Radioactive waste advisory seeks feedback

radioactive waste

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has released a draft advisory note on the public health considerations for disposal of radioactive waste.

The advisory note informs how health and wellbeing will be considered as part of licence applications such as those relating to the government’s proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF).

Dr Rick Tinker, Director Assessment and Advice at ARPANSA said the advisory note establishes an inclusive approach to community engagement when assessing potential impacts on health and wellbeing.

“It is important that regulatory decisions take into account relevant social and psychosocial considerations in making an overall assessment of health impact,” Tinker said.

“We are seeking input from industry, regulators, government and members of the public to engage in the consultation process.”

The Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA) has announced an intention to establish a NRWMF in Napandee, near Kimba in South Australia. ARPANSA has not yet received any licence applications relating to the NRWMF.

The development of the advisory note forms part of ARPANSA’s preparations in anticipation of receiving a siting licence application in the future.

In 2020, then Resources Minister Matt Canavan said he was satisfied a facility at Napandee would safely and securely manage radioactive waste.

According to Canavan, 80 per cent of Australia’s radioactive waste stream is associated with the production of nuclear medicine which, on average, one in two Australians will need during their lifetime.

At the time, Canavan said it is Federal Government policy, and international best practice, for nuclear material to be consolidated into a purpose-built facility, where it can be safely managed.

Feedback on the content of the advisory note can be provided at the Have Your Say section of ARPANSA’s website.

Submissions close at 5pm( AEDT) on Wednesday 15 December.

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