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Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Intermediate Level Solid Waste Storage Facility Lucas Heights, NSW

BERGHOFER, Ms Paula, General Manager, Waste Management Services, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation [by audio link]

KELLEHER, Ms Catherine, Acting Senior Manager, Government and International Affairs, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation [by audio link]

LYRAS, Mr Con, Chief Engineer, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation [by audio link]

NAIDOO-AMEGLIO, Mrs Pamela, Group Executive, Nuclear Operations and Nuclear Medicine, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation [by audio link]

CHAIR: I again declare open this public hearing of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works into the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation intermediate-level solid waste storage facility at Lucas Heights. I now welcome representatives from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. Is there anything you would like to add about the capacity in which you appear today?

Mr Lyras : I am the Group Executive, Capital Programs, and the Chief Engineer at ANSTO.

CHAIR: Although the committee does not require you to give evidence under oath, I should advise you that these hearings are a formal proceeding of the parliament. Consequently, they warrant the same respect as proceedings of the parliament itself. The giving of false or misleading evidence is a serious matter and may be regarded as a contempt of parliament. Mr Lyras, would you care to make some introductory remarks before we proceed to questions?

Mr Lyras : Yes, thank you, Chair. On behalf of ANSTO, I wish to thank the committee members for their participation in the virtual tour this morning, even though it was virtual. When the COVID-pandemic-induced lockdown restrictions ease, we would welcome the opportunity to host you at our Lucas Heights campus so that you can see firsthand what's proposed, as well as at our other facilities, including the OPAL multipurpose reactor and nuclear medicine facilities, but also for you to have the opportunity to meet some of our highly skilled and dedicated scientific, engineering and manufacturing workforce. We know that you will enjoy interacting with and meeting some of these people.

Australia's sovereign nuclear medicine production capability, which is maintained by ANSTO, has been serving Australians since the seventies. We manufacture a range of radiopharmaceutical products, which are used in the diagnosis and the treatment of disease, including a range of cancers, as well as in medical research and clinical trials. In fact, the ANSTO radioisotopes are used, on average, in 12,000 nuclear medicine procedures for Australian patients each week. A by-product of the manufacturing and production process for nuclear medicine is radioactive waste, and ANSTO is responsible for the safe interim storage and predisposal management of these wastes at our Lucas Heights campus, until such time as the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, which is being established by the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency, ARWA, is operational.

The waste stream that is subject to our discussions today is intermediate-level solid radioactive waste. In the 2021-22 budget, the government provided $59.8 million over four years for the construction of a new purpose-built facility to temporarily store intermediate-level solid radioactive waste at Lucas Heights. Now, our existing temporary storage capacity for certain types of waste within the broader solid-waste stream is forecast to be exhausted by 2027, as was discussed earlier today. The new facility would provide additional storage for at least 10 years, thereby bridging the expected gap between the expiration of our existing storage capacity and the waste being able to be conditioned and transferred to the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility for longer-term storage before ultimate disposal to a separate facility longer term.

The project before the committee is of great significance to us at ANSTO for ongoing capacity to continue to produce nuclear medicine by ensuring we can continue to safely manage its by-products. I note that this is a regulatory requirement as well. I want to thank you for your engagement, and we look forward to your questions and the conversation that follows. Thank you, Chair.

CHAIR: Thank you very much for those opening remarks, and thank you also for the virtual tour this morning. I know the committee were very keen to visit Lucas Heights in person, but unfortunately in the current circumstances that's not possible. We would very much like to take the opportunity in the future if it arises. I'm not sure whether you were listening in to the hearings that we held prelunch, but there seemed to be considerable amount of concern over the potential for an alternative intermediate waste site to be developed, in which case the current proposal may not be sufficient to store waste ongoing. When you refer to it as a temporary site, do you mean that the facility that you're proposing to build can only store material for a certain period of time before that material starts to deteriorate or the storage starts to deteriorate, or do you simply mean that the intention is to store the material there until the alternative site becomes available or move it on?

Mr Lyras : The idea is that we store until the appropriate site becomes available. As with any of these facilities, they do have a limited life. So we would classify them as an interim storage; they're not a long-term storage option. They do have a limited life, but they also have a limited capacity. Within 10 years we estimate this facility will also be to capacity.

