About Australia’s involvement with international treaties for radiation safety
Australia is an active participant in many international organisations and committees which have been set up to consider the safe use and management of nuclear and radioactive materials.
These organisations draft standards, regulations, and codes of practice, and treaties and conventions governing the safe use and management of nuclear and radioactive materials.
Australia is a member of the following organisations:
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) serves as the world's central inter-governmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, including the management of radioactive waste. It was established under the United Nations in 1957, but operates as an autonomous organisation. As at April 2012, it has one hundred and fifty-four Member States.
- Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)
The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is a specialised agency of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD is an inter-governmental organisation of industrialised nations.
- International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP)
The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) is an independent advisory body which provides recommendations that form the basis of the international system of radiological protection. It was founded in 1928. Australian scientists have served and continue to serve on ICRP committees, and Australia follows ICRP standards.
International conventions and treaties
Australia is a party to a number of significant international conventions and treaties:
- Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management
The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management promotes the safe and environmentally sound management of spent fuel and radioactive waste, covering such issues as storage, transboundary movement, treatment, and disposal of these materials. Australia ratified the treaty on 5 August 2003. The treaty entered into force for Australia on 3 November 2003.
- Convention to Ban the Importation into Forum Island Countries of Hazardous and Radioactive Waste and to Control the Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Waste within the South Pacific Region (the Waigani Convention)
The Waigani Convention bans the export of hazardous and radioactive waste to all Pacific Island developing countries which are members of the South Pacific Forum. It entered into force on 21 October 2001.
- Convention for the Protection of Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region (SPREP Convention)
The SPREP Convention prohibits the dumping of waste, including radioactive waste, at sea. It entered into force on 22 August 1990
- International Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (London Dumping Convention)
The London Dumping Convention prevents the dumping of waste, including radioactive waste, at sea. It entered into force on 30 August 1975. Australia became a party to this convention on 20 September 1985.
- Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
The objectives of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) are to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to foster the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving general and complete disarmament. It establishes a safeguards system under the responsibility of the IAEA, which also plays a central role under the treaty in areas of technology transfer for peaceful purposes. The treaty entered into force on 5 March 1970. Australia became a party to it on 23 January 1973.
For more information about radiation safety, see Radiation safety.