FRENCH nuclear waste facility director Patrice Torres said there were a number of factors taken into consideration before establishing a site in the Champagne region.
“One of the reasons why it is located there is the clay at the site, which is a natural barrier for the waste,” he said.
“There is also low seismicity and the flooding risk is low in the region.”
Mr Torres spoke at a meeting in Quorn on Friday, where attendees raised concerns about a site being proposed for the Flinders Ranges, particularly after the earthquake activity experienced in SA that week.
But the federal government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s Bruce Wilson said the site would not go ahead without thorough research on its suitability to house low and intermediate level waste safely.
French producer Pierre Jobard says being located near a nuclear waste facility has had no effect on his ability to farm, the marketing of his produce or on the value of his land.
Mr Jobard was a part of the French delegation to visit Quorn, at a meeting attended by about 30 people.
“I grow wheat, canola and hemp crops, run 120 cows for dairy production and grow winegrapes,” he said.
“In the early 1990s, one hectare of agricultural land in France was worth the same price as 1ha of land in Champagne. Today, 1ha of Champagne land is worth 100ha of agricultural land.
“There hasn’t been an impact on sales and marketing from the region. The cheese created from the dairy I produce is marketed as being from a distinctive region, and that marketing has happened since the facility arrived in the region.”
Director of the Aube disposal facility in the Champagne region, Patrice Torres, said before the site was established many people had fears about its effect on tourism numbers and agricultural produce.
“Champagne is obviously the leading product in the region, and there hasn’t been an effect on the marketing of that, but cabbage is also another major product,” he said.
“For local cabbage farmers, the value of what they produce has remained stable, while in other areas of France it has gone down, so it shows co-existence hasn’t been a problem.”
Meetings were also held at Hawker, Port Augusta and Kimba last week.
No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA committee president and Buckleboo farmer Peter Woolford attended the Kimba meeting with about 100 people.
“One of the main things I took away from the French delegation was a point about the process for setting up the facility, in their case the community nominated to host it, not individuals,” he said.
Mr Woolford said it was disappointing two new nominations had been made to house a site near Kimba.
“We are again forced to stand up for our community and our agricultural industry,” he said.