ANSTO is the home of Australia’s most significant landmark and national infrastructure for research. Thousands of scientists from industry and academia benefit from gaining access to state-of-the-art instruments every year.
What we do at ANSTO?
ANSTO works across areas such as health, the environment and the nuclear fuel cycle to find solutions to some of the biggest questions in science for the benefit of all Australians.
ANSTO’s First Research Reactor: HIFAR
HIFAR was Australia's first national research reactor. It was central to the research that occurred at ANSTO and it operated safely and reliably for almost 50 years. The reactor was in operation between 1958 and 2007, when it was superseded by OPAL - the Open Pool Australian lightwater reactor.
The purpose of HIFAR was to produce neutrons for the production of nuclear medicine and for scientific use. Neutrons are subatomic particles found in the nucleus of all atoms. HIFAR produced neutrons through the process of fission, the splitting of a large atom uranium, into two smaller ones; and one or more neutrons. Fission occurs when a heavy nucleus absorbs a neutron and splits. Some of the neutrons given off in the process of fission, after slowing down (losing energy), are used to keep the fission chain reaction going.