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We are committed to a voluntary nomination process to find a site for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF).

Site selection process

Our site selection process is in line with the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012. This involves ongoing technical assessment and consultation to ensure the community is at the centre of the site selection process.

3 sites are currently in the technical assessment phase:

  • 1 site at Wallerberdina Station, near Hawker, South Australia
  • 2 sites near Kimba, South Australia

Independent regulators will need to provide approvals across all phases of the project, including siting, design, construction and operation.

Site selection factors

There are a number of factors that need to be considered before a site is selected.

Safety and regulations

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 licencing, 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 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.

Cultural heritage

We are committed to protecting and promoting Aboriginal culture and heritage. Independent experts, in consultation with Traditional Owners where possible, have undertaken Aboriginal heritage assessments to identify areas of cultural significance around each site.

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.

Environment

The environment has been assessed as part of the technical assessment phase for each nominated site:

The Department of the Environment and Energy will assess and approve the selected site in accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The facility is also designed to ensure environmental safety. We will undertake extensive environmental monitoring of the facility and report the findings.

Social and economic impact

The University of Queensland undertook a 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.

Social baseline reports:

Community consultation

We seek feedback and advice from the communities involved in the site selection process on key aspects including:

  • site design
  • environmental monitoring
  • jobs
  • business opportunities

We’ve held many information sessions for members of nearby communities, including:

  • nuclear production and waste management managers from the ANSTO
  • Aboriginal cultural heritage experts
  • site suitability experts from Geoscience Australia
  • radiation safety experts from Rio Tinto
  • experts on nuclear science and medicine

Our consultative committees in Kimba and Hawker act as conduits between the department and local communities. The Economic Working Groups aim to ensure the communities are best placed to maximise economic opportunities.

Public submissions

You can have your say on the proposed facility by making a submission. The Minister will take public submissions into account when determining support for the facility.

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.

Connect with us

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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

Last updated: 21 June 2019

Content ID: 64607