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Wednesday, 8 March 2000
Page: 14271


Mr McClelland asked the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, upon notice, on 15 February 2000:

(1) What is the level of radioactivity of the 308 spent fuel rods that were transported to Cherbourg, France from the Lucas Heights reactor.

(2) What will be the level of radioactivity of the waste remaining after reprocessing?

(3) Will the radioactive waste from the reprocessing operation be returned to Australia; if so, when?

(4) How will the radioactive waste be transported to Australia?

(5) Does Australia have the appropriate facilities to store or dispose of the radioactive waste material once it is returned to Australia; if so, where are those facilities located?


Mr Moore (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Industry, Science and Resources has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) 8494 Tbq (one Tbq is 1012 becquerels)

(2) Less than 8494 TBq

(3) Yes, by 2015

(4) In specially built and licensed, dual purpose transport/storage casks.

(5) The casks mentioned in (4) are designed to serve as the necessary storage facility. They will be stored at the national store for long-lived intermediate level waste which is to be constructed to manage Australia's existing holdings of radioactive waste in this category. The location for this store will be considered by the Government once a site has been chosen for a national waste repository for low level and short lived radioactive waste. It is expected that a preferred site for the national repository will be determined during 2000.