The national radioactive waste facility

22 Aug 2006

In 2005 the federal government decided to establish a National Radioactive Waste Facility in the Northern Territory and in late 2005 legislation to facilitate this process passed into law. In so doing, the government sets aside an existing consensus-based process, established with states and territories, to create a central facility writes Brian Lloyd. The government argues that the facility, which will store radioactive waste, is necessary to maintain a continuing domestic nuclear reactor capacity to produce medical radioisotopes in Australia. It also suggests that refusals by states and territories to host radioactive waste, which have frustrated the process of establishing a facility thus far, threaten Australia’s ability to service its own requirements for nuclear medicine. Other views, however, question these arguments, and suggest that the facility, as now planned, may not offer the benefits claimed for it under original proposals. On consideration, it becomes clear that these are matters which hold wider implications about the level of Australia’s nuclear involvement in the future.

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