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File photo: Yallourn power station and mine

Yallourn repair plan

Yallourn repair plan

File photo: Yallourn power station and mine

Repairs to damaged Yallourn mine approved

Works to repair the damage in the Morwell River Diversion (MRD) near the Yallourn coal mine have been agreed upon between the Victorian Government and Energy Australia.

During the June storm, significant flooding in the Morwell River resulted in cracks in the MRD that threatened to inundate the Yallourn Coal Mine. With Yallourn Power Station providing more than 20 per cent of Victoria’s energy supply, an emergency declaration was made to plan for the risk.

While short-term repair works have temporarily stabilised the situation, the MRD and the Yallourn Coal Mine remain at risk of a significant rainfall event. Failure of the MRD would see the Morwell River inundate the coal mine, which would in turn impact power production and downstream environments.

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The Government has accepted a proposal by Energy Australia to divert normal winter flows from the Morwell River around the damaged MRD and into the Latrobe River. The diversion will allow the MRD to dry, enabling engineers to undertake necessary repairs.

Energy Australia said it will be able to divert up to 3,500 megalitres per day to the Latrobe River. If the area receives heavy rain, larger flood flows may be diverted into the Hazelwood Mine Void, upstream of Yallourn until flows return to normal.

In an emergency, the unused Township Field in the Yallourn Coal Mine can be used as a one-off storage for up to 3,000 megalitres.

Environment Victoria said it is happy with a state government approval for Energy Australia to temporarily divert the Morwell River through pipes across the Yallourn mine.

The environment group said it is particularly pleased that diverting any water into the Hazelwood pit further upstream is effectively a last resort.

Environment Victoria said the government has given clear assurances that this is not a backhand way of allowing Hazelwood to fill with water before its final rehabilitation plan has been approved.

Construction and repairs are estimated to take up to 18 months to complete.

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