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Advisory Note: Public health considerations for siting, construction and operation of a radioactive waste disposal facility

ARPANSA is engaging in public consultation on the draft Advisory Note: Public health and well-being considerations for siting, construction and operation of a radioactive waste disposal facility.

Consultation tabs

The Issue
Start/End Date: 
Monday 15 November 2021 - 09:00 to Wednesday 15 December 2021 - 17:00

What is the purpose of this Advisory Note?

This advisory note provides an explanation of health and well-being as referred to in RPS C-3: Code for Disposal Facilities for Solid Radioactive Waste (ARPANSA 2018). It is intended to provide guidance on ARPANSA’s expectations for consideration of community well-being throughout the siting, construction and operation of a radioactive waste disposal facility.

Once finalised, this advisory note will be published on ARPANSA’s website as supporting guidance to RPS C-3.

What is radioactive waste?

Radioactive waste is material with an activity content or concentration above a predefined level, for which no further use is foreseen. Disposal is the recognised end point for the management of radioactive waste under a hierarchy of waste controls; however, storage of some wastes for periods of tens of years is often a necessary precursor.

What is the exposure risk to the public and the environment?

Radioactive waste management includes the potential for people to be exposed to radiation during the operation and closure stages of a waste facility.  Therefore the operator must demonstrate that protection of people and the environment has been considered and that there will be minimal risk of any radiation exposure. In this regard, the operations and closure of waste facilities are regulated in the same way as any other radiation practice.

How is health defined in the Code for Disposal Facilities for Solid Radioactive Waste?

The Code references the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of health, where health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The state of health and well-being of an impacted community throughout all stages of a proposed Disposal Facility informs the process of optimisation and decision making. 

How can consideration of community health and wellbeing be demonstrated? 

In demonstrating radiation protection of the public, the proponent also needs to demonstrate the health and well-being of the impacted community related to all stages of the proposed Disposal Facility and directly related to radiation exposure. 
An ethical and inclusive approach to engagement with the community allows all concerned parties are given the opportunity to participate in discussions and deliberations and ensures that decision-making takes into account their knowledge as well as their concerns over how the facility may affect them.

A description and discussion of health and well-being considerations should be included in the safety case for the facility. This should include the ongoing and interactive process of optimisation of radiation protection and the consideration of societal factors.

Making a comment

Comments can be made by completing the web form below. 

All accepted comments will be published when the final version of the advisory note is published. You have the option to remain anonymous by selecting 'Remain Anonymous' in the web form below. Comments made on submissions by other parties will not be published. 

Submissions should:

  • clearly address the text of the draft advisory note and not focus on unrelated issues
  • outline what the key issues are and make suggestions for issues that can be addressed, we look to submissions for ideas to improve the draft advisory note
  • propose alternate text to improve the draft advisory note
  • be concise, relevant, clear and highlight your own perspective.

Your submission is not automatically accepted and published. ARPANSA may decide not to accept your submission if it does not address the draft advisory note directly.

Advisory note:

Comments template:


15 Nov 2021 - 09:00
15 Dec 2021 - 17:00
Days Remaining 0 of 30