Rehabilitation of former nuclear test sites at Emu and Maralinga (Australia) 2013

Date published:
1 May 2003

A royal commission into British nuclear tests in Australia found that significant radiological hazards remained at many of the Maralinga test sites.

A rehabilitation project was successfully implemented between 1995 and 2000 to rehabilitate the former nuclear test sites at Maralinga. In 2009, the test site land was returned to traditional owners.

The Rehabilitation of Former Nuclear Test Sites at Emu and Maralinga (Australia) 2003 Report—also known as the MARTAC report—contains a brief history of Maralinga and a thorough report on the Maralinga Rehabilitation Project.

Chapters 1 to 3 covers the:

  • site’s characteristics, especially the aspects that influenced the nature of the contamination
  • safety of the remedial measures
  • permanency of solutions
  • parameters of an Aboriginal outstation lifestyle
  • extent and nature of the contamination at the start of the program.
  • UK testing program
  • financial, administrative and organisational arrangements that allowed the project to be implemented on behalf of the Commonwealth

Chapters 3 to 5 describe the:

  • work that was planned, how it was done, and its outcomes and occupational and public health consequences
  • comparisons between the corrective measures applied and the scope of work 
  • outcomes achieved of the rehabilitation program, focusing on quality assurance.

Chapter 6 includes:

  • discussion of land and environment management issues that the new owners and occupiers of the Maralinga Lands must address
  • experiences to be drawn from the project.