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Security at Australia’s Nuclear Facility

Security at Australia’s Nuclear Facility

ANSTO* would like to reassure members of the community that men arrested in relation to terrorism last week did not enter its site at any time and the integrity of the facility’s security was not compromised. ANSTO’s security is taken very seriously and is kept to the highest possible standard, meeting international best practice as determined by its regulators and agencies such as ASIO.

There are a range of security precautions at ANSTO that apply a defence-in-depth approach, including checkpoints and barriers, security cameras and an electronic pass system. It is staffed by armed security personnel 24-7, making it a particularly hard target for terrorists.

It was revealed in court today that three of the men recently arrested on terrorist charges were previously questioned by police near the ANSTO site and the lock on a gate to fencing of a water reservoir had been cut. The fencing was around Sydney Water Board reservoir and not part of the ANSTO site. The water reservoir is located within the ANSTO buffer zone but some hundreds of metres from the ANSTO site and is not owned or operated by ANSTO.

At the time of the questioning Australian Federal Police did not see these men as posing a threat to the community or ANSTO. The area where the men’s car was noticed is regularly used by the public for trail bike riding and bushwalking. Police notified ANSTO of the incident at the time.

Australian intelligence services and police fully inform ANSTO of relevant national security issues such as terrorist threats. ANSTO has full confidence in the advice it receives from these agencies. Further, the Australian Federal Police have advised that they have no information relating to a specific planned attack (i.e. date, time and place), and have not advised ANSTO to increase current security levels.

ANSTO is Australia’s only nuclear facility operating a small research reactor with a core the size of a small washing machine. The amount of uranium it uses for fuel is small – enough to fill a coffee cup.

The key products ANSTO makes are radioisotopes for industry and radiopharmaceuticals for nuclear medicine, supplying 70 per cent of Australia with these life saving tools. It also carries out research into materials, the environment and medicine.

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