Controversial nuclear waste plans back under the spotlight

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Issues at two of ‘s largest radioactive waste storage facilities have put a controversial government plan back under the spotlight.
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For years the federal government has tried in vain to build a national dump for the country’s nuclear waste.

Staunch opposition from prospective locations has repeatedly stalled the project, which opponents believe is an environmental disaster waiting to happen.

Each year produces about a shipping container full of low and intermediate-level waste through industrial, medical and research applications.

Much of the country’s waste is stored at a CSIRO facility in Woomera, South , and a government warehouse in Lucas Heights, Sydney.

Lucas Heights is approaching full capacity and Fairfax Media has revealed significant concerns about conditions at the CSIRO facility.

Professor Ken Baldwin, the director of the Energy Change Institute at ANU, said it was about time settled on a long-term plan for nuclear waste.

“In the same way that it’s important to have a coherent approach to the disposal of chemical waste, petroleum products and used car tyres, we need to have a long-term plan for storing the waste products arising, for example, from the creation of nuclear medicines in the fight against cancer,” he said.

The search for a publicly acceptable site to store nuclear waste has plagued successive governments since the doomed National Repository Project in 1992.

Started by the Labour government in 1992, the project was wound-up without success in 2004 by Liberal Prime Minister John Howard.

Bruce Wilson, head of resources at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, said ‘s current arrangements did not conform with international best practice.

“Radioactive waste is held in more than 100 locations around the country, and is strictly regulated by the independent nuclear regulator, ARPANSA,” he said.

“International best practice and government policy is that this be consolidated into a safe, purpose-built, national facility on land volunteered by a landowner and at a site broadly supported by nearby communities.” /*\n”,color:”caution”, title:””, maxWidth:200, open:0},{lat:-30.29857, lon:138.36247, text:”

Lyndhurst, South \n”,color:”caution”, title:””, maxWidth:200, open:0}] );}if (!window.googleMaps_Icons) window.googleMaps_Icons = {};window.googleMaps_Icons[“caution”] = {“marker”:{“image”:”http://maps.gstatic苏州夜总会招聘/mapfiles/ms2/micons/caution.png”},”shadow”:{“image”:”http://maps.gstatic苏州夜总会招聘/mapfiles/ms2/micons/caution.shadow.png”}};if (!window.gmapsLoaders) window.gmapsLoaders = [];window.gmapsLoaders.push(CreateGMapgmap201721314752);window.gmapsAutoload=true;/*]]>*/ Last week the government announced two sites in Kimba, South , had been formally nominated by landowners to host the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

Many residents in the 700-strong town were motivated by the economic kick the rural region would get by hosting the centre, consultation documents showed.

However, others were concerned about possible health impacts and whether the facility would damage the region’s environmental and agricultural reputation.

Kimba Mayor Dean Johnson has previously said many in the town were coming around to the idea as more information was provided on its risks and rewards.

Another site in Barndioota, South , was earmarked to host the facility in April last year and is currently undergoing an in-depth technical assessment.

A final decision on the location of the site was unlikely to be made this year, the government said.

“A landowner at Barndioota, in regional South , voluntarily nominated a section of their land, and the community around it elected to enter into the current process of deep consultation and technical and heritage studies,” Mr Wilson said.

“That process will continue throughout this year.

“Two new applications have been received from landowners near Kimba in regional South , and if they meet basic technical and other criteria, one or both may enter into a phase of initial consultation.”