The federal government has called for voluntary nominations of sites for a national nuclear waste dump.
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says any landholder could nominate a site to store intermediate level radioactive waste and dispose of low-level waste.
Australia has 4248 cubic metres of low level and 656 cubic metres of intermediate level waste in temporary storage across more than 100 sites.
The waste has been generated by medical, research and industrial processes.
An independent advisory body will assess the nominated sites against a number of criteria.
These include community well-being, stable environment, environmental protection, health, safety and security and economic viability.
At the end of the assessment and public consultation the government will negotiate with the landholder of the selected site.
Site nominations close on May 5.
The South Australian government’s royal commission into the nuclear industry is looking at the prospects of nuclear waste facilities in that state.
Northern Territory chief minister Adam Giles has also shown an interest in putting forward a site.
But last year he said it would not be done without “full information and dialogue with Territorians”.
In June 2014 the Northern Land Council withdrew its nomination for a section of Muckaty Station, north of Tennant Creek, as the site for Australia’s first nuclear waste dump amid a legal dispute.
Further talks on alternative sites failed, triggering the new selection process.
Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney says the decision should not be rushed.
“We have time to get this issue right,” he said.
“The minister’s revised process is significantly better than the previous one, but we are still a long way short of where we should be.”
The first concerted effort to build a dump occurred under the Labor government in 1992, identifying a site near Woomera in SA.