OPAL reactor operating licence process

Introduction

On 13 September 2004, the CEO of ARPANSA received an application from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) for a facility licence under the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (ARPANS Act) to authorise operation of the Replacement Research Reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney.

Licence application

The licence application available to the public is not the complete version submitted to the CEO of ARPANSA. ANSTO requested that the CEO not publish parts of the application on the grounds that certain information could compromise the security of the reactor, and that other details are commercial-in-confidence. ANSTO provided ARPANSA with a version of the application for public release. The CEO considered these submissions from ANSTO and released additional summary information on 17 May 2005 (see the last dot point of Part C and the whole of Part D and Part E).

The licence application can be found by following the link - Licence application

Public consultation

In accordance with Regulations to the ARPANS Act, the CEO of ARPANSA invited submissions from the public on the application for a licence to operate the Replacement Research Reactor. The CEO also held a public forum on the application on 8-9 December 2005.

Nuclear Safety Committee report

As part of the licence application review process, the CEO of ARPANSA requested the Nuclear Safety Committee to review and advise on aspects of the licence application relating to:

  • the plan for maintaining effective control of the facility in Part B of the Application and the conduct of operations in Chapter 13 of the Safety Analysis Report addressing:
    • organisational structure; safety management systems; lines of communication; delegations; accountabilities; resource requirements
    • roles, responsibilities and authorities, and associated competency requirements; and qualifications, training and accreditation processes for personnel.
  • the management of spent fuel and radioactive wastes in relation to:
    • the advice and recommendations provided by the Committee in its report of February 2002; and
    • the adequacy of the Radioactive Waste Management Plan and the Ultimate Disposal or Transfer Plan.

Nuclear Safety Committee Report on the ANSTO Application for a Licence to Operate a Replacement Research Reactor, September 2005.

IAEA peer review missions

IAEA peer review mission - March 2005

The report by the international Peer Review Team that reviewed the OPAL Research Reactor operating licence application in Sydney over two weeks in March 2005 is available.

IAEA peer review mission - November 2005

In response to a request from the CEO of ARPANSA, the International Atomic Energy Agency conducted a second peer review regarding the application for a licence to operate the OPAL research reactor between 28 November and 2 December 2005. The peer review team consisted of Mr T Haragitai, of the IAEA, and Mr J Boogaard of the Netherlands. The mission focused on the operating procedures contained in the application. The objective of mission was to advise the CEO on international best practice in radiation protection and nuclear safety as it relates to the safety case for the operation of the reactor. The team's report was finalised and submitted to the CEO for him to take into account in making his decision on the licence application.

Issue of operating licence

On 14 July 2006, the CEO of ARPANSA, Dr John Loy, issued a facility licence under the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 after a comprehensive and detailed assessment of ANSTO’s application.