The future of a research reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney’s south is threatened by the discovery of an earthquake fault line at the construction site. The fault was identified during excavation of the site intended for the $163 million reactor.

The new reactor is a replacement for an obsolescent unit which is used for medical and scientific research. The work has aroused significant opposition from local and environmental groups which claim that the project is not justified. The existing reactor is operated by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.

The geological fault was discovered by geologists contracted to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency during a routine examination. Little is so far known about the fault line and more needs to be discovered before it can be determined whether it is a source of danger, the agency branch director said.
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