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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.

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

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

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.

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. Submissions will be one of the factors the Minister may take into account in understanding community sentiment for the facility.

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 contact details and whether you wish to have the submission made public.
  • All submissions will be logged, assigned a reference number and made public where permission is provided. Content may be redacted where it is defamatory, abusive or breaches privacy obligations.
  • Quantitative, non-identifiable data will be collected and may be published.

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

Historical webpages and documents about the NRWMF can be found on the National Library of Australia’s web archive. We’re aware there are discrepancies with data capture of some documents in the archive. If you’re having difficulty accessing any documents, please contact us.

Last updated: 17 June 2019

Content ID: 47013