Letters to the editor

Does Kimba need nuclear?

After all the discussion surrounding the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) over the past three years, I am certain that 90 per cent of our district realise that the Kimba community needs something to sustain its viability and who knows maybe even improve it!

I am well aware of other surrounding towns declining in numbers over the years and I am sure this happens all over Australia.

My view on this is, “That is fine but why should I stand by and let that happen to my home town when an opportunity arises?”

I am a business owner in the township of Kimba and also run a small farm in the Buckleboo district, I have visited ANSTO, had many conversations, listened and read a lot of information both for and against this proposed facility, respecting people’s views from both sides of the fence and I have now made up my own mind on the issue.

This cannot negatively impact our region, it will only benefit it!

As a business in Kimba times are certainly not as easy as some may think, perhaps just as they may not be on the land at the moment.

I see this particular opportunity for our community as one that must go ahead to secure the future for generations to come.

It would be no surprise to any other business owner in Kimba (for or against) that things are certainly in decline and many are now branching out into the same areas as others to try and keep their own business viable.

For me, my greatest concern right now is how I try and keep 11 full time staff along with six part time staff employed.

You may think that it means if we get a facility my business and its staff are set for life (as I’m sure some do), this couldn’t be further from the truth.

This facility may help our business out with some form of work or supply, I don’t know.

But what I do know is that for many people working in our business and some that have been laid off due to lack of work or capacity to keep them on, it will give them an opportunity to become secure in employment and also allow them to live in, support and be a part of the great community Kimba is.

On top of this is it could mean some local families can be together with husband’s moving back to Kimba to work rather than FIFO work.

On top of this there are many young families in our district that don’t have any opportunities in agriculture and certainly don’t own a property to support them.

Most of all it is these people that I really feel for in this situation, some have tried to have a voice, some have been too scared and some have just taken the, ‘it’s easier if I say nothing’ option.

Does Kimba need something?  Yes it does.

Is a NRWMF the answer? In my view yes it is!



Proud of nuclear medicine

I write in response to Terry Schmucker’s letter ‘Not quite right’ (Eyre Peninsula Tribune, Sept 20).

At the outset please let me say that I wish Mr Schmucker and his wife well. A cancer diagnosis is something that no one wants to face, but it certainly sounds like he and his wife are availing themselves of our medical professionals and facilities, which are amongst the best in the world.

With respect to the points that were raised, I offer two in response.

Firstly, different nuclear technologies are used to enable different diagnoses and treatments, and those technologies can include reactors, cyclotrons, PET Scanners and others.

Some nuclear medicines are created in nuclear reactors, which are used to produce large volumes of medicines used in the diagnosis or treatment of a variety of lung, heart and muscular skeletal conditions, as well as specific cancer treatments. A by-product of these processes is radioactive waste.

Others are produced in devices called cyclotrons, which are also used in the production of various diagnostics and treatments. These medicines are oftentimes short-lived, meaning they can’t travel distances in the same way that reactor-produced medicines can, and often don’t have long-lived radioactive waste by-products until you get to the maintenance or decommissioning stages.

PET and CT scanners are diagnostic instruments that take pictures and video, and don’t produce waste.

Molybdenum-99 falls into the first category, of medicines that can only be produced at the scale, quality and cost needed, with a nuclear reactor.

ANSTO’s reactor at Lucas Heights is one of only few worldwide that is able to produce for world demand, and will soon meet up 25 per cent of that, a fact of which Australia should be proud.

Secondly, with respect to storage, as we have said, a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility is in line with international best practice, and the government will only locate it on land that is volunteered by a landowner, that is technically suitable and that is surrounded by a community that broadly supports it.

We are consulting in Kimba and Hawker because land was volunteered there, the land has been found technically suitable based on independent testing, and the community told us they want to have the conversation.

We are working to provide the community with the opportunity to have its say on the proposal, and to make a decision on it, this year.

Good luck to you, your wife and your family.


National Radioactive Waste Management Taskforce principal advisor 

This story Letters to the editor first appeared on Eyre Peninsula Tribune.