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Title: OPAL: open pool Australian light-water reactor
Authors: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
Keywords: ANSTO
OPAL Reactor
Issue Date: Jun-2005
Publisher: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
Citation: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. (2005). OPAL: open pool Australian light-water reactor. Lucas Heights, NSW: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.
Abstract: The construction of Australia’s new world-class research reactor, OPAL, heralds the nation’s determination to maintain its position at the frontiers of international science. OPAL will become the centre-piece of the facilities we offer at ANSTO, where we apply our nuclear expertise to support health, environmental, industrial and national security objectives. Since 1958, Australia has benefited from the nuclear capabilities of HIFAR, the High Flux Australian Reactor, and the nuclear-based science of ANSTO and its forebears. We provide high-quality radiopharmaceuticals for nuclear medicine, irradiate silicon for advanced electronics applications and produce radioisotopes for environmental, medical and industrial uses including non-destructive testing methods. Australian researchers and their counterparts from around the world use the unique insights afforded by neutron beam science to increase our fundamental scientific knowledge and assist our industries. Our nuclear expertise also enables us to make an important international contribution through groups such as the Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia, which promotes the safe and peaceful use of nuclear technology in the Asian region. The OPAL reactor will outperform HIFAR in every aspect, making radiopharmaceutical and radioisotope production, irradiation services and neutron beam research quicker and more efficient. It can operate 340 days a year, a significant increase over the operating levels typically achieved by comparable overseas facilities. The new reactor uses low enriched uranium fuel with around 20 per cent uranium-235. In terms of nuclear security and safeguards, this is a distinct advantage over earlier nuclear reactors, some of which required as much as 95 per cent enriched uranium. A state-of-the-art research reactor, OPAL uses heavy water to moderate the neutrons produced in its fuel assemblies and light water for cooling. A ‘cold’ neutron source will produce neutrons with lower energy levels and longer wavelengths, significantly enhancing the versatility of the reactor’s neutron beam scattering facilities. Neutron guides, which function rather like optical fibre, are used to transport the useful neutrons to experiments, thereby removing unwanted highenergy neutrons and gamma radiation. To maximise scientific use of the OPAL reactor and to attract researchers who have not previously used neutron techniques, ANSTO has established the Bragg Institute as a regional centre of excellence in neutron science. The Bragg Institute is Australia’s leading group in the use of neutron scattering and X-ray techniques to solve complex research and industrial problems. The Institute is named in honour of Australians William and Lawrence Bragg, who jointly won the 1915 Nobel Prize for Physics. In recognition of the complementary nature of neutron and X-ray techniques, ANSTO has also invested $5 million in beamlines at the Australian Synchrotron being built in Melbourne by the Victorian Government. This publication explains the capabilities of OPAL and some of the many ways in which it will bring benefits to Australia and our international relationships.
Gov't Doc #: 35
Appears in Collections:Booklets, Brochures and Pamphlets

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