HANDS UP: Residents raise their concerns over the proposed Oman Ama nuclear waste site at Warwick Town Hall yesterday.
HANDS UP: Residents raise their concerns over the proposed Oman Ama nuclear waste site at Warwick Town Hall yesterday. Ben Wilmott

Nuclear waste debate blows up over quakes, contamination

CONCERNS over earthquakes and water contamination dominated discussion when residents were updated on the proposed Oman Ama nuclear waste dump.

An information session was held at Warwick Town Hall yesterday on the Federal Government's proposal after similar events in Stanthorpe and Inglewood.

Government officials answered a broad range of questions regarding what waste the site would hold and how Oman Ama had been selected.

From 28 site nominations, Oman Ama is one of six sites short-listed as a potential location for a national nuclear waste facility.

Panellist Bruce Wilson from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said there would be plenty of discussion with the community as the list was narrowed down to two or three suitable locations.

Mr Wilson said the next stage of selection would include more rigorous research.

"We are seeking the community's view on the suitability of the proposed site," he said.

"The next stage would involve a further technical checklist on two or three sites before the end of 2016, with the hopes of having a single national facility by 2020."

Many residents were surprised that a spot so close to residential areas had been considered.

Mr Wilson said the notion of a waste facility dumped in the middle of nowhere was not practical.

"There are so many safety parameters around a site like this that you simply don't need to put it somewhere in the middle of the desert," he said.

"The site would offer the chance for local people to gain employment during the construction and upon completion when we would be looking to employ between 15 to 20 people."

Cr Glyn Rees raised his concerns over transportation trucks that would need to pass through Warwick.

"There is always the chance an accident could happen as one of these trucks travels through," he said.

Cr Rees was assured that the kind of waste transported to the site would be of little harm and easily cleaned up in the case of an accident.

A presentation outlined the details of the site and can be viewed at www.radioactivewaste.gov.au. Further consultations will be held for the next round of selections in March next year.

Residents can lodge concerns and opinions at the government website.