Managing waste at ANSTO 


ANSTO has safely managed its radioactive waste for 60 years. Waste is managed in accordance with national and international standards.
 


ANSTO is regulated by an independent nuclear safety regulator, ARPANSA. Australia is a member of the IAEA, which sets international standards for safely managing radioactive waste.
 

Waste cannister carousel 
 
What sort of waste is stored at ANSTO?
 
ANSTO stores low-level waste and a small amount of intermediate-level waste. ANSTO currently holds and manages approximately 447 m3 of intermediate-level waste and 1,949 m3 of low-level waste.
 
What about used or spent fuel?
 
Used or spent fuel from the OPAL Reactor is not categorised as waste in Australia. It is stored at ANSTO until it is ready for shipment overseas for permanent storage, or for reprocessing to remove uranium and plutonium for re-use in nuclear programs located in other countries.

Used or spent fuel from ANSTO's previous reactors has been shipped overseas for permanent storage in the USA and for reprocessing in France and the United Kingdom. Waste produced from the reprocessing of the used fuel sent to France was returned to Australia as intermediate-level waste in 2015.
 
The reprocessed waste will eventually be stored in a national radioactive waste management facility following a site selection process by the Federal Government.
 
Does ANSTO manage all the radioactive waste in Australia?
 
No. Radioactive waste is managed at around 100 locations around Australia, including hospitals, industrial sites, mines and at ANSTO. In total ANSTO only manages about 45% of the low level radioactive waste in Australia. 
 
All radioactive waste in Australia is managed in accordance with national and international standards. The management of waste generated by Commonwealth bodies, including ANSTO, is regulated by an independent safety regulator ARPANSA.
 
State and local Governments, private companies and individuals that hold radioactive waste are regulated by the local radiation protection regulator (usually an agency responsible for environmental protection or health) in each state or territory.
 
More information about the management of radioactive waste in Australia can be found here.
 

Nuclear medicine waste cycle


The below diagram provides a simplified flowchart of the waste products resulting from the production of nuclear medicine at ANSTO.
 
 
ANSTO nuclear medicine waste cycle