Welcome to The Atom, the newsletter of the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Radiation Research Education and Innovation.

Welcome to our first newsletter!

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you all to our very first CRREI newsletter. We look forward to this newsletter being a key way for CRREI and its stakeholders to communicate activities to the wider radiation user community.

CRREI has a sizable portfolio of projects underway across multiple disciplines; we hope to share with you these projects and their progress over the coming months. CRREI encourages collaboration across all radiation-interested groups, so please don’t be shy in reaching out!

A reminder to people within SA, or those visiting; we hold a ‘Radiation Lunch’ once a month to which we cordially invite anybody with an interest in radiation. This is a great opportunity for the local radiation community to catch up in person and to discuss what we are doing, and also provide opportunities to discuss collaborations. Details of how to get onto the mailing list are below.

We hope you enjoy this first edition of The Atom Newsletter.  

Thanks for reading.

Associate Professor Tony Hooker and Professor Nigel Spooner


Update on the situation at Fukushima

The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident in 2011 caused widespread international attention, being the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. Twelve years on, the Fukushima disaster still attracts international attention with the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Japanese Government planning to dispose of the 1.3million metric tons of contaminated water held on site into the Pacific Ocean.

The Centre for Radiation Research Education and Innovation’s (CRREI) Associate Professor Tony Hooker has been advising the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) as a part of a five-man scientific panel, assessing the proposed release of radioactive water from Fukushima.

He recently travelled with the PIF and members of the scientific panel to Fukushima to visit the TEPCO facility as well as meet with TEPCO and the Japan Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA). The team also visited Fukushima to see first-hand the work currently being proposed.

TEPCO and the Japanese Government’s plan is to clean the water using the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS).

The aim is to remove as many of the 64 radionuclides from the water and leave behind primarily tritium. The tritiated water will then be further diluted using seawater before being disposed 1 km off the Fukushima coast.

The Japanese Government has chosen at the point of release the concentration of tritium in the water will be 1,500 Bq per litre, which is well below the recommended limit set by the World Health Organisation for drinking water (10,000 Bq/L).

Associate Professor Hooker and the Pacific Island Forum are looking to understand and test the assumptions and decisions made by TEPCO and the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).

Work is still underway analysing the scientific data provided by TEPCO and NRA to determine: the radioanalytical analysis of the water being held in storage at Fukushima, the efficacy of the ALPS and the Radiation Environmental Impact Assessment.

Members of the scientific panel also recently travelled to Nadi, Fiji to brief the Pacific Island Leaders at their Senior Leaders Forum on the outcomes so far from the engagement with Japan and the IAEA. Panel members met with a number of prime ministers, ministers for foreign affairs and senior government officials.

The panel’s work has generated significant media interest from around the world and members have written several articles and undertaken TV media interviews.

Further engagement with the Japanese government, TEPCO and the IAEA is ongoing.

L to R: Sione Tekiteki (Pacific Islands Forum), Associate Professor Tony Hooker, Dr Robert Richmond (University of Hawaii), Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress (James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies)

Certification in Radiation Management

Our next cohort of graduates are emerging from the Graduate Certificate in Radiation Management (GCRM) with the current crop of students entering their final semester of study ahead of graduating in July.

The GCRM commenced in July 2022 with the aim of meeting the demand for qualified radiation management professionals in workplaces and industrial sites with an emphasis on mining, industrial, scientific, regulatory and security sectors.

CRREI’s Radiation Management courses focuses on providing graduates with the knowledge and experience to supervise and manage radiation safety in environments where exposure to ionising and non-ionising radiation occurs, and to manage safety in accordance with regulatory requirements and international standards.

The courses include:

• Radioactivity, Radiation Detection and Dosimetry

• Radiation Biology and Incident Response

• Radiation Management and Regulatory Control

• Radiation Safety in The Workplace

Offered over six-months (full-time) one-year (part-time), the program includes online lectures and tutorials along with compulsory on-campus, week-long practical components for each course. This method of delivery enables individuals to access the course content from remote locations and outside their work hours.

The courses will be re-opened in early 2024 in line with the academic year and are eligible to graduates of a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field of study or equivalent work experience in a relevant area.

With our vision of being an internationally recognised centre for advancement of radiation research, education, training and innovation, applications are now open for our next generation of radiation safety officers and radiation consultants in Australia.

For further enquiries visit: or contact: or


Radiation Analytical Services Offered

CRREI offers a range of radioanalytical services, providing South Australia’s own commercial high throughput radioanalytical facility in collaboration with the Prescott Environmental Luminescence Laboratory.

