Today the Federal Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science announced a shortlist of six nominated sites for consideration for the establishment of Australia’s national low-level waste and intermediate level waste disposal and storage facility.
Here is list of Frequently Asked Questions. I’m not sure how frequently they could have been asked since it was only announced today… but I think we all know what they mean: here is a list of answers to the basic range of issues that will be coming up for discussion.
As I have discussed once before, I am a member of the Independent Advisory Panel that has worked with the Department to get to this point. I believe the process is on a very good footing thanks to what has been an excellent process. There were 28 nomination through the voluntary process, a much stronger response than anticipated. This goes to show just how well Australians can deal with these issue when we approach it maturely and fairly.
Inevitably, this day comes: the day when people in many communities are made aware that locations close to them are under serious consideration. It happens all at once, since the only other way is basically leaking information, which helps no one.
There will be concerns, there will be some outrage, there will be some statements made that are false and misleading. This is normal, can be addressed and cannot be avoided right out of the gate. I encourage everyone who feels they understand these issues to be very patient with fellow Australians because many of us don’t; most Australians have had little or nothing to do with the back-end of our active nuclear medicine and research activities.
To those who hold concerns, I would say please try to move to a position of curiosity: this facility will not be imposed on unwilling communities and there will be a great deal of information and credible sources available to you to learn about everything involved. I say with no hesitation that the eventual facility will be world-class and safe to people and the environment. In fact, compared to the type of waste facilities most people may have been exposed to, not to mention any other industrial facilities, I think most Australians will be pleasantly surprised (perhaps even astonished) at just how neat, well organised, well contained and inoffensive this facility will be.
I look forward to continuing to assist with this process. I invite media to contact me to ensure a perspective from the Independent Advisory Panel is represented.