Australia’s new reactor opens

The OPAL reactor and new neutron beam facility, managed by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in Sydney’s south, officially opens on Wednesday 18 April 2007.

Costing $400 million to build, the reactor was described by ANSTO’s Executive Director, Dr. Ian Smith as “the jewel in the crown” of Australian nuclear research.

“The OPAL reactor and its neutron beam instrument facility will rank it as one of the top three research reactors in the world,” he said.

“The OPAL facility is already attracting major interest from local and international scientists and will promote great scientific growth.”

The new instruments at OPAL will help scientists to analyse materials at the atomic level and help gain more understanding, for example, of essential biological processes in the body, how to improve manufacturing methods or how to better store food in order to prolong shelf life.

The OPAL reactor will also allow ANSTO to continue to provide half a million nuclear medicines a year to Australians and irradiate silicon for the semiconductor industry.

For more information: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO),

Dr. Ian Smith, Tel: +61 2 9717 9575,