National

Hawker ruled out as nuke waste dump site

By AAP Newswire

The location of the federal government's proposed nuclear waste dump has been narrowed to two sites near Kimba on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula.

A third site near Hawker in the Flinders Ranges has been ruled out as an option after local residents voted against the idea.

In a poll which wrapped up on Thursday, just under 53 per cent of those who cast a ballot voted no to hosting the facility.

That prompted Resources Minister Matt Canavan to immediately take it off the table, ahead of his decision on the selected site early next year.

"This ballot does not demonstrate a sufficient level of support and I will no longer consider this site an option for the facility," the minister said in a statement on Friday.

"I will make a formal announcement early next year on the site selection process, and would like to thank everyone who participated in the ballots and other consultation mechanisms."

A similar poll conducted on Eyre Peninsula recently returned a 62 per cent vote in favour of the idea.

That leaves the two sites on properties at Lyndhurst and Napandee, in the running.

Jeff Baldock, who owns the Napandee site, told AAP recently the project was a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure Kimba's future".

After the Hawker vote, local mayor Peter Slattery said while the result was tight, it could not be construed as offering support for the dump.

"There is now an emphatic line in the sand and our community position has been defined," he said.

"We move on and we move on together, as a strong and resilient community."

Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Dave Sweeney said the Hawker result also came amid clear opposition from regional pastoralists and the area's native title holders.

"There is no broad community support for a national radioactive waste facility in the Flinders Ranges," Mr Sweeney said.

However, the Friends of the Earth said it was time for the federal government to abandon the dump plan altogether.

"The government has previously stated that 65 per cent would be a figure that would indicate the broad community support they need to select a site," spokeswoman Mara Bonacci said.

"These ballot results show that the minister does not have that support."

The new dump will be designed to take Australia's low- to intermediate-level waste, with the government promising financial incentives to the community around the selected site.

Most of the waste material to be sent to the new facility comes from nuclear medicine.

Senator Canavan said while the Hawker site would no longer be considered, the federal government would still invest $2 million in the area through the community benefits fund.