20 May 2010

30-05-2003 – Statement from ANSTO Regarding an Error of Alignment in a Number of Penetrations in the Wall of the Replacement Reactor Pool Tank. : ANSTO was informed earlier this month about an error in the alignment of penetrations in the reactor pool tank, part of the replacement research reactor currently being constructed at Lucas Heights.

The error arose as a result of the manufacturer, an Australian company, incorrectly interpreting detailed design drawings provided by INVAP, the company contracted to build the replacement reactor.

INVAP advised ANSTO about the issue earlier this month and ANSTO immediately informed the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). ANSTO has been liaising with ARPANSA since then to ensure the matter is resolved in a way that satisfies their requirements.

The manufacturer is currently rectifying the error. The wrongly made penetrations will be removed from the tank and will be replaced by correctly made sections.

Contrary to concerns raised by the Mayor of the Sutherland Shire, Councillor Blight, there are no safety concerns for residents in relation to this specific issue or the replacement reactor.

The repair welding, which will total less than five percent of the total welding on the tank, will be of exactly the same high quality as the extensive welding on the rest of the tank. As with all welding in the replacement reactor, these welds will be rigorously tested and inspected to ensure they meet relevant international and national standards.

The repaired tank must meet exactly the same high engineering standards as the item ANSTO was authorised to construct.

ANSTO has asked INVAP for a report outlining how the error occurred and what processes they have put in place with respect to their subcontractors’ quality control processes to ensure something like this does not happen again.

There will be no additional cost to ANSTO from this issue.

ANSTO expects that, provided ARPANSA is satisfied with the course of action proposed, there will be no overall delay in the replacement reactor construction process.

Media Inquiries: Carolyn Betts 9717 3770 or 0418 284 813.

Document details
Web copy of an original published Media Briefing held by ANSTO Communications and dated 29 May 2003. Author and contact as above.