CHAIR: Putting the capacity aside for a moment, is there any additional specification that you could add in to the build that would make these storage life of the radioactive material longer, or is it simply that the way these things are built that they don't last forever? We all know that. What I'm getting at is if, for some reason or other, the intermediate storage site at Kimba didn't go ahead, do you then turn around after 10 years and say, 'We need to replace this facility because it wasn't built initially to last 50 years,' or 100 years?

Mr Lyras : Certainly not within 10 years. They do have a life expectancy of significantly more than that—40-plus years. The issue for us is that the capacity of this current proposal will be full and would require additional facilities.

CHAIR: Do you have space on the current site to expand if that becomes the case?

Mr Lyras : The answer is yes, if that becomes the case. We do have capacity on site.

CHAIR: So you're extending your capacity now for 10 years and if required then obviously some time in the next 10 years you will either have an intermediate waste site somewhere else in Australia or need to build another facility, possibly for 10 or 20 years. What I'm getting at is the suggestion from some of the witnesses has been that you should be building a bigger site or you should be planning for there to be no other alternative. My view is that it's prudent to do 10 years and see how things develop. Is that the way ANSTO would look at it?

Mr Lyras : That is the approach we've taken, yes.

CHAIR: Thank you very much. I've got plenty of other questions which I'll come back to, but I'll throw to the deputy chair.

Mr ZAPPIA: Thank you, Rick. Like you, I've got several questions. I'll start off with a couple, and then we'll see if time permits to get them all in. In response to the question that's just been asked by the chair, can I get something clear: is the 40 or 50 years that you refer to as being available at Lucas Heights based on capacity, or is it based on the waste material having to remain there and be stored suitably for the long term? In other words is the Lucas Heights waste all considered to be in temporary storage because the way it is stored is not the way it should be stored indefinitely, if it had to be? That's my first question.

Mr Lyras : You are correct; the facility is not designed for long-term storage. It's designed for intermediate storage, which is to do with the number of years I spoke about: between 40 and 50 years.

Mr ZAPPIA: In other words, that 40 or 50 years is based not on capacity constraints but rather on how long the material can remain there for.

Mr Lyras : Exactly.

Mr ZAPPIA: The earlier evidence from some of the other witnesses, and one in particular, referred to a planning report that I think was commissioned by ANSTO and which has not been publicly released. Can you advise whether that report has been publicly released, and if not when will it be? It was a 2018 report, I think.

Mr Lyras : I will need to rely on my colleagues. The 2018 report was the ARPANSA review—is it the one you are referring to?

Mr ZAPPIA: I don't know because we weren't given names of the report. It was a report that referred to some 85 recommendations with respect to safety matters, but there was also a planning report referred to by one of the other witnesses, who said that, to their knowledge, it has never been released.

Ms Kelleher : I believe both those reports have been produced by ARPANSA, but ANSTO is happy to double-check exactly what reports are being referred to and provide those on notice, if indeed they are our reports.

Mr ZAPPIA: I think that would be useful because there were some critical points made with respect to those reports about the future and long-term planning of Lucas Heights. If you could do that, I would appreciate it. My other question relates to the submission by one of the medical people, who told the committee that there is a trend towards the production of cyclotron as opposed to isotope medicine. I'm no expert and I don't understand what the technical differences are, but is it the case that the future lies in the production of cyclotrons, not isotopes?

Ms Kelleher : You're correct in that there are a number of organisations around the world looking at the possibility of producing Mo-99 or Tc-99 using a cyclotron. None of those technologies currently under development have yet proven capable of producing Mo-99 or Tc-99 at the scale, quality, reliability or cost that would be required for widespread clinical development. They have also not received regulatory approval. The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency has examined alternative technologies for the production of Mo-99 or direct Technetium-99, and has expressed concerns at the expansion, impact and practicalities of these technologies substituting for reactor based technologies. I'd be happy to provide a copy of that report to the committee if it would be useful.

CHAIR: That would be appreciated. I believe we took evidence from the Medical Association for the Prevention of War that this technology is being implemented in Canada.

Ms Kelleher : Canada has definitely explored the possibility of producing direct Tc-99 through cyclotrons. I would note that Canada has since made a decision to return to reactor based productions, specifically nuclear power reactor production. I'd be happy to provide the committee with more detail about that on notice.

