Australian news, and some related international items

Safety concerns about Lucas Heights nuclear reactor: needs $210m tax-payer funded upgrade

Steve Dale According to the article below, this is referring to “Building 23” – which “operates a nuclear medicine production facility and is responsible for distributing “finished” products”. So it sounds like ANSTO have got their hands out again for more taxpayer money for their messy, high-volume waste producing nuclear medicine factory. ANSTO should be putting all their efforts into finding methods that minimise the waste eg. cyclotrons.

Unsurprisingly the article also mentions –

“A perception of widespread bullying also emerged, with about one in five ANSTO staff interviewed saying they had “experienced bullying” over a six-month period.” Seems like ANSTO is toxic in multiple ways…/lucas-heights-nuclear…/10403532


Sydney nuclear facility needs $210m revamp: report, SMH, 22 October 2018 The federal government’s ageing nuclear medical facility in southern Sydney should be replaced or rebuilt due to safety concerns, an independent report says.

The expert report published on Monday found there was a “make do and mend” culture at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation site in Lucas Heights.

The report found the 1950s-era nuclear medical facility failed to meet modern nuclear safety standards.

A replacement facility has been in the pipeline for several years but plans have been hindered because of federal government budget restrictions, the report says.

The organisation’s boss on Monday argued if work started “today” on a new $210 million building, it could be up and running in five years.

While several modifications have been made to the facility, the report found upgrades cannot resolve all of its problems.

In August 2017, a technician at the facility was exposed to radioactive material that contaminated his hands through two pairs of gloves after he dropped a vial, exposing him to an elevated risk of cancer.

The incident was the most serious in the world last year – the only safety failure that was rated a “Level 3” event or above. It was followed by three other less-serious incidents – “near misses” – within the next 10 months.

“It should be noted that Level 3 events are regarded as serious events in the nuclear industry and any additional events at this level may result in loss of confidence in the organisation,” the report says.

……. The report made 85 recommendations, including that the Australian government commit to a replacement facility as soon as practicable and provide additional funding or find alternative funding for the new site.



October 23, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, safety

1 Comment »

  1. Southern Hemisphere July 2018 Background Level Report

    Station location

    This short animation of Northern and Southern Hemisphere air circulation, shows why we can get detections so far south.

    Spike in Background Levels in Tasmania 4th and 6th July, and Caloundra on the 7th July 2018

    Very surprised to find this significant detection showing up on the Caloundra 24 hour chart for the 7th of July. There had been an up tick in background at the beginning of July compared to June 2018, but the 52% above day average detection was a shock. Wind direction at the time was from inland Australia, which was also very surprising. We had a very light short shower in the morning. The live Radon monitor here showed nothing significant, levels were relatively low, around 0.2 pCi/l.

    We have looked around the World wind maps to try and determine the source of these significant background spikes, but have been unable to pinpoint a definitive source. One suggestion put forward is the possible venting of volatile radioactive gases from the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney that were blown around in the local atmosphere.

    I went to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO), monitoring station web site. Their monitoring station is located near Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney Australia. This was to see if their monitoring station had picked up any spikes in July background radiation levels. What I found was the notice below. A strange coincidence ????

    Radiation monitoring

    “The environmental radiation station will not be operational in July due to repairs and maintenance of the system.”

    Interestingly there were reports of a breakdown at the Lucas Height nuclear reactor in late June 2018.

    28th June 2018 – Breakdown at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney sparks fears of medical supplies shortage


    The facility’s production of 10,000 doses of technetium-99m per week for Australian patients has come to a halt. The products are used in nuclear imaging and are a vital diagnostic tool used in scans for heart, lung and musculoskeletal conditions, cancer and many other medical conditions.

    Engineers were not yet able to “physically attend to the conveyor” an ANSTO spokesman said, although they had been working on fixing the mechanical fault over the weekend.

    Nullschool 7th July wind chart for Caloundra,-32.79,1247

    Caloundra 24 hour 60 second sampling chart for the 7th July.

    A few days before the Caloundra detection, a contact in Tasmania informed me of spikes in their local background. Spikes in background in Tasmania were detected on two separate detectors. On the 4th July the Tasmanian wind direction source was also off the Australian mainland.

    Nullschool 4th July wind chart for Tasmania,-28.21,815/loc=146.465,4.276

    Tasmania, 4th July Background chart

    Tasmania, 6th July Background chart

    The Tasmanian monitoring station happened to have an air filter which was sent to me for testing and arrived a few day later.

    Below is the Tasmania filter test chart minus background tested using new Theremino PMT adapter equipment. If there was anything present it is below the resolution of the equipment here.

    Caloundra Water Tank Filter test
    Here is the latest Caloundra local water tank filter test of 45 grams of fine organic material minus background. The two prominent isotope peaks are for the isotopes of Lead-210, from Radon-222 decay, and Berryllium-7, from upper atmosphere spallation.


    The Caloundra and Tasmanian filter tests did not show anything significant, which points to radioactive short life volatile gases passing through. The most likely source of short life volatile radioactive gases in Australia would be the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney Australia. The circumstantial evidence points to venting occurring at the Lucas Heights facility, to fix the broken conveyor used in the production of Technetium-99m.

    Other possibilities are,

    Another source on the Australia mainland.
    An event somewhere else in the World or Fukushima.
    A secret device test in Australia.

    Were the Caloundra and Tasmanian detections just coincidental?

    Any suggestions or relevant information regarding these detections are welcome.


    July is winter here in the Southern Hemisphere. Since the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe in 2011, long term local data collection is showing an increase in winter local background levels.

    Caloundra July month average, year comparisons.

    2018 14% above pre-Fukushima average
    2017 17% above pre-Fukushima average
    2016 8% above pre-Fukushima average
    2015 5% above pre-Fukushima average
    2014 5% above pre-Fukushima average
    2013 6% above pre-Fukushima average
    2012 9% above pre-Fukushima average


    International Radiation Monitoring Station Updated

    Sites that were no longer operating have been removed, and new monitoring stations added.

    Disclaimer: This is an amateur volunteer run service. Human error can provide incorrect information, and equipment malfunction can produce false readings. Do not rely on, or take action upon information presented on this web site, without further research.

    Comment by Peter Daley | October 24, 2018 | Reply

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