keith_nugent_webpic.jpgIn recent weeks the Australian Synchrotron has recorded some of its best performances in terms of making synchrotron light available to researchers for their experiments.

Like other synchrotrons around the world, we routinely collect statistics about our performance, such as the hours of synchrotron light we deliver compared to the hours of synchrotron light we’ve allocated for experiments. We calculate this ‘beam availability’ figure every day, looking back over the previous 16 weeks. In mid-June 2012, the AS achieved its best performance ever: 99.76 percent beam availability. Our machine reliability is right up there with the world’s best! (For those of you with an interest in the details, there is more information.)

This great result is partly due to the uninterruptible power supply we installed in January 2012, which enables AS operators and users to continue working through short-term power supply disruptions.

It is also due to the tireless efforts of AS physicists, operators, engineers and technicians, who are constantly working to address the causes of any downtime and quickly fixing faults when they do occur. The average time taken to fix any problems or faults that affect beam availability at the AS is well under an hour, enough time to enjoy a coffee and a chat with colleagues in the user lounge or stroll across to the new synchrotron cafe in the NCSS building for a snack or a light meal.

It is particularly challenging then, with such wonderful staff achievements, to have to grapple with the constraints imposed by our new operating budget. We have begun implementing some of the changes required to work within our constraints. While it is deeply unsettling to lose talented and hard-working colleagues, I know that the spirit and dedication of our staff will enable us to continue to deliver great outcomes.

Keith Nugent
Director, Australian Synchrotron