CHAIR: That would be much appreciated.

Mr Lyras : It was also stated that ANSTO does not have experience in cyclotron technology. In fact, we've operated cyclotrons for a number of years, well before the OPAL reactor was commissioned, so we are very familiar with the operation and the limitations of cyclotrons.

Ms Kelleher : We've operated those cyclotrons to produce things other than Mo-99, which is the world's most commonly produced and utilised nuclear medicine.

Mr ZAPPIA: I have one other question. It's my understanding that this proposal is, in ANSTO's view, dependent on the Kimba facility proceeding and being available in a decade or so's time.

Ms Kelleher : I think it is important to note that ANSTO expects that the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility will be available within the time lines outlined by the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency, which has responsibility for establishment of that facility, and that is government policy.

Mr ZAPPIA: I realise that and I note that the response always refers to a national radioactive waste facility. My question is: is it dependent on the national radioactive waste facility being at Kimba? In other words, is this all premised on the expectation that Kimba will be up and running by then?

Mr Lyras : This is premised on the expectation that there will be a national waste facility by then—not necessarily at Kimba, but a facility available to take on this waste.

Mrs Naidoo-Ameglio : If I may, I can add that ANSTO is a keen advocate for the NRWMF because it provides a secure pathway for managing all of Australia's nuclear waste, not just ANSTO's. As there are other holders of waste, including the CSIRO and the Department of Defence, this facility would give not only ANSTO but the broader Australian community confidence that we are aligned to the international best practice of consolidating and having a centralised waste management repository.

Mr ZAPPIA: There's no argument with that. I think we're all wanting to see a national radioactive waste facility established somewhere. I get all that and I think we would all be in agreement with that proposition. There is a question, though, and I'll reverse the question. If the expectation is that Kimba is where it will go, then the question that arises is: if Kimba does not get off the ground, is the 10-year proposal that is before us the best option? In other words, whilst we all want a national radioactive facility, I'm trying to ascertain whether this facility is being built with a specific proposal in mind, because if it is just an open-ended proposition where we get another 10 years, but the national facility could be anywhere, then that may well change the scope of the works you're proposing.

Ms Berghofer : I might jump in and answer that one. While it was definitely part of our consideration that the NRWMF would be up and running towards the end of this decade, as part of our planning we also need to take into consideration things such as our footprint, and also when we need this facility to be up and operational. Our waste capacity ends in 2027, and we need to build a facility and have it operational and licensed by then. So, while we've looked at that 10 years—and there's also potential for us to optimise the site during our detailed design and potentially lend and get extra years from it—our guidance is that, for the facility, we want 10 years of storage. We probably will get more. That means that it can also be built before we run out of our current storage capacity. The facility itself will have a life of 50 years, so it will be operational and running for that long, just like our current facility has been. We've had waste stored in there since around the fifties, I think, and it's been managed safely, and it's certainly still fit for purpose today.

Senator SMALL: Good afternoon, folks. I have two questions. The first relates to the options that were considered by ANSTO. I note that option 4, being the extension of capacity at the existing facility, came in at $34 million less expensive than the proposal. I'm just curious to see how stridently ANSTO tested that, because I'd be very concerned if moving a fence were to cost $34 million. Has that been raised to ministerial level for consideration, or at what level has the decision been made to discount that?

Ms Berghofer : I'll answer that one. There were a number of options that were taken forward. You're right: one of those was to investigate another extension to the building 27 facility that we have currently. One of the reasons that it was discounted was not only that we needed to move the fence but that it would also begin to encroach on the bushland. There were fire considerations to be made and it wasn't going to give us the additional storage that we were looking for, which was that 10 years-plus.

On that basis we decided to go with an all-new facility that was going to give us that additional capacity to ensure that we could keep the site running for at least another 10 years past 2027.

Senator SMALL: Right. Just to be very clear: option 4, the extension of the facility costed at $16 million, would not have provided 10 years of storage. How much additional storage did that actually provide?

Ms Berghofer : I don't have that information in front of me, I'll have to take that on notice.

Senator SMALL: Yes, if you could come back to me on that it would be great. It strikes me that it's an awful lot of taxpayer money at stake, so we really do need to be sure that for the sake of some red pens and forms we're not missing a trick there.

