Following further consultation, the Australian Government confirmed that a site for the location of our country’s National Radioactive Waste Management Facility has been selected, near the town of Kimba in South Australia.
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The government has acquired approximately 211 hectares of land at Napandee, 24 kilometres west of Kimba, where the facility will be built after detailed designs, technical and heritage studies are completed.
Under the relevant legislation, the effect of the declaration is that the land is acquired by Commonwealth.
“I’m pleased to confirm we have reached a major milestone in our work to deliver this national facility, and a solution that has eluded consecutive governments for more than 40 years,” Minister Pitt said.
“This new facility will create 45 new, permanent jobs in the local Kimba community, in fields as diverse as security, administration, environmental monitoring, scientific services, health and safety.”
Australia’s radioactive waste is currently spread over more than 100 locations around the country including in science facilities, universities and hospital basements.
For more than 40 years, Australian governments have been working to site a single, safe and purpose-built facility where the waste can be consolidated, in line with international best practice.
The vast majority of the waste produced today is associated with the production of nuclear medicine that every Australian, on average, will need during their lifetime for diagnoses and treatments.
“Nuclear medicine is used in the diagnosis of a variety of heart, lung and muscular-skeletal conditions as well as the treatment of specific cancers, and a by-product of its production is low level radioactive waste.
“Along with the benefits comes a responsibility to manage the by-products. Without a facility like this, we can’t enjoy the benefits from vital nuclear medicines on an ongoing basis.
“This facility will underwrite Australia’s nuclear medicine supplies, and support good, permanent, full time jobs and a brand new industry in Kimba, for generations.
Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey, welcomed the announcement confirming the site in his electorate.
“This decision has been made after very careful consideration of all the relevant information and I am confident that the Napandee site is suitable to host the National Radioactive Waste Facility,” Mr Ramsey said.
“I know that the majority of the local community are behind the project that will bring jobs and new economic opportunities for our region and look forward to the facility proceeding.
“This is not to say there are not some people with concerns and I will work with them to resolve those issues wherever possible, as we move into the detailed design, delivery and operational phases.” Mr Ramsey said.
The facility delivery and operation will be managed by the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency in Adelaide, which will have at least 35 staff when it reaches its total complement. ■