CEO appointed to lead the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency

The agency charged with delivering a facility to safely store Australia’s radioactive waste, currently spread over more than 100 locations, has its first Chief Executive Officer following a global recruitment search.

The Australian Government today announced that Mr Sam Usher will lead the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA) as its first CEO.

Mr Usher is a leader in the nuclear industry with almost three decades of experience, and comes to ARWA most recently from working on the decommissioning of the United Kingdom’s Dounreay facility.

As CEO of ARWA, Mr Usher will be responsible for:

  • The overall governance and performance of the agency, including establishing a strong safety and security culture, and setting the organisation’s strategic direction; and
  • The siting, construction and operation of Australian’s first National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) as we move to site acquisition and the delivery and regulatory phases

The NRWMF will be for disposal of Australia’s legacy and future stream of low-level radioactive waste, and also the temporary storage of our intermediate-level waste.

The vast majority of Australia’s radioactive waste stream is associated with the production of nuclear medicine production that all Australians on average will need in their lifetime.

Minister for Resources and Water, Hon Keith Pitt, said Mr Usher had the right credentials and experience to lead ARWA.

“When we started this search, we wanted someone with a wealth of experience to lead a new agency and establish a strong safety and security culture, and Mr Usher is that person,” Mr Pitt said.

“I look forward to working with him on the ongoing process to site the facility, and responsibly manage our radioactive waste which is largely driven from nuclear medicine production.

“I am confident that Mr Usher is the right person to continue to build trust in the new agency and oversee the process to site Australia’s NRWMF.”

Mr Usher said he was looking forward to leading Australia’s dedicated radioactive waste agency.

“It is a great privilege to be leading ARWA and I look forward to working with all stakeholders involved in the radioactive waste lifecycle,” Mr Usher said.

“Australia’s radioactive waste is driven by nuclear medicine production, and important industrial and environmental applications that benefit all Australians.

“It’s now estimated every Australian will benefit from nuclear medicine in their lifetime, through diagnosis or treatment of serious illnesses, including many cancers.

“We have a responsibility to safely manage the radioactive waste by-products of the processes which enable these benefits, and the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency will do just that.”

Mr Usher will commence his new role in January 2022 and will be based in Adelaide.

Mr Usher biography 
Sam Usher graduated with a Masters in Chemical Engineering from the University of Nottingham in 1993, and since then has undertaken a wide range of Executive and non-Executive roles across nuclear businesses in both public and private sector, in the UK and internationally. He has a deep understanding of the technical, operational, regulatory and stakeholder challenges associated with safely managing radioactive waste, and has a record of developing, and then implementing effective radioactive waste business strategies and programmes.

Media contact: Minister Pitt's office 02 6277 7180