My second question relates to a point you just touched on, with respect to bushfire risk. I note that the submission from ANSTO does acknowledge a portion of the site at least being affected by bushfire attack level 40 in 2009. I'll be honest: I don't really understand what that means! But what can you explain to us about the impact, or the potential impact, of bushfire on this storage facility? And what comfort can we draw from the mitigations that ANSTO is proposing to put in place?

Mr Lyras : I can probably take that one. The current facility and the proposed facility are well within our fence line and in an area cleared of bush. Hopefully, when you're able to visit the site we can show that to you. Extending the existing facility would require us to encroach into the bush, which means further clearing and, potentially, coming up very close to a valley, which heightens the risk of a fire as well. I'm not sure if that answers your question, but it's really about mitigating that and staying well clear of the current bush environment.

Senator SMALL: Sorry, just to be clear: my second question related to the proposal that you have before us today. As I understand it, the new storage facility is in some way inside the bushfire attack zone. So my question really is: in the event of a severe bushfire impacting the ANSTO site at Lucas Heights, what risk is there for this new storage facility being built?

Mr Lyras : All mitigating requirements have been implemented as far as the design of the structure itself goes. It's quite resistant to any fires. It's well within our existing fenced area and next to other buildings which also have similar protection. I'm not sure what the actual question is—

Senator SMALL: So there's no risk, effectively?

Mr Lyras : Yes, there's no risk—

Senator SMALL: If a big bushfire comes along and runs over Lucas Heights, there's no risk with this material being stored at the proposed new storage facility? There's no risk from that—is that the contention?

Mr Lyras : There is very low risk to an impact from a bushfire.

Ms Kelleher : I might add that ANSTO has comprehensive bushfire action plans in place and works regularly with local authorities to practise emergency preparedness. We're aware of the minimal risk and have taken all possible mitigation.

Senator SMALL: Thank you.

CHAIR: For those members of the committee who might be looking, on page 60 of 61 of the ANSTO submission there is an aerial map of the bushfire attack levels. I have to say that the red zone does approach onto the site, but we'll take your assurances that there are plans in place to deal with that.

Senator HUGHES: I just want to get a clarification. During the previous testimony that we heard in the public hearing, we consistently heard that ANSTO was best placed from a safety perspective to manage this waste and that it was disputed that there had been a number of safety breaches. My understanding is that the latter were more administrative as opposed to safety related. Could you clarify some of those comments?

Mr Lyras : Sure. I'm happy to respond to that. There was indeed a review by ARPANSA in June 2018, and the CEO of ARPANSA issued us a direction to initiate an external independent review of our nuclear medicine production facility. It reflected purely on nuclear medicine production and one specific building. Following the completion of that review, there were 85 recommendations with a comprehensive implementation plan. Following discussions with ARPANSA, some changes were made and submitted to the regulator in August 2019, and that plan was accepted by the regulator.

We are fortunate to have a competent regulator such as ARPANSA. We have listened to their recommendations and the recommendations of that review. We have made some significant changes. As an organisation, we're very focused on continuous improvement and taking the advice of the regulator.

Mr PASIN: For the purposes of the public hearing, there is a need for additional capacity onsite at Lucas Heights by 2027 in the absence of a national facility elsewhere; is that correct?

Mr Lyras : That's correct.

Mr PASIN: The advice that you have is that any such national facility won't be online before at least 2030; is that correct?

Mr Lyras : That's my understanding, yes.

Mr PASIN: And the facility you're proposing, whilst it's described as temporary, has the capacity to store the relevant waste for up to 50 years; is that right?

Mr Lyras : That's correct, yes.

Mr PASIN: In light of all of that—noting that there's a need to do something for the period between 2027 and 2030 and ignoring that for a moment—would ANSTO be taking any different action in relation to this project if, for example, the national facility were likely to come online not by 2030 but by 2040 or 2050? You're taking this approach based on the national facility being available on or about 2030, but would you take a different approach if the national facility were unlikely to be delivered until 2040 or 2050?

Mr Lyras : That's a very good question. In my view, the approach would still be the same. You would build this facility and, if the national facility were not available by—I think our estimates are—2030 to 2033, we would then work on additional capacity construction on site.

Mr PASIN: Can I just be clear about this: for how long does this facility have the ability to store the relevant waste? How long is its capacity to store waste, relative to how much is produced every year? For example, does it have five years worth of capacity, 10 years worth, 15—

Mr Lyras : Up to 10 years capacity.

