|Upgrade and extension of radioactive waste management facilities at Lucas Heights House of Representatives, Parliament of Australia, 5 Feb 16|
|The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works today announced that it is conducting an inquiry into the upgrade and extension of radioactive waste management facilities for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).
ANSTO’s submission notes that current storage facilities will reach full capacity early in 2017 and although locations for a new facility are being considered, the new facility is not expected to be operational until 2020.
The inquiry will examine existing low and intermediate-level solid waste facilities at Lucas Heights that require extension and upgrade, with extension works for the low-level solid waste facilities expected to be completed by April 2017, and works for the intermediate-level facilities to be completed by June 2018.
In addition to upgrading and extending storage capacity, works will include upgrading ventilation and security systems, electrical infrastructure and surrounding roads.The estimated cost of the project is $22.3 million and it is anticipated that the Committee will conduct public and in-camera hearings for the inquiry in the near future.
Further information on the public hearing will be available soon on theCommittee’s website.
Submissions to the inquiry close on 10 March 2016.
NB the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works is neither involved in the tendering process nor the awarding of contracts. Enquiries on those matters should be addressed to ANSTO.
For media comment – Office of Senator Dean Smith (Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works) (08) 9481 0349 Committee Secretariat (02) 6277 4636Full details on the project are available on the Committee’s website.
Hill End nuclear waste dump ruled out due to community opposition, ABC News 29 Jan 16 By Nick Dole
A nuclear waste facility will not be built at Hill End in central-west New South Wales because community opposition to the proposal is so strong, the Federal Government has said.
The site at Hill End, north of Bathurst, was one of six being considered for a nuclear waste facility.
It was offered up by a local landowner, who could be paid four times the land’s market value.
At a packed public meeting on Saturday, dozens of residents spoke against the concept, telling representatives from the Federal Government that Hill End was a “totally inappropriate” location.
Many residents expressed concerns about potential water contamination or the risk of transporting radioactive material. Local resident Kerri Burns said Hill End should be removed from the selection process immediately.
“We’ve been polite, but if this goes further, the gloves are off,” she said.
The audience was told Hill End would remain on the shortlist for now, due to a legislated consultation process.
But the Member for Calare, John Cobb, said he had already communicated the community’s view to Minister Josh Frydenberg.
“I said, ‘We are not going to be building this at Hill End’ and he looked at me and I said ‘The community is against it and they are not going to change their mind’,” Mr Cobb said……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-30/hill-end-to-be-spared-nuclear-waste-dump/7127092
Wind company seeking Aboriginal stakeholders for possible solar farm development http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-13/wind-company-seeking-aboriginal-stakeholders-for-possible-solar/7086478 By Kerrin Thomas The company behind the White Rock Wind Farm, to be located in northern New South Wales, is considering developing a solar farm nearby and is seeking Aboriginal stakeholders to assist in preparing a heritage assessment.
Construction of Stage 1 of the White Rock Wind Farm is expected to start soon, at the site 24kms west of Glen Innes.
70 wind turbines will be constructed initially, expected to produce enough energy to power 75,000 homes a year.
The proponent, Goldwind Australia, has now engaged a company to conduct an assessment of the Aboriginal heritage impacts of a potential solar farm adjacent to the wind farm site.
The company is proposing a 20 to 25 MW facility that would occupy an area of about 50 hectares, with power to be exported through the wind farm’s substation.
NGH Environmental has been engaged to seek information from Aboriginal Stakeholders with cultural knowledge of the Maybole/Spring Mountain area. The purpose of the consultation with Aboriginal people is to assist the proponent in the preparation of the Aboriginal heritage assessment.
Those involved in the process will be required to assist in the determination of the cultural significance of any Aboriginal objects or places within the subject area.
Registrations close later this month.
Renewable energy calculator launched for farmers http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/renewable-energy-calculator-launched-for-farmers/2896307/ 12th Jan 2016 NSW Farmers has developed and launched an online calculator to help households and small farm businesses to test the financial viability of investing in solar PV and batteries.
The online calculator was launched to coincide with Tesla’s announcement that Australia would be the first market to receive its PowerWall battery which, along with other battery products, is expected to significantly accelerate the penetration of renewable energy across Australia.
NSW Farmers energy expert Gerry Flores cautioned households and small to medium farm businesses to adopt a conservative approach to this new technology.
