Kanpa community volunteers for nuclear waste dump

Traditional land owners in the Gibson Desert have indicated their interest in hosting a nuclear waste dump, previously intended for the Muckaty Station.

Kanpa community chairman Preston Thomas has said that he wants to have the dump in traditional Kanpa lands, or Pira-Kata lands, which will help to build industry in the remote community.

The Pira-Kata Aboriginal Corporation has applied for a native title sublease of 500 square kilometres for a proposed dump site between the Kanpa remote community and the Great Central Road.

The facility will require three square kilometres of land.

The federal government has offered $12 million in compensation to traditional landowners who agree to host the new nuclear waste dump, which Thomas believed would benefit community members throughout the Ngaanyatjarra lands.

The West Australian reported that Thomas has plans to develop the area, which include farming sorghum crops to use for livestock feed and biomass fuel, which will provide employment and economic growth for people in the area.

Thomas has been in discussions with AgGrow Energy Resources about such developments since 2010, but has not been able to get support for water access from the Ngaanyatjarra Lands community.

The proposed site at Muckaty Station was rejected last month, as the Northern Land Council withdrew its nomination for the site after eight years of opposition from several tribal groups with claims on the area. 

Nuclear waste is currently stored at more than 100 locations around Australia, including medical facilities and hospitals, universities and industrial facilities.

Industry minister Ian Macfarlane has said the Northern Land Council had three months to nominate a different site for the dump.

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