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Title: Scientific opportunities at OPAL, the new Australian research reactor
Authors: Robinson, RA
Kennedy, SJ
Keywords: Australia
OPAL Reactor
Research reactors
Reactor commissioning
Reactor commissioning
Cold neutrons
Issue Date: 4-Dec-2006
Publisher: Australian Institute of Physics
Citation: Robinson, R., & Kennedy, S. (2006). Scientific opportunities at OPAL, the new Australian research reactor. Paper presented at the Australian Institute of Physics 17th National Congress 2006, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane Australia, Sunday 3 - Friday 8 December 2006. Retrieved from:
Abstract: Australian physics is on the cusp of entering a new “golden age”, with the startup of bright new neutron and photon sources in Sydney and Melbourne, in 2006 and 2007 respectively. The OPAL reactor and the Australian Synchrotron together represent an investment well in excess of $500M, and can be considered either separately or together the greatest single investment in scientific infrastructure in Australia’s history. They will essentially be “sister” facilities, with a common open user ethos, and a vision to play a major role in international science. In our talk we will concentrate on the OPAL reactor, which comes on line first, and which may well have produced its first scientific results by the time of the Congress. Fuel is likely to go into the reactor in July 2006, and full power (20MW) achieved by September 2006. It is our plan to commence the formal user program in early 2007, but commissioning experiments will have taken place well before then. The first three instruments to be in operation will a high-resolution powder diffractometer (for materials discovery), single-crystal diffractometer (for small-molecule crystallography, particularly involving hydrogen bonding) and a strain scanner (for mechanical engineering and industrial applications). These will be closely followed by four more instruments with broad application in nanoscience, condensed-matter physics and other scientific disciplines. Instrument performance will be competitive with the best research-reactor facilities anywhere, and our goal is to be in the top 3 such facilities worldwide. To date there is committed funding for 9 instruments, with a capacity to install a total of ~18 beamlines. In our talk we will give an update on the status of OPAL , its thermal and cold neutron sources, its instruments and hopefully the first data.
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