Radioactive materials are used in:
- scientific research
They’re used to diagnose many heart, lung and musculoskeletal conditions and treat specific types of cancer. It’s likely that all Australians will benefit from nuclear medicine in their lifetime.
With these benefits comes a responsibility to safely manage, store and dispose of radioactive waste.
Managing radioactive waste
We store radioactive waste in many locations around the country, including hospitals, science facilities and universities. While safe, these facilities are not purpose-built, and long-term management of Australia’s waste at these locations is not sustainable.
We are working to build a single, purpose-built facility to responsibly manage and safely store and dispose of radioactive waste. Any material accepted at the facility must meet strict waste acceptance criteria.
The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility will be a highly-engineered, state-of-the-art facility for the:
- permanent disposal of low-level radioactive waste
- temporary storage of intermediate-level waste.
A separate, future facility will permanently dispose of Australia’s intermediate-level waste.
We are establishing the facility under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012. Facility construction and operation will follow strict safety and security policies.
After a 7 year consultation process, the Australian Government acquired land for the site near Kimba in South Australia. The former minister declared this the facility site on 26 November 2021.
These are significant steps in establishing this crucial piece of national infrastructure. They will help secure the future of Australia’s nuclear medicine industry and nuclear research capabilities.
Site characterisation activities
Site characterisation activities will inform the final design of the facility and the different regulatory applications.
Delivering community benefits
The facility will benefit the local region through:
- job and contracting opportunities during construction
- 45 jobs during operation
- improved infrastructure, including water, power, communications, transport and waste
- increased local investment.
As the host community for the facility, Kimba in South Australia will receive a community development package of up to $31 million. This package includes:
- a $20 million community fund to give long-term support to the region
- $8 million worth of grants to strengthen Kimba’s economic and skills base
- up to $3 million from the government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy to support First Nations opportunities.
We are also sponsoring activities in Kimba that:
- support the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency’s (ARWA) community engagement
- give tangible benefits to the community.
Local not-for-profit organisations can apply for up to $2,000 each.
Communities close to the nominated sites considered during the site selection process have received several rounds of grant funding through a Community Benefit Program. This funding:
- recognises social impacts on communities near the nominated sites
- increases economic opportunities for affected communities.