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Tuesday, 23 August 1983
Page: 69

The following answers to questions were circulated:

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Mr Barry Jones —On 5 May 1983 (Hansard, page 258) Mr Kent asked me a question, without notice, arising from a report in the Dutch journal P.T. Aktueel concerning development of the SYNROC process.

The Minister for Resources and Energy has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

I have seen a translation in the article from the Dutch journal P.T. Aktueel on the development of SYNROC in Australia. The article is inaccurate and speculative. It is not based on fact. I have set out below the scope of Australian Government action on SYNROC.

No initiative has been taken by the Government to set up a collaborative program with the Netherlands Government and the article does not in fact suggest that it has.

The basis for the figure of 4m guilders is not clear. An amount of $1.009m ( about 2.5m guilders) was provided in the 1982-83 Budget for the construction of a small pilot plant at the AAEC's Research Establishment at Lucas Heights. This plant will be used to demonstrate all steps in the production of full scale SYNROC-filled cannisters and to commence the related testing procedures. In addition, a total of $1.037m has been committed to SYNROC research and development under the National Energy Research, Development and Demonstration ( NERD and D) Program since its inception in 1978.

There is no substance to references in the article to possible reprocessing and nuclear waste disposal within Australia. The Government does however support the development of safe long-term nuclear waste disposal technology for application to existing waste problems, and has given medium priority to nuclear waste management in the Guidelines and Priorities for Grants under the NERD and D Program. By way of comparison, total funds committed to energy research and development in the period 1978-79 to 1982-83 under the NERD and D Program have amounted to $96.1m of which $8.9m was for solar energy.

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