14-07-2006 – Australian Regulatory Authority authorizes operation of OPAL : The Nuclear Regulatory Authority, ARPANSA, has issued today the authorization to operate the OPAL reactor. In the immediate, this implies the charging of the Argentine-made fuel elements, and the beginning of exhaustive tests leading to the final start-up of the 20-MW research reactor, sited in Lucas Heights, NSW, Australia.”
The following is the text of the press release issued by ANSTO on July, 14th:
OPAL REACTOR OPERATING LICENSE GRANTED
Today ANSTO welcomed the decision by its regulator, ARPANSA, to grant it a license to operate its new nuclear research reactor OPAL.
“The granting of the license takes us one step closer to the start of a new era in Australian science,” said ANSTO Executive Director, Dr. Ian Smith.
“Not only will OPAL increase ANSTO´s capacity to sypply Australia and the region with critically important radiopharmaceuticals, it will provide world leading capability for our scientists to apply nuclear research to such areas as biotechnology, food and molecular biology, nanotechnology, health, environmental management processes and engineering
“This research will result in tangible social and economic benefits for Australia”, concluded Dr. Smith.
The license was granted following an exhaustive examination of all the evidence presented by ANSTO, including cold commissioning tests. ARPANSA were also advised by overseas consultants, including an IAEA review team – all experts in the field of nuclear reactor engineering.
OPAL has met the highest possible standards imposed upon the nuclear industry.
The granting of the license will now allow ANSTO to load nuclear fuel and begin its second commissioning phase, where further testing will take place to ensure OPAL´s performance meets expectations. When this is complete the current ANSTO reactor, HIFAR, will shut down. This will occur early in 2007.
OPAL and its complementary facilities are already attracting interest from scientists around the world. This will ramp up when the reactor becomes operational and contribute to the organization becoming a world leader in nuclear science research.