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ISSN: 1600-5775

Australia gets its long awaited synchrotron – Victoria takes the initiative

Victoria's Premier, Steve Bracks, announced that a national synchrotron facility would be established at Monash University – the first of its kind in Australia. The announcement came as a surprise to some of the other states as the Federal Government had been considering four separate applications to support the construction of a synchrotron under the Major National Research Facilities (MNRF) program. The applications for the MNRF were to be finalized in August 2001, but the Victorian government made the decision to go it alone and begin the project. The most vocal protestor has been the Queensland Premier, Peter Beatie, but the Federal Government has given backing to the Victorian decision to establish Australia's first national synchrotron facility.

The Victorian Government would join with Monash University and other project partners to enable the construction of the $157 million facility, starting in 2001/02. The State Government will provide up to $100 million for the synchrotron, with the balance from other project partners, such as research institutions and the private sector. Australia is the largest OECD country without a synchrotron and its scientists have, for more than two decades, been trying to persuade their paymasters to fund their own synchrotron. The Australian community has built their national beamlines at the Photon Factory in Japan and at the APS in Chicago. The new site is near the highly acclaimed Monash Medical Precinct, next to five key CSIRO divisions, and is within Australia's largest high-tech industry cluster. Complementary to the synchrotron, Monash recently announced plans to construct a $300 million International Centre for Science, Technology and Emerging Industries. The plans include a science-based secondary college and a 180-bed hotel and conference centre.

The design parameters are not yet fully defined but it is expected that the storage ring will have a machine energy of 3 GeV. It is going to be about 57 m in diameter with a beam emittance of around 12 nm rad.[link]

[Figure 1]
Figure 1
An impression of the new Australian synchrotron.
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