A former Liberal senator who co-owns the preferred site for a national nuclear waste dump won’t get a massive pay-off, the federal government insists.
Grant Chapman owns the long-term lease to a property near Barndioota, 500km north of Adelaide near the Flinders Ranges, which has been pinpointed ahead of five other sites for the dump.
The cattle station has been short-listed to store nuclear medical and laboratory waste, but a final decision is pending a full design, safety, technical, environmental and indigenous heritage assessment.
Federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg says Mr Chapman had no say in the outcome and he would not get a windfall with rising land values.
“You’re only talking a few thousand extra dollars that could be in his pocket, which is not what someone like Grant Chapman … put their hands forward for this process,” he told ABC radio on Friday.
The minister has also played down the impact of the low-level waste to communities nearby any dump site, saying it was the “gloves, goggles and test tubes” that came in contact with nuclear medicine.
Two Olympic pool-sized waste stockpiles were already being stored around Australia.
“The whole purpose of building a single repository is to make it safer and it make it a long-term solution,” Mr Frydenberg said.
Mr Chapman was surprised to hear that his property had been pinpointed to host the dump.
“It was a bit of a surprise to me that they’ve narrowed it down to one site,” he said after ABC radio phoned to tell him on Friday morning.
Mr Chapman chaired a select committee in the 1990s that recommended the country’s low-level nuclear waste be stored in a single facility.
“So it’s taken some 20 years to get to this stage and they’re still considering a decision,” he said.