Australia Lists ‘Potential Sites’ for Nuclear Waste; Sallys Flat & Hale Included Mikkonen

For Australia’s first ever permanent nuclear waste dump, the Federal government nominated six “potential sites” which will store the country’s nuclear waste.

The Guardian reported that from the 28 voluntarily-nominated sites across Australia, the list of possible sites for nuclear waste was reduced to six.

Three sites in South Australia namely Cortlinye, Pinkawillinie and Barndioota are part of the shortlist. The other three potential sites are Sally’s Flat in New South Wales, Hale in the Northern Australia, and Oman Ama in Queensland.

After the shortlist has been made final, residents of those possible sites will undergo consultation in the next four months. The site mentioned that the owner of each land would receive a pay which is “four times its value.” Its neighbouring communities will receive at least $10 million.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, five of the possible sites are Liberal-head seats while only one is Labor-held. Resources minister Josh Frydenberg said that there’s “no politics” involved. He clarified that the shortlist was made by his department through the help of an independent expert panel.

Frydenberg noted the importance of having the permanent nuclear waste dump. He said, “This is something in Australia’s interests, we are required to store our own waste and this will also allow Australians to continue to benefit from the nuclear industry, in particular nuclear medicine.”

Across the country, the low-level nuclear waste is stored in 100 sites such as hospitals and universities. Meanwhile, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Operation at Lucas Heights stores the intermediate-level waste.

“Australia currently has the equivalent of around two Olympic-sized swimming pools of such waste, which may include laboratory items such as paper, plastic and glassware, and material used in medical treatments,” Frydenberg said.

Moreover, Frydenberg mentioned that the first permanent nuclear waste dump shall observe the “highest safety and environmental standards.” He said that it will undergo assessment from different agencies.

As reported on The Guardian, the six “potential sites” will be further reduced to three by next year. Out of those three, only one will be chosen after the next federal election. The nuclear waste dump is expected to operate by the end of the decade.

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