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Appendix B1 - Matter-specific Standard for Protection of the Environment from Nuclear Actions

Recommended National Environmental Standards

Appendix B to the Final Report sets out in detail 4 recommended National Environmental Standards that were developed by the Review following consultation with science, Indigenous, environmental and business stakeholders and with input from technical experts.

The Australian Government is committed to maintaining high levels of radiation protection, and of nuclear safety and security in Australia and around the world. The EPBC Act protects the whole of the environment from impacts of nuclear actions.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) sets a consistent approach to radiation protection and safety in the Commonwealth, consistent with international best practice in radiation and nuclear regulation.



Environmental Outcome

The community and the environment are protected from the harmful effects of radiation and radioactive material that may result from nuclear actions.

National Standard

The protection of the community and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation and radioactive material is supported by actions, decisions, plans and policies that:

  1. Are consistent with the ARPANSA national codes for radiation protection, and provide an evidence-based approach to assessment, mitigation and management of radiation risks, including that:
    1. both human health and environmental outcomes are considered, and decisions made with knowledge and understanding of radiation risks,
    2. radiological impact on biological diversity, the conservation of species and the natural health of ecosystems is demonstrated and provides assurance that radiation protection objectives are met, and
    3. the best level of radiation protection under the prevailing circumstances through an ongoing, iterative process is demonstrated and implemented.
  2. Ensure that mining and mineral processing actions that meet or exceed the radioactivity level prescribed in EPBC Act regulations provide and implement best practice radiation protection plans, arrangements and targets, consistent with ARPANSA national codes including:
    1. progressive approach to radiation protection for the life cycle of an operation including siting, construction, operation, rehabilitation, closure and post closure and include iterative evaluations at each stage,
    2. final landform and land use that reflects the lowest reasonably achievable residual impact on the community and environment from residual risks of radiation and radioactive material, including management of voids and out-of-pit waste rock dumps and tailings storage facilities, and
    3. independent assessment of the closure cost estimate of the mine and facilities, accompanied by assurance of the availability of the necessary resources (financial and otherwise) to achieve closure.

Further Information

ARPANSA Regulatory Publications, including fundamental principles for radiation protection and safety, codes referenced by legislation, regulations or conditions of licence and guides that provide recommendations on how to comply.

This Standard should be applied in conjunction with the Overarching MNES Standard, relevant matter-specific Standards and other National Environmental Standards.


ARPANSA National codes: the regulatory codes and standards as set and updated from time to time by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

Nuclear actions: defined under section 22 of the EPBC Act.

Additional information

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    Publish date

    October 2020