Australia is dealing with nuclear waste disposal issues on two separate fronts. In 2015, South Australia began to consider expanding a role in the nuclear fuel cycle as a way to leverage nuclear expertise, based on extensive uranium mining. A Royal Commission proposed consideration of the development of a deep geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste from international sources (since Australia has none). In 2016 Premier Jay Weatherill decided against an international repository after a community-based consultation process also opposed it. In the aftermath of the outcome of the state election, the possibility of developing a high-level waste repository may not be off the table.
At the same time, the Commonwealth of Australia has revived its search for a low-level radioactive waste disposal site and a storage facility for intermediate-level waste. Again, South Australia is in play, with three sites volunteering their land for further consideration. As a result, a siting process is ongoing in Kimba and Barndioota, South Australia.
There are a variety of issues that need to be considered for both an international high-level waste repository and a low- and intermediate-level waste facility. How do politics at the national, state, and local level affect the siting process? What will be the effect of state elections on the siting process? How is the Commonwealth managing the national siting process for low- and intermediate-level waste? What lessons can be applied from the experiences of other countries to the Australian context? These and other issues will be discussed during the presentation.
About Dr Macfarlane
Allison Macfarlane is the 2018 Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Public Policy, an award sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University and Flinders University. Her permanent appointment is as Professor of Public Policy and International Affairs at George Washington University. She is a former Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. While in Adelaide, Allison is researching public policy issues around nuclear waste storage in Australia generally and in South Australia in particular. Her interests include the use of the citizens’ jury in progressing government policy. Her lecture will touch on all of these subjects.