“It’s important for farm business owners to consider whether energy storage is right for them before they make any substantial investments,” he said.
Mr Flores, a photovoltaics engineer who developed the calculator, said it could estimate potential savings and the financial case for several scenarios in NSW.
To help households and farm businesses better understand and utilise the calculator, NSW Farmers will hold a webinar on Friday January 22 at 10:30am.
For further information or to register click here.
For more information about the calculator click here.
proposed for Wumbulgul http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-07/wumbulgul-solar/7072604 A $90m solar farm is proposed near Leeton in the New South Wales Riverina, to help power a new rail freight hub in the region. Photon Energy has been in discussions with Leeton Shire Council since 2012 about a solar development.
It’s now asked the state government to consider a proposal for a 100 megawatt plant, with the ability to double that output, next to the recently opened Western Riverina Intermodal Freight Terminal at Wumbulgul.
Documentation lodged with the Planning Department states the solar farm would be on a 140 hectare site on the Griffith Road and would take around a year to build.
Photon estimates the farm would have a life of around 30 years, after which infrastructure could be updated or the site rehabilitated.
The application says feedback from initial discussions in August is positive and a community consultation plan will be developed.
The Department is now preparing its requirements for the solar project.
“what we do is we buy from the national energy market and sell to you; it comes through the grid. “In order for you to have renewable energy, we enter into agreements to purchase green power from accredited renewable energy providers, so that whenever we are selling you energy we are offsetting that with green energy certificates.”
Ms Crook said Enova also hoped to increasingly buy from local renewable energy generators.
“What we hope to be doing is facilitating the development of community-scale renewable generation,”
Australia’s first community-owned renewable energy retailer Enova to open its doors in Byron Bay http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-05/australia-first-community-owned-energy-retailer-enova/7068420 ABC North Coast, 5 Jan 16 By Samantha Turnbull Australia’s first community-owned renewable energy retailer, Enova, is about to open its doors in northern New South Wales after raising $3.8 million from 1,090 investors.
Seventy-five per cent of the voting shares are held on the NSW north coast, but chair Alison Crook said the company had attracted investors from every state and territory in Australia. Continue reading
How Broken Hill became a solar power trailblazer, SMH December 22, 2015 James Paton Broken Hill spawned the world’s largest mining company and generated more than $75 billion in wealth. Now as its minerals ebb, Australia’s longest-lived mining city is looking to tap a more abundant resource.
On the sun-baked edge of the outback city, 700 miles west of Sydney, a solar farm the size of London’s Hyde Park shimmers like an oasis – its panels sending enough electricity to the national grid to power 17,000 homes a year.
Combined with a sister plant, the AGL Energy and First Solar project is the largest of its type in the southern hemisphere. Clean energy advocates are counting on the 140-hectare development to make Broken Hill, which at one time boasted the world’s most successful silver mine, a trailblazer once again. Continue reading
“This sort of technology will put massive amounts of money into regional Australia if it takes off “.
“It could be very significant here in Australia but also, there are significant overseas opportunities for Vast where Australia could earn export dollars.”
Developer of $20 million Australian-first solar thermal pilot plant predicts sunny future under Turnbull ABC Central West By Melanie Pearce 23 Dec 15 After hours of steady rain, there is not a ray of sunshine in sight and the mud is thick on the ground at the $20 million Jemalong pilot solar thermal plant near Forbes in central west New South Wales.
But in a way, the fact it is overcast helps to explain the importance of this technology, which enables both capture and storage of energy from the sun, according to James Fisher, chief technology officer of Vast Solar.
The engineer, who formerly worked in the fossil fuel industry and said he never thought renewables could compete with coal, now has a much sunnier outlook on the subject.
Technology behind solar thermal power plant
The Australian company has developed what it hopes will be a low-cost, high-efficiency Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) generation technology.
The Jemalong pilot plant will be ready for commissioning in mid-January and is designed to prove the technology works. Continue reading
Calls for clarity over nuclear waste transportation plans http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-15/lithgow-councillor-concerned-about-nuclear-dump-proposal/7027780
The Federal Government is being urged to provide more details about the planned route for a proposed nuclear waste dump in the central west. The government is considering housing the waste at Sallys Flat near Bathurst and federal MP John Cobb has said regional roads would be upgraded to support heavy vehicle movements.
