SA farm named as nuclear waste dump

Kathryn Bermingham and Georgie Moore
Nuclear waste dump opponents want the federal government to abandon a planned facility near Kimba

A decision to build a nuclear waste dump on a South Australian farm has been hailed as an economic life line for the region, but not everyone is sold.

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan says 160 hectares of the Napandee property near the Eyre Peninsula town of Kimba will be used to store Australia's radioactive waste, most of it coming from nuclear medicine.

Farm owner Jeff Baldock says the decision brings a much-needed boost to a community losing residents and the services that go along with them.

"It provides another industry in town that doesn't rely on farming, which is huge thing," he told AAP on Saturday.

The site will store low-level and intermediate-level waste, employ 45 people, and comes alongside $31 million in federal funding for the community.

Mr Baldock says this gives Kimba the leverage to lure other industries to the area.

He volunteered his property for the nuclear waste dump, which was shortlisted along with a property at Lyndhurst.

But Mr Canavan said the Napandee proposal had more support, with 62 per cent of voters in Kimba backing it in a recent community poll.

"The facility has broad community support in Kimba but I acknowledge there remains opposition, particularly amongst the Barngarla People and their representative group," the minister said.

He added the government would work with traditional owners to protect their culture and heritage, and make sure they get a piece of the economic pie.

"I also acknowledge concern about potential agricultural impacts. Experience around the world is that waste and agricultural industries can coexist, but we will work to provide more assurance."

The No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA Committee fears the dump will damage the Eyre Peninsula's agricultural reputation.

"We're concerned about what stigma and perception is attached to a nuclear waste dump being in (the) area," the group's president Peter Woolford said.

"Why should Kimba have all of Australia's waste dumped in its backyard?"

A rally is planned in the town on Sunday.

More than 860 people last year voted on whether Kimba should host the dump, with 61.6 per cent in favour.

Medical waste destined for the site is currently being held at more than 100 sites across Australia, including universities and hospitals.

The dump will be able to store low-level waste permanently and intermediate-level waste for decades, while a separate facility is developed for permanent disposal of the latter.