Australia and the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Royal Commission’s conclusions create middle-ground in the nuclear waste discourse (9 May 2016)

The report of the South Australia Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission has fundamentally changed the nature of the global nuclear waste discourse.



Australia's uranium has been mined since 1954, and three mines are currently operating. Australia's known uranium resources are the world's largest - 29% of the world total. It is the world's third-ranking producer, behind Kazakhstan and Canada.


Radioactive waste repository & store for Australia

Australia has a relatively small amount of low-level radioactive waste and rather less volume of intermediate-level waste (ILW). A national repository for both categories of the Commonwealth's wastes is planned.


Australia's Uranium Mines

There are three operating uranium mines in Australia: Ranger in Northern Territory, Olympic Dam in South Australia, and Beverley with Four Mile in South Australia. Four Mile has final processing through the Beverley plant.

Australia's Electricity

Australia's Electricity (appendix to: Australia's Uranium, and nuclear power prospects). Australia is heavily dependent on coal for electricity, more so than any other developed country except Denmark and Greece. About 80% is derived from coal.

Australian Research Reactors

Australian Research Reactors, Australia has a new state of the art research reactor – OPAL, which commenced operation in 2006. Australia was one of the first countries to build a civil research reactor, in 1958. HIFAR produced most of Australia’s radioisotopes for medicine and industry from 1958 to 2007.

International Nuclear Waste Disposal Concepts

There have been several proposal for regional and international repositories for disposal of high-level nuclear wastes and several projects are being investigated.

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Overview

The nuclear fuel cycle is the series of industrial processes which involve the production of electricity from uranium in nuclear power reactors. Uranium is a relatively common element that is found throughout the world.