Australia decommissions first reactor

14 February 2007

Australia’s first nuclear reactor, the High Flux Australian Reactor (HIFAR1), which went critical on Australia Day 1958, has begun decommissioning.

Based on a British reactor design, initially HIFAR was used to make radiopharmaceuticals and test materials for the development of nuclear energy in Australia. However, when the Australian Government in 1972, under Prime Minister Bill McMahon, decided not to proceed down the nuclear energy route, HIFAR was further adapted to conduct neutron beam research into industrial materials and irradiate silicon for the semiconductor industry.

The decommissioning process will take up to 10 years to complete, but will allow the development of Australia’s new OPAL reactor.

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