ANSTO expands to embrace industry

The Lucas Heights nuclear reactor and research precinct has expanded to embrace greater interaction with Australian industry.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, which runs the OPAL pool reactor, has inaugurated the ANSTO innovation precinct to extend the reach of its unique nuclear capabilities.

ANSTO has long performed research for industry using instruments that utilise beams of neutrons but this has tended to be restricted to larger companies.

ANSTO is developing:

# A technology park to create an eco-system and community of industrial users.

# An innovation incubator to fire up commercialisation and entrepreneurship

# And an graduate Institute to train and develop scientists and engineers

Barry Alchin, chair of ShireBiz, the collaborative business group for Southern Sydney is confident the initiatives will help create new manufacturing enterprises.

He told @AuManufacturing: “The area available is approximately the size of Sydney’s CBD with easy access to Sydney’s airport.

“This precinct offers unparalleled access to some $1.3 billion of landmark and national research infrastructure.”

ShireBiz has already been instrumental in bringing local firms together to create the National Robotics and Automation Group to develop systems for use in nuclear and radioactive environments.

NRAG participants include Australis Engineering, Britton Maratime, Chess Industries, Breseight Engineering, and Yokogawa.

When open, the innovation precinct will focus on industries in the heath, advanced manufacturing and industry 4.0, agriculture, food and nutrition sectors.

The first stage of the incubator is well underway at Lucas Heights and the Graduate Institute will be brought on line in coming months.

The ANSTO Innovation Precinct is closely based on the successful GIANT Innovation Campus in Grenoble, France.

Technologies already commercialised from ANSTO include BioGil, a nano-particle membrane for filtration in aquaculture.

ANSTO’s CEO, Adi Paterson said: “As the custodian of much of Australia’s landmark and national research infrastructure, ANSTO is well positioned to connect people to researchers and infrastructure, and create a dynamic environment for innovation.”

OPAL is the open-pool lightwater Australian reactor opened in 2007 as the successor to the former HIFAR reactor.

Picture: ANSTO

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