Nuclear facility discussed

Abusive mail

To the anonymous, dump supporters who sent us Barry’s 14-year-old Hansard speech on the Rann government’s prevention of the Woomera nuclear waste dump we thank you.

It reminds us of the CSIRO working with robots to prepare the intermediate and low level waste at Woomera for Kimba or Hawker in about five years time.

The federal MP knows our very different views about Barry’s support for the Woomera Dump 20 years ago and our opposition to the Kimba and Hawker sites.

The federal government is clearly ignoring its own code of practice on nuclear waste on agricultural land as it is illegal in SA.

Most people who know us know we have never been “silver spooners” and we will never be so.

We have made three mail-drops over the last six months at our own cost which was the least we could do against big government with unlimited taxpayer funds. Anonymous hate mail can never be ignored.

Our democracy was hard won, and to ignore it condones it and the price of our freedom of speech came at too high a price not to put our body and words on the line against anonymity.

BARRY, TINA WAKELIN

Kimba

Up to community

In response to Leon Ashton’s letter (August 30). The department has always said there would be at least 15 jobs associated with the waste management roles for disposal of low level waste. And there are.

There are also 12 security related jobs, three administrative jobs and other functions that make the 45 full time new jobs.

The communities asked for more detail on this and as a result ANSTO formulated an organisational chart based on international best practice. 

The department has always said the proposed facility would hold both low-level on a permanent basis and the intermediate level waste for several decades.

The department has no view as to whether the two sites, or a site at some other location, should proceed.  For any site to go ahead, it needs broad community support. If this is not present the department will look at other sites and apply the same criteria to any future proposed sites. This will mean any future site would see the same benefits.

It is now up to the community to decide whether it supports hosting the facility and we welcome the discussions and debate that will support a well-informed decision whichever way it goes.

BRUCE WILSON

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Nuclear saga

Although the vote on whether Kimba should host a nuclear waste depository has been placed on hold, there is no doubt that it will go ahead in the near future.

However, the break gives everyone the opportunity to look very carefully at the situation to date.

Firstly, even if the Kimba vote is “yes” it will not give anyone the right to proceed without first repealing existing legislation. The Nuclear Waste Storage (Prohibition) Act 2000 was set in place with overwhelming support from a state wide community tired of SA being lined up as the national nuclear waste dumping ground.

The act is specific in its prohibition against construction or operation of a nuclear waste facility; it is clear in its prohibition of importation and transportation of nuclear waste in this state; it is crystal clear in its prohibition of public money being used to encourage or finance construction or operation of a nuclear waste storage facility; it is perfectly clear that this piece of state legislation cannot be repealed behind closed doors using the popular mushroom process, particularly with a federal election on the horizon.

It will first have to go before all SA voters for approval.

There is also the growing perception that what has taken place so far may have already seriously breached sections of this very precise Act. For instance, only the most naive person would view the cash offers as anything other than encouragement or coercion.

Out of the darkness comes light which may help to reunite the divided community. Section 12 of the act provides for compensation to be paid to a public authority or to any person who may have suffered injury, loss or damage, resulting from offences against this act.  Could this possibly refer to a class action by a representative body for social damage caused to this once tightly united community?  Think about it.

BRYAN LOCK

Iron Knob

Mine an option

I am a retired geologist and was the uranium projects officer (from 1979 to 1995) in the SA Department of Mines and Energy.

On Monday, July 23, the Advertiser had an article that described the Commonwealth government’s plan to dispose of low-level radioactive waste in Kimba or Hawker, and that the two communities will vote about the proposition.

All the stress and division could be avoided by storing all radioactive waste (i.e. low, intermediate and high level radioactivity) in the former Radium Hill uranium mine (1954-1961) in eastern South Australia because the mine area is already a gazetted low level waste repository; the mine and area are owned by the SA government; the shaft and tunnels have been excavated; the geology of the mine and surrounding area is known in great detail; the area is geologically stable; the region is dry; few people live there; access is good, it is about 20km south of the Barrier Highway and about 85km west-south-west from Broken Hill and its services.

To store radioactive waste of all levels in Radium Hill mine would be far cheaper than the cost of finding, proving and developing another but unknown site.

Why is this obvious and most suitable locality being ignored by the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, Commonwealth and state governments, the news, media and industry? 

BOB MAJOR

Mile End