Our well-equipped radioanalytical facilities include a range of studying resources including, gamma-ray spectrometry, alpha-particle spectroscopy, alpha-particle counting, alpha-particle autoradiography, radiation-sensitive optical fibre arrays and radiation monitoring.

Our mission is to deliver creative, timely solutions and services to the many industries involved in radiation-related activities, with our expert staff having the capabilities to offer:

  • Radionuclide assays of ore and products for mining and mineral processing

  • Analysis of medical isotopes

  • Environmental radiological assessment

  • Retrospective dosimetry

  • Nuclear forensics

  • OSL and TL Research and Development using optical fibre technologies to create new radiation dosimetry/detectors

  • Geochronology for earth sciences, archaeology and palaeontology using optical dating and thermoluminescence dating

  • Food irradiation testing

  • Biological and materials analysis

Additionally, we are delighted to have recently purchased a Mirion 6LB low background alpha/beta counting system, furthering our capabilities and the services we can provide. The device uses Gas Flow Proportional Counting (GFPC), the preferred analysis instrument for beta measurements.

The GFPC’s unique combination of low background and high efficiency make it ideal for a variety of sample types including air filters, water samples, swipe/smears, soil samples, and many others.

To find out more about the radionuclide analysis capabilities of CCREI visit: or

First in Australia Food Irradiation Technology

Irradiation is known to be used to illegally mask poor microbiological quality of foods, however we have no way of testing this in Australia until now.

CRREI under the expertise of Professor Nigel Spooner is set to become the first laboratory in Australia to establish Food Irradiation Testing capabilities with the recent arrival of specialised radiation detection equipment.

The University of Adelaide recently provided funding to purchase radiation detection kits which will allow our team to determine the irradiation levels of food products such as shellfish, tea, herbs and spices, meat (bone), biogenic carbonate and sugar.

This means CRREI will be able to:

  • Detect irradiation used as spoilage masking on imported food products;

  • Monitor of food to ensure compliance with regulations and;

  • Provide certification of non-irradiation Australian food for export market access.

Food irradiation within specific doses is permitted in Australia for certain fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices for the purpose of pest disinfestation, sprout control, and bacterial decontamination.

But regulations regarding irradiated food products varies in different countries potentially causing market access issues for the exportation of Australian products.

With more equipment set to arrive in the future, watch this space.

Research Focus

Radon Research

Chronic exposure to inhaled radon gas is estimated to cause 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States annually, making it the second leading cause of lung cancer and the leading cause of lung cancer in never smokers.

In 2022, CRREI’s Associate Professor Hooker along with Flinders University’s Associate Professor Dani Dixon, the University of Utah’s Dr Aria Vaishnavi and Professor Martin McMahon successfully obtained a US Lung Cancer Research Foundation (USLCRF) grant entitled, “Elucidating the Molecular Mechanisms of Radon-Induced Lung Cancer through a Novel Mouse Model”.

At present, the precise molecular, cellular and genetic changes that occur in the lung epithelium following chronic radon exposure are poorly characterised.

There is a critical knowledge gap with no reliable methods to identify radon-induced lung cancer in patients.

Using our Small Animal Radon Facility, a transgenic mouse model which mimics human lung cancer will be exposed to long term (6+ months) radon gas and particulates. The goal will be to identity any molecular, cellular and genetic changes that occur in the lung following chronic exposure to levels of radon.

In order to consolidate the radiation biology program within CRREI, our Small Animal Radon Facility was recently moved from Flinders University to the University of Adelaide. We thank our colleagues Dr James McEvoy-May, Peter Haigh and Andrew Johnston for supervising the shift. The radon chamber is now being recommissioned prior to the above experiments commencing.

The results from this pilot study are envisaged to be part of a longer-term project funded by the USLCRF.

Radiation Events

Radiation Lunch

CRREI invites everyone interested in, or working with, radiation to come along to our Radiation Lunch, held on the first Wednesday of each month at The Griffins Hotel, Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide.

These events are a fantastic opportunity to meet, connect and network with people from diverse backgrounds including research, medical, mining and regulatory services.

If you are interested in attending, please add your name to our Radiation Lunch mailing list via

And please, make sure you RSVP to ensure we can accommodate everyone.

Upcoming Radiation Related Conferences

If you are aware of any other conferences, please let us know so we can advertise.

For further information contact:

Associate Professor Tony Hooker


Mob: +61 439 961 018

Professor Nigel Spooner


Mob: +61 448 367 101