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Optimal placement of protection devices and distributed generators (DGs) in radial feeders is important to ensure power system reliability. Distributed generation is being adopted in distribution networks with one of the objectives being enhancement of system reliability. In this paper, an ant colony system algorithm is used to derive the optimal recloser and DG placement scheme for radial distribution networks. A composite reliability index is used as the objective function in the optimization procedure. Simulations are carried out based on two practical distribution systems to validate the effectiveness of the proposed method. Furthermore, comparative studies in relation to genetic algorithm are also conducted.