Background

Supervisor overlooking a medical scan

ANSTO has 60 years of experience in the safe management of its radioactive waste and used fuel.
  
For decades, Australians have benefited from the local production of nuclear medicine, and the environmental, technological and minerals research undertaken by scientists and engineers at ANSTO's Lucas Heights campus. 
 
These benefits include producing millions of doses of nuclear medicine, increased efficiency in our mining industry, irradiation of silicon used in everything from fast trains to hybrid cars, and a base of knowledge that secures Australia's position in international nuclear non-proliferation forums. Along with these benefits comes a responsibility for Australia to safely deal with the by-products. 
 
On average, one in every two Australians will benefit through the use of nuclear medicines, which help to diagnose and treat a range of illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and skeletal injuries.

Every day, these nuclear medicines are used by doctors in hospitals right across Australia. Around 85% of this medicine is created at ANSTO’s OPAL research reactor. The research reactor is only used for scientific, medical, and environmental purposes. It is not used for power production. 
 

Nuclear medicine waste cycle


The diagram below illustrates the process for managing waste from the production of ANSTO's nuclear medicine.
 
 
ANSTO nuclear medicine waste cycle