QUORN and Hawker locals travelled to New South Wales to learn about the potential employment opportunities that could come from the proposed national radioactive waste management facility in Barndioota.
A group of 10, including members of the newly-created Economic Working Group, got the opportunity to tour the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) facility in Lucas Heights.
The visitors inspected ANSTO’s low and intermediate level waste facilities – the same level proposed for Barndioota – with an aim to gain more knowledge about safe radioactive waste management.
Malcolm McKenzie, Co-Chair of Barndioota’s Economic Working Group, described the tour as a ‘real eye-opener’.
“One of the great things I saw was a lot of school children going through the site and being taught about nuclear medicine and science,” Mr McKenzie said.
“Our group will capture what we have learned about what goes on at ANSTO and feed that into our development plans.”
Group members had the opportunity to ask experts about the types of employment that would be available at a national radioactive waste management facility – from apprentices through to professors.
Mr McKenzie said his group walked away happy after getting the chance to listen to ‘people who knew what they were talking about’ and ask questions.
“They spoke to the experts about the process and how they manage and look after the site safety, and I am sure we could do something similar up at Wallerberdina Station,” he said.
“With the proper training, we could do the types of jobs they do here. There is a great opportunity to contribute.”
The locals also got to visit the OPAL research reactor, which is used for medical research.
ANSTO’s Stephanie McCready, who led the tour, said the facility has about 1200 employees, with about 20 people managing the existing low and intermediate level radioactive waste on site.
“About half of the staff in that operations team have trade qualifications in areas such as mechanics and electrics, and the other half perform the role with on-the-job training,” she said.
ANSTO welcomes about 15,000 visitors to its main campus at Lucas Heights each year.