Ms Berghofer : Can I just add that we're about to start our detailed design, and our requirement for this facility is that it has at least 10 years of additional storage capability for us. So that takes us out to around 2037. There might be some optimisation of the site that would take it out even further. But there are also works that we're undertaking currently to understand better some of those legacy wastes that we have in our current storage pits. What that might mean is that we might be able to move some of that waste into our low-level storage, because it has decayed long enough, or we'll start to understand more on just that level of waste that we will need to manage for much longer storage. We need to take into consideration as well that a lot of this waste will need conditioning; it's in no state where it will be available to go to another WMF or any other disposal kind of option, so we also need that capability to store it until those arrangements are in place. I would agree with Con that we would still be continuing to pursue this option, even if the NRWMF was pushed out further past 2030.

Mr PASIN: Let's hope that successive governments aren't continuing to debate this into the 2040s—and, when I say 'this', I mean a national waste repository facility—but, if we were to get to the point in the lead-up to 2037 that such a facility wasn't available, is there sufficient capacity on site for ANSTO to build an additional facility similar to this one?

Mr Lyras : Were you saying 'space available'?

Mr PASIN: That's correct. I'm talking about space within the allotment.

Mr Lyras : Yes, there will be space, and the 2033-34 date I mentioned is the time that we would need to start planning for the additional capacity, but there is space to construct additional capacity.

Mr PASIN: Thank you, Chair.

CHAIR: I will follow on a little bit from the line of Mr Pasin's questioning. In an engineering sense, is there anything additional that you could design into this facility at this point to extend the storage life, if, for example, successive governments hadn't been able to find an alternative storage for intermediate waste?

Mr Lyras : The answer would be again the capacity issue. From an engineering perspective, experience has shown us that the life of these facilities is around that time frame, and extension requires a totally different design philosophy and thinking, and, potentially, additional cost. Our existing facility was constructed in the late fifties, so we know we can get 50 years and slightly over, but it does require additional maintenance and additional inspections and therefore your costs also increase. So, from an engineering perspective, these facilities generally have a life expectancy of between 40 and 60 years, but the capacity will become the issue.

CHAIR: Just out of interest: a lot of the concern that was raised about having an alternative intermediate waste storage facility somewhere else in the country, outside of the Lucas Heights precinct, was as to transport and security issues around transport. Can you give us a rough idea of how many tonnes of material—and that includes, obviously, the storage containers—would be required to be moved to a new site?

Just give us a sense of how many 25-tonne prime mover loads that would actually represent.

Mr Lyras : Paula, can I get you to respond to this one?

Ms Berghofer : In terms of intermediate-level waste, that information is really not known to us yet. We need, first, to undertake conditioning activities to make it into a form that will be acceptable for an NRWMF, our long-term holding facility. Those conditioning activities are what will inform the size and the weight, and we're not really able to do that until we have waste acceptance criteria.

CHAIR: So you can't tell me, for example, how much waste is stored there at the moment or how much you'd be looking to move and what percentage of that might increase or decrease after it's been conditioned?

Ms Berghofer : I can take that on notice to give you some more detailed information about our waste holdings currently in intermediate-level waste—those ones that would potentially go to an NRWMF.

Mr ZAPPIA: I want to clarify the response to a question that was put to you by Mr Pasin. Would I be correct in saying that the design of this facility is not contingent on the Kimba facility proceeding?

Mr Lyras : I think the answer I gave previously is that it's contingent on having a facility at some point in time, because of the capacity constraints—not necessarily the Kimba facility.

Mr ZAPPIA: I understand it's contingent on capacity constraints, but it's not contingent on the national facility necessarily being at Kimba.

Mr Lyras : Not specifically at Kimba.

Mr ZAPPIA: Can you tell the committee why Lucas Heights cannot provide for permanent storage of intermediate-level waste?

Mr Lyras : I might refer that to my colleague, Catherine.

