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Growing and investing in the ANSTO research and innovation precinct

Planning Priority S7

Innovation precincts are important contributors to economic productivity due to the agglomeration effects of co-locating scientific, research, health, education, technical and start-up businesses to achieve critical mass and international competitiveness.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) is at the forefront of Australia’s nuclear science research and has the potential to secure Greater Sydney as a global leader in nuclear science research. The 100-hectare site at Lucas Heights includes the Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL) reactor, one of the most advanced nuclear research reactors in the world. ANSTO’s 1,000-strong staff deliver world-class research and nuclear innovation, particularly in nuclear medicine.

ANSTO has plans for a research and innovation precinct containing a graduate institute, innovation incubator and technology park. The precinct would attract and co-locate scientific partners, small to medium size enterprises, high-tech industry and research graduates to create an innovation community.

A new nuclear processing plant is under construction, enabling ANSTO to supply up to 25 per cent of the global demand for molybdenum-99, the most commonly used nuclear medicine. ANSTO, through providing silicon irradiation services for manufacturers of silicon wafers, supplies almost 50 per cent of the global market for wafers. Silicon wafers are used in high-end electronic switching devices for applications such as power infrastructure, high-speed trains, electric cars and wind turbines8.

ANSTO undertakes important research in three main streams: nuclear fuel cycle, the environment and human health. It has established partnerships with universities within Australia and internationally, as well as with numerous international research organisations.

ANSTO’s research and innovation precinct will include the world’s first nuclear science and technology incubator, and be a centre for knowledge exchange, commercialisation of research, innovation and business support for small to medium enterprises. ANSTO’s graduate institute program for postgraduate training and development for students links education, research and industry and focuses on technology development and innovation. Several universities in ANSTO’s existing collaborative network of 40 Australian and New Zealand universities have expressed interest in the ANSTO graduate institute.

Providing facilities and supporting amenities in a technology park will encourage business and technology development to co-locate on one campus, creating links between industry and research.

Improving access to ANSTO is a challenge due to the buffer around the nuclear facility which keeps it relatively isolated. An innovation precinct at Lucas Heights requires enhanced transport and infrastructure, including:

  • improved key transport connections to link planned economic activity at ANSTO with trade gateways and health and education facilities across Greater Sydney, and to improve access for workers
  • investigation into the need for investment in essential infrastructure including water, sewer, stormwater, electricity, gas and telecommunications.

ANSTO research partnerships

ANSTO has established partnerships with universities and research organisations within Australia and internationally. The agreements include information exchange, staff exchange, cooperative projects, access to large-scale facilities and overseas research programs. Joint activities strengthen research to advance science, technology and innovation.

Research partners

Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology
Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility
Collaborating Research Centre for Polymers
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Defence Science and Technology Organisation
National Imaging Facility
National Measurement Institute

University partners

Curtin University of Technology
University of Sydney
Flinders University
Macquarie University
Monash University
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
University of Auckland
University of Melbourne
University of New South Wales
University of Queensland
University of Tasmania
University of Technology, Sydney
Western Sydney University
University of Wollongong

International partners

Argonne National Laboratory (US)
Budapest Neutron Centre
Chinese Academy of Sciences
China Institute of Atomic Energy
Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique (France)
European Organisation of Nuclear Research – CERN
French Embassy
Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin
Indonesian National Nuclear Energy Agency BATAN
Institut de la Radioprotection et Sûreté Nucléaire
Institute of Environmental Science and Research (New Zealand)
Institute for Energy and Transport (JRC-IET)
Institut Laue Langevin, Grenoble, France
Institute of Solid State Physics, University of Tokyo
International Atomic Energy Agency
J-PARC Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex
Japan Atomic Energy Agency
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
KEK High Energy Research organisation, Japan
Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute
Korean Nuclear International Cooperation Foundation
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory (US)
National Central University of Taiwan
National Institute for Materials Science in Japan
National Institute of Standards and Technology (US)
National Nuclear Laboratory (UK)
National Research Council of Canada
National Science Council, Taiwan
NMI3 – Integrated Infrastructure Initiative for Neutron Scattering and Muon Spectroscopy
Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa
Oak Ridge National Lab (US)
Office of the Chief Science & Technology Officer of Singapore
Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland)
Riken Spring-8 Centre (Japan)
Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (China)
Universiti Teknologi Mara, Malaysia

Source: http://www.ansto.gov.au/AboutANSTO/Partnerships/index. htm#research, accessed 29 August 2017

Figure 16: ANSTO Collaboration Area

A map showing the location of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation ANSTO collaboration area, Heathcote Road, New Illawarra Road and the Woronora River.
Download this image south_figure_16.png (format PNG / 603 KB )

The ANSTO innovation and research precinct requires a partnership between multiple tiers of government to realise its full potential as an economic catalyst in the District. For this reason, it is identified as a Collaboration Area (refer to Figure 16).

The Commission will facilitate collaboration between ANSTO; Sutherland Shire Council; NSW Department of Health; Transport for NSW; the NSW Department of Industry, Skills and Regional Development; the Australian Government; other institutions and agencies; and the community.

This will develop and agree a shared vision, commitments and appropriate phasing and delivery of infrastructure to:

  • enhance ANSTO’s economic and employment role
  • retain the site for employment and complementary uses
  • improve transport connections between the ANSTO facility, trade gateways and health and education facilities across Greater Sydney
  • provide essential infrastructure to support the innovation precinct.

Facilitate an innovation precinct that:

a. attracts associated businesses, industries and commercialisation of research
b. delivers high levels of accessibility, walkability and amenity
c. includes housing opportunities for students and workers within 30 minutes of the precinct.

ANSTO, councils, other planning authorities and State agencies 


Deliver and implement an Infrastructure Plan for the ANSTO innovation precinct.

ANSTO, Greater Sydney Commission, Sutherland Shire Council and State agencies