Letters to the editor

Nothing To Fear

In reply to Neil Morgan’s Nuclear Port question posed in the Port Lincoln Times on August 9, I would like to try to inform you to the best of my knowledge.

Kimba and Hawker citizens have been in serious consultation with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, the federal government and ANSTO for the past two years.

I have attended meetings, listened to visiting leading scientists, read all the literature and visited ANSTO in Sydney, one of the world’s most effective, multipurpose research reactors where nuclear radiation for medicine science, industry, commerce and agriculture is produced.  

I attended a meeting at the Kimba Hotel where Dr Peter Karamoskos, a radiologist and nuclear medicine specialist who administers nuclear medicine to patients, spoke.

These world leading procedures produce amazing results in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers, heart, lung and brain conditions and saves lives.

Dr Karamoskos said while there is no fear of contamination from these procedures and the waste is harmless, there is low grade nuclear waste generated from the production of this medicine at ANSTO.

This is safely stored in 200-litre drums but they are running out of room. This waste needs to be stored permanently and will be the bulk of the waste destined for one of the sites in SA.

ANSTO has devised state of the art packaging where it is solidified into blocks of specialised cement where nothing can spill or leak. This procedure is recognised world’s best practice and is stringently overseen and licenced by ARPANSA which is Australia’s controlling nuclear watch dog.

The transport of the blocks is most likely to be by road which is safe compared to freighting hazardous farm chemicals, fuels, fertilisers and gases.

Ten thousand doses of nuclear medicine are shipped around Australia by aeroplane and delivery vans every week for treatments in hospitals. Dr Karamoskos assured us the repository will be safe.

Radioactivity is a natural phenomenon found in the atmosphere, our brick homes, granite rocks and fertilisers and is easily measured. Australia only produces nuclear medicine.

The facility will temporarily store intermediate level waste which is reprocessed waste materials, permanently solidified and immobilised in vitrified glass in small cylinders. This is solid waste and cannot spill.

These cylinders are placed inside and securely stored in a 110 tonne stainless steel TN81 canister. These canisters can withstand impacts from high speed projectiles and crashes, temperatures of 800 degrees and a jet plane strike.

Once again it will be most likely freighted by road under the strictest guidelines.

The facility will be a state of the art $200m build and will potentially create 45 jobs.

Many local and EP tradespeople will be employed during the construction phase which could have a flow on affect throughout the state.

We (Kimba) rely solely on agriculture and dry years are a common occurrence. Commodity prices have been woeful, businesses are struggling and many farmers are burdened with debt.

So you see Neil, even if this radioactive waste was to be unloaded at the Pt Lincoln wharf, as the anti-nuclear activists and greens would have us believe, it would probably be much safer than a lot of other hazardous substances already moving through our ports.

As there has been no site selection finalised, it is futile to speculate on the mode of transport of this waste at this point in time.

BARB SCHMIDT

Kimba

Review not requested

I refer to the Elliston District Council chairman's comments published in the Port Lincoln Times on July 31. 

I am a serving councillor of the Elliston District Council and I was of the belief that some administrative matters had not been done well and I had previously put that to the chief executive officer and principal members by letter.

On February 19 and prior to the council meeting on this matter, I then followed up with another letter to clarify that I was expressing a personal opinion and I had not asked for an expert review to be made on this matter, but the council chose to fund the engagement of a solicitor to undertake a formal review.

Typically in many smaller country councils, the community infrastructure needs often exceed the council’s funding ability and I feel that our ratepayers would have gained greater value if those particular funds had instead been put into maintenance of public infrastructure.

I believe that it is my duty to represent what I see to be in the best interests of people living within this council area, regardless of who is on council and no matter what has occurred.

In regard to the allegedly stolen water: it is my understanding the council water compound is securely fenced, its standpipe is always locked and I do not have and never had a key to either lock.   

I note that the amount of water supposedly stolen from that facility in February 2016 was independently recognised as being of low monetary value, that failings had occurred in council procedures and that some new procedures were recommended to be put in place.

I was cautioned for possessing road signs in December 2016, but what has not been clarified is that these signs had been dumped by the council and I had later salvaged them from its waste site. They were waste items and not signs that had been stolen from the road side.

MICHAEL WERCHIWSKI

Elliston