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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 6536

Dr KELLY (Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support and Parliamentary Secretary for Water) (11:20 AM) —I move:

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the committee has duly reported to Parliament: Construction of a centre for Accelerator Science and extensions to other facilities for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation at Lucas Heights, NSW.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation proposes to undertake at its Lucas Heights, New South Wales, site the construction of (1) a new centre for accelerator science; (2) an extension to the Bragg Institute; and (3) an extension to the OPAL reactor building. The proposed Centre for Accelerator Science will enhance Australia’s capability for the vital studies of climate and environmental science, nuclear safeguards and forensics, materials science, human history, medical physics and radiation physics.

In the 2009-10 budget the government allocated $20 million under the Education Investment Fund to establish the new Centre for Accelerator Science. ANSTO’s OPAL reactor’s neutron beam instruments are used by Australian and international researchers and industry in an extremely wide range of science. Those instruments are operated by ANSTO’s Bragg Institute. Given the increasing demand for the operational instruments and the impending addition of new instruments together with increasing demand for the other services provided by the OPAL reactor, the Bragg Institute and the OPAL reactor building have reached capacity and require extensions. ANSTO therefore proposes to construct and fit out additional offices and laboratories at the Bragg Institute to accommodate approximately 150 staff, students and visiting researchers.

ANSTO further proposes to construct and fit out additional offices, workshops and laboratories at the OPAL reactor building to support reactor operations. This project will also provide additional facilities and accommodation to optimise ANSTO’s ability to produce radioisotopes and irradiate silicon. The estimated out-turn cost of the proposal is $62.5 million including GST. In its report, the parliamentary Public Works Committee has recommended that these works proceed. Subject to parliamentary approval, construction will commence in November 2010 and be completed by September 2012. On behalf of the government I thank the committee for its support and I commend the motion to the House.

Question agreed to.