The latest in a series of IAEA conferences on management and use of research reactors is opening next week in Sydney, Australia, with the focus on sharing of the latest scientific and technical information. This exchange of information will also include projects on design, construction and commissioning of new research reactor facilities.
The International Conference on Research Reactors: Safe Management and Effective Utilization is being hosted by Australia through the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). A total of 220 delegates from around the world are expected to attend the week-long meeting, which opens 5 November and closes on the 9th.
The objective of this conference is to foster exchange of information on current research reactors and provide a forum for reactor operators, designers, managers, users and regulators to share experience, exchange opinions and discuss options and priorities. It is aimed to be a global forum for the exchange of scientific and technical information on research reactors. The IAEA organizes conferences on this topic once every four year; the last such meeting was held in Santiago, Chile, in November 2003.
A number of significant issues, primarily related to safety and security, operation and utilization, the fuel cycle, decommissioning and waste management, will be addressed during the meeting. Yuri Sokolov, IAEA´s Deputy Director General of Nuclear Energy, is expected to deliver the conference opening address.
For almost 60 years, research reactors have been centres of training, productivity and innovation in a wide array of nuclear science and technology areas.
To date, some 672 research reactors have been built, and of these, 245 reactors in 54 countries continue to operate. Of the almost 250 research reactors that are no longer in operation, some are set to restart operation in the future, some are being decommissioned, while others are in an extended shutdown state.
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has recently inaugurated its OPAL reactor, a state-of-the-art 20MW multi-purpose facility for radioisotope production, irradiation services, neutron beam and advanced materials research.