Skip to main content
Project to repatriate Australian radioactive waste from France

Project to repatriate Australian radioactive waste from France

A spokesperson for ANSTO said:
“In May 2012, The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) announced plans to repatriate radioactive waste, which enabled generations of nuclear medicine production, from France.
“Spent nuclear fuel was sent to France for reprocessing over four shipments in the 1990s and early 2000s, and the waste arising from that reprocessing operation is required under French law to have left that country by the end of 2015. 
“Nuclear fuel reprocessing entails removal of materials such as uranium and plutonium, stabilisation of the remaining material in glass, and placing that material in a transport/storage container.
“As per the process on the record, the container will be placed on a nuclear-rated ship, brought to an Australian port, and trucked to Lucas Heights with an appropriate security operation.
“The ship was selected by AREVA, and after a full inspection carried out by both French maritime safety authorities and by the French nuclear safety regulator on Wednesday 14 October (CET), the ship’s seaworthiness was confirmed and certified.
“Consistent with security requirements and practice established during nine previous export operations, ANSTO will not confirm the destination port, land route, or timing.
“The material will be retained at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights facility until the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility is sited, constructed and licensed.”
Media contact:  Philip McCall 0438 619 987
Links for more information:
Link to ANSTO website with detailed project information (note in particular the FAQs)
Link to Department of Industry and Science website with waste management information
Relevant press statements include:
Key facts confirmed 14 March 2015 
Budget release 13/05/2015 
Previous media coverage includes:
Front page story of The Leader on 3 May 2012
Story in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Financial Review on 13 March 2015