The site selection process for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility has involved voluntary nomination, community consultation and technical assessments over 4 years.
The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce led this process in line with the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012. The Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA) is continuing this process.
We are committed to delivering the facility on a site volunteered by the owner, alongside a community that shows broad community support for hosting it.
More than 40 sites across Australia were volunteered. After assessing site characteristics, we considered 3 sites:
A number of factors informed site identification and continue to guide the project. Independent regulators will provide approvals across all phases of the project, including siting, design, construction, and operation.
The nuclear industry is one of the most regulated in Australia. The construction and operation of the facility will follow strict safety and security policies.
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is the government’s primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety. It is responsible for independently regulating the use of radiation by Commonwealth entities, including licensing, compliance, inspection, and enforcement.
Australia is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The agency sets international standards for safely managing radioactive waste. The facility will adhere to these standards.
The Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO) ensures Australia’s international obligations are met. These obligations fall under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Australia’s NPT safeguards agreement with the IAEA.
We are committed to protecting and promoting Aboriginal culture and heritage. Independent experts, in consultation with Traditional Owners where possible, undertook Aboriginal heritage assessments to identify areas of cultural significance around each site.
Read the cultural heritage assessment reports:
We will work with the Traditional Owners to develop an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the selected site. The plan will outline initiatives to protect Aboriginal culture and heritage, and provide future opportunities for Indigenous peoples.
During the technical assessment phase for each nominated site, we assessed the environmental impact.
Read the site characterisation reports:
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment will assess and approve the selected site in accord with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The facility design will ensure environmental safety. We will regularly undertake extensive environmental monitoring of the facility and report the findings.
We will continue to consider climate, bushfire risk, underground and surface water, land use, flora and fauna.
We commissioned an independent study to capture social and economic information about the potential host communities. This baseline information will help ensure opportunities are harnessed and negative impacts avoided or mitigated.
Read the social baseline reports:
We commissioned an independent economic analysis in each community. The analysis included the potential economic impacts on agriculture, employment, and property value.
Read the economic impact reports:
Following the site characterisation and cultural heritage studies, we identified the need for a larger buffer zone at each site.
We sought feedback and advice from the communities involved in the site selection process on key aspects, including:
We’ve held many information sessions for members of nearby communities, including presentations from:
Our consultative committees and economic working groups acted as conduits between the department and local communities.
We sought community sentiment through public submissions throughout the site selection process.
In the lead up to identifying the preferred site, we also facilitated:
See all the printed materials we provided to communities during the site selection process.
ARWA’s team continues to engage with nominated communities.
Last updated: 29 July 2021
Content ID: 64607