Australian news, and some related international items

ANSTO’s problem of mounting radioactive wastes at Lucas Heights

text-wise-owlANSTO staves off nuclear waste squeeze AFR  by Christopher Jay  28 May 15, The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation ANSTO) will use a slab of this year’s $193 million budget allocation to extend and retrofit two existing nuclear waste storage facilities, to stave off a critical shortage of storage space which will otherwise materialise by 2017.Another $26.8 million over four years has been allocated to pack, ship and return Australian high level waste being reprocessed in the UK Sellafield plant no earlier than mid-2019. EPA

The agency says $22.3 million over four years will provide on-the-spot expansion of storage to offset Australia’s longstanding dithering on works to establish safe, long-term centrally-controlled remote area waste storage facilities for low, medium and high level waste –  well away from the towns and cities where it is currently piling up.

At present the federal government is trying to set up yet another tender process to work towards a new, remote facility, this time seeking to induce voluntary offers of possible sites by landowners. If it manages to pull this off, ANSTO says its newly expanded and refurbished Sydney-area facilities will then be used for characterisation and packaging of different types of waste for despatch in due course to the remote-area long-term installation.

In contrast to some other infrastructure interests, ANSTO is quietly celebrating getting its key priorities satisfactorily catered for in the budget. It operates at three campuses, the southern Sydney suburb of Lucas Heights, a medical cyclotron in Camperdown in inner Sydney and the Australian Synchrotron at Clayton, Melbourne.

 The Australian Synchrotron, which was lifted off an expectant Queensland state government under then premier Peter Beattie by a fast-moving premier Steve Bracks for Victoria some years ago, is now one of Australia’s most significant high-tech pieces of science infrastructure.

This year’s federal budget ANSTO allocation includes $20.5 million for operations at the Synchrotron against the backdrop of a strategic review that will pave a long-term, coordinated funding path for science infrastructure across the country.

“The Synchrotron demonstrates some of the very best in applied science – it is a facility available to researchers so they can improve our lives,” said an ANSTO spokesperson.

“Its outputs include devising higher-yield crops, new medicines, better manufacturing methods and improvements for the minerals industry, and this funding ensures this important work will continue.

  “This is landmark national infrastructure that supports more than 4000 researcher visits and more than 900 experiments from across Australian industry and academia each year.”………

 another $26.8 million over four years has been allocated to pack, ship and return Australian high level waste being reprocessed in the UK no earlier than mid-2019.

“This funding will get planning underway to repatriate waste currently being stored at the Sellafield plant in the UK, after Australia sent spent fuel to the UK for treatment. Sellafield is expected to cease exports of customers’ waste in the next decade,” said the ANSTO spokesperson.

 “The intention is the UK waste would be sent directly to the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, but if it is not established by then, ANSTO has the expertise, skills and, subject to regulatory approval, capacity to store this container alongside the one coming from France this financial year.

May 30, 2015 - Posted by | New South Wales, wastes

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: