About radioactive waste management in Australia
Policy for the management of radioactive waste in Australia is the responsibility of the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (RET). The authority for the department to establish a national radioactive waste management facility is provided by the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012.
Prior to enactment of the current legislation, the Australian Government led a number of processes to establish national facilities for the small volume of waste arising from medical, industrial and scientific use of radioactive materials in Australia.
National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012
The National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 came into effect in April 2012. The legislation repeals the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act 2005 and restores procedural fairness rights for establishing a national radioactive waste management facility.
Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act 2005—repealed 2012
Following the abandonment of the National Repository Project and the National Store Project, in 2004 the then Australian Government decided that it would construct co-located facilities on Commonwealth land for the management of low and intermediate level radioactive waste produced by Australian Government agencies. This process was repealed and replaced in April 2012 by the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012.
National Store Project—for intermediate level waste, abandoned 2004
In 2001 the then Australian Government announced that it would establish a purpose built facility for the storage of long-lived intermediate level radioactive waste produced by Australian Government agencies. The project was abandoned in July 2004.
National Repository Project—for low level waste, abandoned 2004
In 1992, with the full cooperation of all state and territory governments, the Australian Government initiated an Australia-wide survey to site a low level waste repository. The project was abandoned in July 2004.