Agreement That Involves Transfer of Radioactive Waste to ARPANSA's building in Yallambie
From: Sun Shine
Dear Department of Health,
I seek access under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 to information regarding the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the University of Melbourne and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). The MOU is an agreement that involves ARPANSA funding for a project at the university, transfer and transport of radioactive waste from the university to ARPANSA, and indefinite storage of drums of the aforementioned radioactive waste at ARPANSA's building in Yallambie. I request that a copy of the MOU document, including any attachments, be made available.
Department of Health
I refer to your email below of 1 May 2018 to the Department of Health, seeking access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).
Your request has been transferred to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) under section 16 of the FOI Act, as the subject matter of the documents you are seeking is more closely connected with the functions of that agency.
ARPANSA will be in contact with you in the near future about the processing of your request. You can contact ARPANSA via email at [email address] should you have any enquiries about your request.
Legal Advice & Legislation Branch
Legal & Assurance Division
Australian Government Department of Health
T: (02) 6289 1666 | E: [Health request email]
PO Box 9848, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
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From: Sun Shine
Dear Health FOI,
I'm providing an update. The requested document, an MOU, is an agreement that involves ARPANSA funding for a project at the University of Melbourne, transfer of radioactive waste from the university to ARPANSA, and indefinite storage of approximately 150 drums of radioactive waste at ARPANSA's building in Yallambie. The large volume of radioactive waste has now been relocated to Yallambie.
The details of the MOU are in the public interest. About half a million dollars have been transferred from ARPANSA, and an additional payment is scheduled for the future. The Yallambie building is not designed as a radioactive waste store. The CEO of ARPANSA is both regulator and licence holder in this case; as such, the MOU appears to be his approval of his own request to store radioactive material in Yallambie. The waste now in Yallambie may ultimately be headed for a national facility, approval of which must be given by the very same ARPANSA CEO. This will not promote a sense of independent regulation.
The CEO of ARPANSA refused to provide the requested MOU. My request is now being reviewed by the OAIC and a decision is expected soon.