Ms Kelleher : I think there are several reasons why waste couldn't be permanently stored at ANSTO Lucas Heights. I think the first would be international best practice. International best practice holds that radioactive waste should be stored and disposed of in purpose-built facilities which are safe and secure. ANSTO obviously has the necessary experience and expertise to store waste on a temporary basis, but, ultimately, our mandate is one of nuclear science and technology for the benefit of all Australians. That's nuclear medicine production. It's research in the national interest. Indefinite storage of waste at ANSTO Lucas Heights would take away from space to do that. There are also a regulatory view that ARPANSA is supportive of the need for a national radioactive waste management facility for permanent storage of waste. The CEO of ARPANSA, in his statement of reasons when granting a licence for the construction of our interim waste store which houses waste that was returned from France in 2015, noted that ANSTO wasn't a suitable location for a disposal facility or for a permanent storage of radioactive waste.

Mr ZAPPIA: My question would then go to why is it not suitable to meet international best practice standards?

Ms Kelleher : ANSTO's mandate is to do nuclear science and technology for benefit of all Australians, and that's nuclear medicine production and research in the national interest. It's international best practice to have all of your radioactive waste stored in one location, in a safe, secure location, and the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility would service not just ANSTO but a whole lot of other—

Mr ZAPPIA: I get all that. But what I want to get absolutely clear is why international best practice cannot be established at Lucas Heights. In other words, what provisions within international best practice does Lucas Heights have a problem with?

Mrs Naidoo-Ameglio : The process to do with international best practice also looks at having a waste agency responsible for the ongoing management of disposal facilities as being separate to the producers of that waste. As we all know, ANSTO is one of the producers. The other aspect of storage of nuclear waste is having a strong social licence to host this waste repository, and ANSTO does not have that mandate. It has been made very clear to us by the shire council that they do not see us as a suitable site for permanent storage of waste.

Mr ZAPPIA: In your earlier answers with respect to the reviews carried out by ARPANSA, it was stated that the 2019-20 plan was accepted by ANSTO. Acceptance is one thing, but were the recommendations contained within that review carried out?

Mr Lyras : The recommendations are ongoing recommendations. As part of the decision, ARPANSA included a new licence condition on ANSTO's health program—and I stressed that it was specifically for ANSTO's health program and not our waste group—where we make progress reports back to the regulator every six months. That commenced in January 2020. I mentioned a number of conditions, and a number of those have already been delivered. The process is ongoing, so there is regular interaction with the regulator and six-monthly reports on the upgrade of the conditions that apply to us. Some of those are longer-term requirements, and we are working towards delivering those conditions. We have complied with all the requirements of the plan that we gave to the regulator and which the regulator accepted, and we're working to that plan. My understanding is that the regulator is quite happy with the process and the progress that we have been delivering on.

Mr ZAPPIA: Just to put it on the public record—because when I asked the question earlier today it was not on the public record—have there been any safety or security issues that have arisen with respect to the storage of low-level or intermediate-level waste since Lucas Heights was established?

Mr Lyras : That's a good question. I'll refer to Pamela or Paula on that one. I'm not aware of any significant ones with respect to the storage of waste.

Ms Berghofer : There was one safety incident that occurred in 2019 with respect to the movement of some of our intermediate-level waste across site. This wasn't a radiological incident; it resulted from a splash onto personnel who were operating with some alkaline material, and it required them to seek medical advice. Apart from that, there is nothing in our recent history regarding nuclear waste management safety or security incidents that I'm aware of.

Mr ZAPPIA: My other question from earlier today was: are there regular assessments or evaluations of the surrounding community carried out with respect to the impact on air quality, water quality or soil quality as a result of the work that is done at Lucas Heights?

Mr Lyras : The answer is yes. There are a number of checks that we carry out as an organisation. There are a number of regulators that also monitor our activities at Lucas Heights, including ARPANSA, the Environment Protection Authority and others.

Mr ZAPPIA: And they have not detected any issues of concern?

Mr Lyras : I'm not aware of them detecting anything of concern.

CHAIR: I'll give ANSTO the opportunity to make some closing remarks before we close this public hearing.

Mr Lyras : In closing, I thank the committee for the virtual site visit and for its questions and the opportunity to respond to those questions. There are a number of questions that we have taken on notice, and we will endeavour to get all the information back to you quickly. I thank the committee for the opportunity to present our proposal.

CHAIR: Thank you very much to you and your team for putting together a very good presentation, and for answering our questions. You've committed to providing some additional information in relation to some questions on notice, and we look forward to receiving that.

Committee adjou rned at 14 : 21