By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

August 16, 2018 -- Want to tour a nuclear reactor from the comfort of your home or office? The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO) is offering virtual reality tours of its Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL) reactor.

For security reasons, few people have had the chance to see the OPAL reactor up close, ANSTO noted. But thanks to virtual reality technology, anyone can now take a "deep dive" into Australia's only nuclear reactor.

Participants in the virtual reality tour can take one of three journeys of a neutron, the subatomic particle at the core of the OPAL reactor, which splits uranium atoms to generate trillions of neutrons a second for a variety of uses.

One of these uses is for nuclear medicine, and the OPAL reactor is a key linchpin in the global supply network for radioisotopes such as molybdenum-99, the precursor to technetium-99m, which is widely used in nuclear cardiology procedures. ANSTO is resuming shipments of technetium-99m generators after a shutdown of several weeks that occurred when a conveyor belt at a facility next to the reactor malfunctioned.

To take the virtual reality tour, download an app for either iOS or Android smartphones.


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