Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg is poised to release a shortlist of sites that could play host to a permanent nuclear waste storage facility in Australia.
The facility will store low and intermediate-level radioactive waste from Lucas Heights and Australian-produced waste that had been sent to France, the United States and Britain between 1996 and 2009, which is to be returned under an international agreement.
An interim facility has been constructed at Lucas Heights to hold waste being sent back to Australia. A general purpose cargo ship called the BBC Shanghai is currently en route to Port Kembla from the French port of Cherbourg carrying 25 tonnes of waste and is due to arrive at the end of the month. The waste aboard that ship will then be driven to the Lucas Heights facility.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull went further on Wednesday, suggesting that many Australians had a “perfectly reasonable” view that said “we have got the uranium, we mine it, why don’t we process it, turn it into the fuel rods, lease it to people overseas, when they are done, we bring them back and we have got stable, very stable geology in remote locations and a stable political environment”.
“That is a business that you could well imagine here.”