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Dr Timothy Payne

Tim Payne
Dr Timothy Payne
Principal Research Scientist, Project Leader

Role at ANSTO

Tim has been the leader of several ANSTO research projects in the broad areas of environmental contamination and radioactive waste management. He leads the Environmental Change Program within the Environment Theme. He is also currently the leader of the Lithosphere project within the Contaminant Science program of the Environment research theme. A large component of this project is research focussed on the Little Forest Legacy Site (LFLS), a site near Lucas Heights which was used for disposal of low-level radioactive wastes from 1960 to 1968. The project also undertakes research which applies isotopic and nuclear techniques to a range of problems involving environmental contamination.

Tim provides expert advice within ANSTO and for external organisations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Tim is currently a member of the International Steering Committee of the IAEA Environment (Environmental remediation network).  Within this Network, Tim is also the leader of the Legacy Trench Working Group and joint Asia-Pacific coordinator.

Tim has personal linkages with universities, research centres and institutions in Australia and overseas. The international co-authors of his papers and book chapters in the past few years include scientists from Germany, Switzerland, Japan, France, South Africa, Taiwan, and other countries.


Tim has undertaken extensive research into the chemistry of environmental contaminants, focussing on the mobility of radionuclides in the geosphere, but also including inorganic contaminants such as cadmium and arsenic. He has contributed to approximately 90 refereed scientific papers and numerous research reports and provides technical advice to national and international organisations. Tim has an extensive publication record and his papers have received over 3,000 citations on Google Scholar.

Tim’s expertise relates to radioactive waste and environmental contamination, including:

  • Performance of radioactive waste repositories
  • Radionuclides released into the environment from mining, nuclear operations, weapons testing, etc.
  • Issues related to a legacy radioactive waste site from the 1960s (Little Forest Legacy Site), including management and remediation options
  • Pollution by heavy metals and other types of non-radioactive contaminants
  • Applications of isotopic and nuclear techniques to solving environmental problems

Qualifications & Achievements

  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) - University of Sydney.
  • Master of Environmental Studies - Macquarie University.
  • PhD (Civil and Environmental Engineering) – University of NSW.
  • Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute
  • Chartered Chemist
  • International Editorial Adviser: Journal of Radiological Protection
  • Adjunct Professor, School of Environmental Science and Management, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia
  • Adjunct Associate Professor (UNSW), School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Professional Citation  Award – RACI Health Safety and Environment Section (2018)
  • Australian Academy of Science – Grant Recipient Under Scientific Visits to Taiwan Program
  • At the end of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) centenary celebrations in 2017, Tim featured among “25 chemists for 25 days of Christmas” – as an “Actual living scientist”. (see

Committees, Affiliations & memberships

  • International Editorial Adviser: Journal of Radiological Protection
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the World Council of Isotopes.
  • Member -  South Pacific Environmental Radioactivity Association
  • Member – Australian Nuclear Association
  • Member of Leadership team IAEA Environment project. This international project is concerned with the remediation of radioactively contaminated sites.
  • Asia-Pacific co-coordinator of IAEA Environment project
  • Co-ordinator of the IAEA Legacy Trench Working Group (on legacy radioactive waste disposal sites).
  • Member of the executive committee of the World Council of Isotopes (WCI) and chairperson of the committee on Isotopes in the Environment.
  • Invited / keynote papers at conferences including Nuclear and Radiochemistry Conference [India 2007], 5th International Conference on Isotopes [Brussels, 2005]), 7th and 8th International Conference on Isotopes [Moscow, 2011; Chicago, 2014], South Pacific Environmental Radioactivity Association Conference [Christchurch, 2008, Sydney 2012, Perth 2018], 8th International Contaminated Site Conference [Adelaide, 2019].
  • Member of the International Scientific Committee for the 6th – 10th International Conferences on Isotopes (ICI) [Korea 2008 / Moscow 2011 / Chicago 2014 / Doha 2017  / Kuala Lumpur 2020.
  • Member of the international scientific committee for the 10th – 17th “International Conferences on Chemistry and Migration Behaviour of Actinides and Fission Products in the Geosphere” (Avignon 2005 / Munich 2007 / TriCities 2009 / Beijing 2011 / Brighton 2013 / Santa Fe 2015 / Barcelona 2017 / Kyoto 2019).
  • Expert Adviser to the OECD / Nuclear Energy Agency on the behaviour of radionuclides in the vicinity of Radioactive Waste Repositories.