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Radioactive Waste and the Lynas project

Scott Ludlam 31 Oct 2012

(Question No. 2217)

Senator Ludlam asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 19 September 2012:

With reference to the announcement by the Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia that Lynas Corporation has submitted an application to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), to import radioactive waste from Malaysia:
(1) What is the status of the application.
(2) On what date was the application received.
(3) On what grounds and under what legislative provisions can nuclear waste be imported to Australia.
(4) If ARPANSA grants approval for the importation of radioactive waste from Malaysia, will Western Australia be forced to accept that waste; if so, on what grounds.

Senator Ludwig: The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The application from Lynas Corporation to import radioactive waste from Malaysia is currently under consideration by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). ARPANSA requested more information from Lynas Corporation on 2 April 2012. Lynas Corporation has yet to respond and the application cannot progress until the requested information is received.
(2) The application was received on 30 March 2012.
(3) Regulation 4R of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the Regulations) prohibits the importation into Australia of a radioactive substance unless the Chief Executive Officer of ARPANSA (the CEO) or the Minister for Health gives permission in writing. Before issuing an import permit the CEO will satisfy himself that the State or Territory where the radioactive substance will be imported into will grant any required authorisation to the consignee to deal with the radioactive substance under that State or Territory's radiation protection legislation.
(4) The application that was received by ARPANSA is to import the material to South Australia. If the South Australian regulator refuses to grant any required authorisation to the consignee to deal with the material, or if the CEO finds the application deficient in any other aspect relevant to the CEO's regulatory powers, the CEO would not issue the import permit. The CEO will then, under subregulation 4R(3) of the Regulations, refer the application to the Minister for Health, who may, under subregulation 4R(4) grant, or refuse to grant, the permission.


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