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Support for reprocessing nuclear fuel in France

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Support for reprocessing nuclear fuel in France

9 May, 2018

The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties today tabled a report supporting the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from Australia’s OPAL research reactor in France.

The OPAL reactor provides over 10,000 doses of nuclear medicine a week, as well as producing silicon used in high end electronic equipment and supporting research in materials and environmental sciences.

Committee Chair, the Hon Stuart Robert MP, said that spent fuel from the OPAL reactor needs to be reprocessed before it can go into long term storage.

“France offers safe and efficient reprocessing services, but a treaty needs to be in place before the work can be done,” Mr Robert said.

The spent fuel will be reprocessed and returned vitrified into glass blocks for long-term storage once a site for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility has been identified.

The report also contains the Committee’s views on PACER Plus, a trade agreement between Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Island countries.

PACER Plus will promote economic growth in the Pacific and reduce tariffs on trade from Australia to Pacific Island countries.

The Committee is keen to ensure that PACER Plus does not adversely impact Pacific Island Government services such as health care, and has recommended that the impact of PACER Plus be monitored.