Site selection process

The Government is committed to a voluntary site nomination process to find a site for the facility.

Only volunteered sites will be considered.

This is in line with the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012

Interested landholders are encouraged to contact the department to discuss nominating a site before making a formal submission.

The department is ready to work alongside landholders to engage with their community to understand the level of community support for a nomination being made.

On 29 April 2016, the former Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia announced that any new nominations brought forward by landholders may be considered in addition to the shortlisted site at Wallerberdina Station, near Hawker, in South Australia.

The Minister will consider any nominations made in accordance with the Act.

If the Minister decides to approve land nominated as a site, the procedural fairness requirements in section 10 of the Act will be followed. This includes notifying the intention to approve land nominated as a site and providing a period of at least 60 days for public comment prior to making a decision.

Nominations so far

Following a public call for nominations, 28 applications were received from interested landowners. These were evaluated using a framework to assess initial technical potential against a range of economic, environmental and other criteria. From this, the top six nominations, which were all deemed technically suitable to host the facility, were chosen to undergo a 120-day consultation process to assess the level of community support for continuing in the site selection process.

Based on the range of feedback received through the consultation period, a sufficient base of support to consider proceeding to the next phase of the site selection process was evident in four of the five communities.

Further information on the key findings can be found in the Phase 1 Summary Report (PDF 696KB, DOC 844KB)

At all stages of the project, agreement with the community on hosting the facility is essential. The Government has stated it will not impose a facility on an unwilling community, noting that no individual or group has an automatic right of veto.

The Government is committed under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 to a voluntary site nomination process for the facility. Only volunteered sites will be considered.

Read the SIte Selection Framework (PDF 1.6MB, DOC 855KB). 

Six shortlisted sites

On 13 November 2015, the former Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia announced six nominated sites had been assessed as suitable for further assessment and public consultation.

Each site nomination was selected after being subject to an objective and evidence based assessment against technical, economic, social and environmental factors.

These sites were located at:

Sallys Flat - New South Wales 2641 Hill End Road, Hill End

Hale - Northern Territory Lot 1933 Old South Road, Hale

Cortlinye - South Australia 2051 Buckleboo Hundred Line Road, Cortlinye

Pinkawillinie - South Australia 762 Peella Road, Pinkawillinie

Wallerberdina Station - South Australia, 377 Wallerberdina Road, Barndioota

Oman Ama - Queensland Cunningham Highway, Gore

Following the closure of the consultation period, the Minister took into account feedback received from communities when considering which sites to take forward to the technical assessment stage of the process. Five of these sites did not progress.

History

Policy for the management of radioactive waste in Australia is the responsibility of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Before the 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.

Muckaty Station

The volunteered site at Muckaty Station is no longer under consideration.

Earlier Legislation

Prior to enactment of the current legislation, the Australian Government led a number of processes to establish national facilities for radioactive waste in Australia.

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. The process was repealed and replaced in April 2012 by the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012.