The Australian Government has this week established the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA) to manage Australia’s radioactive waste in line with domestic and international regulations.
It will be responsible for delivering Australia’s National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) near Kimba, South Australia, as well as to facilitate communication between government, industry, stakeholders and local communities.
The Minerals Council of Australia says the establishment of the Agency is another positive step to support the development of a high-tech Australian nuclear industry, especially life-saving nuclear medicine.
It’s a lesser-known fact that currently, Australia’s radioactive waste is stored in more than 100 locations around the country. ARWA’s aim is to manage the development of a single, safe facility – NRWMF – to store Australia’s radioactive waste.
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Minerals Council CEO Tania Constable said Australia’s world-class medical research reactor at Lucas Heights produces vital nuclear medicines and procedures, which will be used by one in two Australians during their lifetime, and the new facility will play an important part in developing Australia’s nuclear technology expertise.
Further, she says Australia’s vast uranium resources and exports support zero emissions power generation abroad and nuclear medicine and research at home.
“Yet Australia’s current ban on nuclear energy and technologies prohibits the development of significant new advanced nuclear industries, particularly affordable zero emission 24/7 power supplies,” she said.
“In contrast, Canada, which has embraced nuclear technologies in addition to uranium mining, is a world leader with its nuclear sector employing around 60,000 Canadians in highly skilled, highly paid jobs.
“The new waste facility in South Australia along with the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency also shows that nuclear technologies can be safely managed and supported by informed local communities.”
This comes after the investigation of nuclear energy in Australia was labelled largely unfeasible for several reasons, namely that renewable energy sources such as wind and solar make better financial sense.