Welcome to AtomWatch - world nuclear power news and analysis

This blog is aimed at tracing the world news related to nuclear power development internationally and in particular countries. Being an independent resource, we accept all kinds of opinions, positions and comments, and welcome you to discuss the posts and tell us what you think.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sydney's nuclear reactor to restart

One item of note here: the article refers to "fuel plates". Often research reactors use fuel plates rather than fuel rods that are used in power plants. Research reactors such as OPAL are used for medical isotope production, neutron activation analysis, and training of nuclear students.



Sydney's nuclear reactor could resume operations this month, after a 10-month shutdown caused by fuel problems.

In July 2007, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), which operates the Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL) research reactor, discovered that several fuel plates had displaced from their original positions in the core of the reactor.

ANSTO shut down the reactor and determined that the design of the fuel plates needed to be modified.

The nuclear safety authority announced on Thursday it had approved the new fuel plate design.

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) chief executive John Loy said he had approved ANSTO's submission for the modified fuel plates at the OPAL reactor in the southern Sydney suburb of Lucas Heights.

"ANSTO may now undertake the first part of its Return to Service Program and load the modified fuel into the OPAL reactor," Dr Loy said in a statement.

Dr Loy said he was satisfied that the modified design was appropriate and could be undertaken without undue risk to the health and safety of people or the environment.

A spokeswoman for ANSTO said a new fuel core was ready to be inserted in the reactor, and this could be done within days.

However, permission from ARPANSA would be needed before the reactor could be started up.

An ARPANSA spokeswoman said approval for the start-up was likely "in a matter of days" after the installation of the fuel.

No comments: