[ RadSafe ] Australian Research Reactor

Franta, Jaroslav frantaj at aecl.ca
Mon Jan 7 12:16:19 CST 2008



Reactor shutdown costing $100k a week 
ANSTO is keen to get the Opal reactor back in action as soon as possible
Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News
21 December 2007

The head of medical isotope production at Lucas Heights says the high cost of imports and interruption to supplies make it crucial to get Sydney's nuclear reactor running again. 

The final bill for imports is likely to exceed $6 million. 

ANSTO radio pharmaceuticals and industrial general manager Ian Turner says paying $100,000 a week to import radio isotopes is hurting. 
"We import about $100,000 a week of molybdenum and that's the main radio isotope that used in nuclear medicine procedures," he said. 

"It's important that we get the reactor up as soon as we possibly can, there's no question on that whatsoever." 

And he says imports from South Africa are not always reliable. 

"What can happen is the isotope is laid off at the airport," he said. 

"We have roughly every three weeks what we call an import adverse event, which means something goes wrong with the delivery." 

ANSTO hoped the new Opal reactor would allow a doubling of medical isotope production. They earned almost $21 million last financial year. 

Procedures cancelled 

Nuclear Physicians Association president Dr Joseph Wong says some less urgent procedures have been cancelled. 

"We do have disruptions, but probably not frequently," he said. 

The Opal reactor is yet to produce molybdenum, and has been shut down since July. 
It will stay that way until at least January while a redesign of the central fuel assembly is done. Imports will continue for several months after that. 

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl]On
Behalf Of Gibbons, Peter
Sent: December 6, 2007 8:01 PM
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Australian Research Reactor

Dear Franz and RADSAFErs,

You are correct that the old Lucas Heights reactor has been
decommissioned earlier this year and the new OPAL research reactor has
been built. There have been problems with the new reactor but we have
been assured that the reactor and Mini-Moly Plant will be up and running
and distributing internally and internationally by March-April 2008.

We in Australia have been getting our Technetium from South Africa this
year due to production problems at the OPAL. 

Kind regards
Peter Gibbons
Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital
Western Australia



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