But Lithgow City Councillor Wayne McAndrew says it is highly likely the material will be transported through Lithgow to get to the site.
He said residents had raised concerns about the potential health impacts if a truck was involved in an accident.
“It’s not just a matter of the roads, it’s the icy conditions during winter coming down the Mount Victoria pass,” Councillor McAndrew said.
“That’s still a long way off from being resolved, the Victoria pass in relation to new roadworks, so it’s not just an issue of the roads it’s an issue of our long winter months and some of the dangers that poses for us.”
Sallys Flat near Hill End is one of the six sites shortlisted by the Federal Government.
Councillor McAndrew says there is little information about the planned route for transporting the waste.
End of Tony Abbott’s war on wind farms gives green light to Capital Region projects, Canberra Times, December 13, 2015 Clare Sibthorpe Canberra Times reporter Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to lift Tony Abbott’s controversial ban on government investment in wind power has been embraced by the Australian Capital Region farming community.
On Sunday, Fairfax Media revealed Environment Minister Greg Hunt has issued the Clean Energy Finance Corporation with new orders that negate the Abbott government’s June decree, which prohibited the $10 billion green bank from investing in new wind power projects.
The move gives the Clean Energy Finance Corporation the green light to fund many wind farms in the Southern Tablelands – one of Australia’s fastest growing wind investment regions – enabling them to progress from planning to construction.
Crookwell farmer and NSW regional organiser for the Australian Wind Alliance, Charlie Prell, said wind farms now able to access funding include Collector, Rye Park, Yass Valley, Bango, Rugby, Crookwell two and three, Capital two, and Boco two.
“All of these wind farms will contribute massively to the local economy, not only during construction, but over the life of the wind farms,” Mr Prell said.
“It’s giving farmers in these regions a passive income stream with making our operations more sustainable, financially and environmentally, and giving local businesses the opportunity to participate in construction activities.”
Under the new mandate, the corporation will be allowed to invest in any wind projects provided they involve “emerging and innovative” technology, although it does encourage it to “focus on offshore wind technologies”.
Mr Prell said the wind farms already operating in this area have contributed significantly to small business, particularly in Goulburn, Bungendore, Taralga and Crookwel……..http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/end-of-tony-abbotts-war-on-wind-farms-gives-green-light-to-capital-region-projects-20151213-glmer9.html
MP’s apology fails to pacify residents, Western Advocate By LOUISE EDDY Dec. 11, 2015 When members of the Hill End community gathered in the Royal Hall on Wednesday morning they wanted only one thing – for Member for Calare John Cobb to ask what he could do to help.
This was the third meeting the community has held to discuss Sallys Flat being short-listed for a national nuclear waste dump, and the first the federal member has been able to attend.
Community spokesperson Robyn Rayner said around 100 people attended the meeting, many of them new faces. Mr Cobb had earlier drawn the community’s anger when he dismissed their concerns about the safety of the proposed facility.
Ms Rayner said Mr Cobb apologised to the meeting for the way the matter had been handled, and for not being in contact with the community prior to Wednesday’s meeting.
“We appreciate the fact that he did turn up, but he treated us with utter contempt,” she said. “At no time did he say ‘What can I do to help you’,” she said…….
Yesterday Mr Cobb said he would help by conveying to the minister the fact that the community don’t want the waste dump.
However, despite assurances Sallys Flat won’t be further shortlisted if the community opposes the nuclear waste dump, Mr Cobb said the matter cannot end here and now. “They do want to finish this now, but the minister has set that consultation period because those who do want to consult privately with the minister should have that right,” Mr Cobb said. He said it was a good meeting.
“But I think people had made their minds up they didn’t want it,” he said.
“There are some communities in Australia who will think – here’s an opportunity. You are not often offered the chance to get $10 million. But it’s their choice. I don’t live there,” he said. Mr Cobb said he would be visiting the Lucas Heights reactor shortly to take a look.“It’s 14 years since I’ve been there. I’m sure there is no danger but I want to go back and reassure myself,” he said.
Ms Rayner said there were concerns Mr Cobb was not taking the matter seriously enough. http://www.westernadvocate.com.au/story/3552229/mps-apology-fails-to-pacify-residents/?cs=115#disqus_thread