The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (Ansto) has widened its nuclear research cooperation with the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), as well as signing an agreement with an Australian university to conduct research into the storage of radioactive waste.
Ansto CEO Adi Paterson and the head of the CEA (Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique), Bernard Bigot, signed an agreement in Paris last week for the two organizations to partner more widely in research areas such as nuclear medicine, life sciences, radiation therapy, safety and radiological protection.
The CEA and Ansto first collaborated in 1992, signing a cooperation agreement on the peaceful uses of advanced nuclear technology. Ansto said that the agreement enabled important collaborative projects in areas such as medical imaging, radioactive waste forms and environmental research. Ansto researchers have also been involved in climate and atmospheric pollution monitoring in Europe, as well as specialized medical imaging in collaboration with CEA.
Paterson commented, "CEA, with more than 15,000 staff, is a leader in research, development and innovation in Europe. Ansto has key research programs that have become possible because of our state-of-the-art Opal research reactor and our unique accelerator capabilities which make it mutually attractive to collaborate more intensively."
Greg Storr, Ansto's reactor operations general manager, said, "Australia benefits greatly from engaging in international research and development collaborations." He added, "Programs like these, which bring key skills, capabilities and facilities within the reach of Australian scientists, allow our experts to work in research activities of global significance."
"Our French colleagues are also keen to learn more about our cutting edge projects and in partnership use and develop state-of-the-art facilities. In this context it made sense to re-establish a strong and comprehensive research agreement," said Storr.
In the last 18 months, Storr has collaborated with his French counterparts who are building the new Jules Horowitz Reactor (JHR) at Cadarache, southern France, due for completion in 2014.
Ansto has also signed a four-year, A$1.2 million ($ million) agreement with Curtin University of Technology to conduct research into the storage of radioactive waste.
The project will bring together materials modelling researchers from Curtin's Nanochemistry Research Institute (NRI) and Ansto to undertake fundamental research into the design and implementation of nuclear waste forms.
Linda Kristjanson, Curtin's deputy vice-chancellor, research and development, said, "It will build on our existing ties with global leaders in nuclear research, including Ansto and Los Alamos in the US, and will allow Curtin to conduct fundamental research into the safe containment of highly radioactive waste."
Lyndon Edwards, head of Ansto's Institute of Materials Engineering, noted: "There has been a significant increase in global interest in nuclear power in recent years and more nuclear power plants are being planned around the world today than at any time in the past 30 years."
He added, "New higher efficiency, intrinsically safer Generation IV reactor systems are also being developed which will require new nuclear waste solutions. By working with Curtin, Ansto is ensuring that Australian science remains at the forefront of how to design, manufacture and store nuclear waste in a safe, economic and timely manner."
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News