stop ruining the community" – why not have the courage to use the telephone numbers provided to put your view?

Please let all remember we liked Kimba and districts warts and all after Tina's 50 years and my 70 years.

We never wanted a dump and have never asked for a dump and have nothing to explain or justify.

That is the responsibility of others.

It's a bit rich to whinge about someone else having a different point of view, when we see real risks based in a Canberra and Sydney agenda which ignores their own guidelines that nuclear waste sites should be located in a "region which has little or no potential for agriculture".

This is Australia where we can all have our say.