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Australians benefit enormously from nuclear medicine and research activities. Around 1 in 2 Australians will use nuclear medicine in their lifetime. With these benefits comes a responsibility to safely manage our radioactive waste.

Currently, Australia’s radioactive waste is stored in more than 100 locations around the country. Australia needs a single, safe, purpose-built radioactive waste management facility.

Facility and site selection

The department is responsible for establishing a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012.

The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce is considering 3 voluntarily nominated sites:

  • Wallerberdina, near Hawker in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia
  • Lyndhurst, near Kimba in the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
  • Napandee, near Kimba in the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

Our site selection process considers safety, cultural heritage, environment, social and economic impact, and land requirements.

Our community engagement is ongoing and the facility will be located only where it’s broadly supported.

See our concept design 

See a description of the concept design

Radioactive waste management

The facility will permanently dispose of low-level radioactive waste and temporarily store intermediate-level waste.

Radioactive waste management involves:

  • treatment
  • conditioning
  • transportation
  • storage
  • disposal

It also includes administrative, operational and safety-related activities.

The Australian Radioactive Waste Management Framework sets out the principles, responsibilities and goals for managing Australia's radioactive waste throughout its life cycle.

For more information on radiation levels and waste management, visit the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) website.

Community benefits

The facility will be a new industry for the host community and will attract an injection of local investment. In addition to funding, the community will see job opportunities and improved infrastructure.

Community Skills and Development Package

A Community Development Package of up to $31 million will be available for the host community. This package includes:

  • $20 million community fund to provide long-term support for the region
  • $8 million of grants to strengthen the economic and skills base of the host community
  • $3 million from the government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy will support the delivery of an Aboriginal Economic Heritage Participation plan

Community Benefits Programme

The NRWMF Benefit Programme has provided funding to each community to acknowledge their contribution to the project.

Sporting clubs, community organisations, and projects focused on tourism, health and more have been funded.

Jobs opportunities

The facility will need staff for:

  • security
  • safety
  • waste operations
  • site management
  • community outreach
  • environmental monitoring
  • administration

Based on staffing levels in similar facilities elsewhere, the NRWMF will provide at least 45 jobs.

Infrastructure improvements

The facility may require upgrades to surrounding infrastructure, benefiting the broader community. Infrastructure that has been assessed as part of the site characterisation studies includes water, power, communications, transport and waste.

Community consultation

Community consultation is an important part of the NRWMF project. The taskforce has a dedicated team to engage with the local communities on all aspects of the proposed facility.

Consultative committees

We have consultative committees and Economic Working Groups in Kimba and Wallerberdina Station. The committees act as conduits between the department and the local communities. The working groups aim to ensure the communities benefit from economic opportunities.

Public submissions

The department is currently accepting public submissions. The Minister will be provided with all submissions received by the department by close of business 12 December 2019.

To have your say, send your submissions to radioactivewaste@industry.gov.au or our postal address listed under Contact us.

When making a submission, please note:

  • Your name and contact details (optional).
  • Whether you wish to have the submission made public, and if it should be published under your name, a pseudonym or anonymously.
  • All submissions will be logged, assigned a reference number and made public where permission is provided.
  • Personal information may be disclosed to Ministers, as well as research organisations and consultants supporting or advising the department on this project.  
  • Quantitative, non-identifiable data will be collected and may be published.
  • Content may be redacted where it is defamatory, abusive or breaches privacy obligations.

Read more

Connect with us

Contact us

  • Email radioactivewaste@industry.gov.au
  • Phone 13 28 46
  • Write to us at: Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; National Radioactive Waste Section, GPO Box 2013, Canberra ACT 2601

See also

Last updated: 11 October 2019

Content ID: 47013