Friday, July 26, 2024

Napandee radioactive waste facility a step closer

A National Radioactive Waste Management Facility is one step closer, following a decision by the Minister for Resources and Water, Keith Pitt, to issue notices of an intention to declare Napandee near Kimba in South Australia as the proposed site for the facility.

The facility will be for the disposal of Australia’s low level radioactive waste and temporary storage of intermediate level waste, currently spread over more than 100 locations.

More than 80% of Australia’s radioactive waste stream is associated with the production of nuclear medicine.

In coming to this decision, Minister Pitt said he had considered relevant material to inform a formal declaration.

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

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

“The Australian Government has followed a rigorous process over six years, working with local communities and carrying out technical studies.

“Upon reviewing all the information, it is clear that radioactive waste can be safely and securely stored at Napandee. In Kimba, there is broad community support for the project and the benefits it will bring.”

He said broad community support had been demonstrated through a range of indicators including:

  • 61.6% of people in the Kimba Local Government Area supported the facility according to the Ballot which was independently facilitated by the AEC;
  • 59.3% support from surveyed local businesses in Kimba;
  • 59.8% support from local submissions; and
  • 100% of neighbours who share a boundary with the site at Napandee, support the facility.

“Now that I have issued an intention to declare a proposed site for the facility, this will commence the legislated process towards acquiring the site by the Australian Government for the purpose of hosting the facility,” Minister Pitt said.

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

“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.

Following that, and to progress the facility, the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA) will need to develop various detailed applications to relevant regulators. The application and approval processes will take a number of years to be completed.

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

To find out more about the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, visit: radioactivewaste.gov.au

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