Australian Atomic Energy Commission
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It was established in 1952, replacing the Atomic Energy Policy Committee. In 1981 parts of the Commission were split off to become part of CSIRO, the remainder continuing until 1987, when it was replaced by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). The Commission head office was in Coogee, and its main facilities were at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Lucas Heights, established in 1958.
Highlights of the Commission's history included:
- Major roles in the establishment of the IAEA and the system of international safeguards.
- The construction of the HIFAR and MOATA research reactors at Lucas Heights.
- The selection of the preferred tender for the construction of the proposed Jervis Bay Nuclear Power Plant.
- The Ranger Uranium Mine joint venture.
Other significant facilities constructed by the Commission at Lucas Heights included a 3MeV Van de Graaff particle accelerator, installed in 1964 to provide proton beams and now upgraded to become ANTARES, a smaller 1.3MeV betatron, and radioisotope production and remote handling facilities associated with HIFAR reactor.
Significant research work included:
- Neutron diffraction.
- Sodium coolant systems.
- Use of beryllium as a neutron moderator.
- Movement of spheres in a closed-packed lattice.
- Gas centrifuge development.
- Health physics.
- Environmental science.
- Development of synroc.
- Molecular laser isotope separation and support of laser development for atomic vapor laser isotope separation.
- A. W. Pryor, Personal memories of two advanced uranium enrichment projects at Lucas Heights in the years 1972-1980, The Australian & New Zealand Physicist 33 (3-4), 53-58 (1997).
- F. J. Duarte, Tunable lasers for atomic vapor laser isotope separation: the Australian contribution, Australian Physics 47(2), 38-40 (2010).