AECL provides update on NRU activities

CHALK RIVER, ON, May 19 /CNW/ - The following information bulletin is in accordance with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's (AECL) ongoing commitment to voluntary public disclosure of events related to the Chalk River Laboratories (CRL).

AECL reports that work on the final repair site has commenced and to date 77 per cent of the NRU weld repairs and associated Non-Destructive Examinations (NDE) have been completed. The repair phase of the project began on December 12, 2009 and nine of ten sites have been repaired.

Weld reliability testing in the NRU mock-ups for the final repair site is now complete. The remote repair equipment has been relocated into the NRU reactor vessel and work on the final repair is underway. The final repair employs a combination of multiple weld sequences. To date the repair site has been cleaned and the first of the weld sequences, the attachment of nine aluminum plates to the repair site, is nearing completion. Repair activities continue.

Activities related to the start-up phase of the NRU return-to-service project are ongoing in parallel to repair activities. The multi-stage return-to-service process is being conducted by a dedicated team working in parallel with the repair team. There are 19 start-up procedures involving more than 1,000 subset activities required to safely return the reactor to high power.

More information on the return to service of the NRU is available at NRUCanada.ca.

Guidance on the duration of the shutdown continues to be founded on the best evidence available, including the most up-to-date analysis of inspection data, progress on repair strategies and critical path requirements for restart after an extended shutdown. It is estimated that NRU will resume isotope production by the end of July. Further guidance on the return-to-service date will be provided when more information becomes available.

AECL is working diligently to return the NRU to service as quickly and safely as possible. Efforts are being driven by more than 300 highly qualified AECL staff and industry partners involved in the vessel repairs and return-to-service activities.

The CNSC safety inspectors continue to provide independent regulatory oversight of AECL activities at the Chalk River site.

There is no threat to workers, the public, the environment or nuclear safety related to this event.

SOURCE Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

For further information: For further information: Dale Coffin, Director, Corporate Communications, AECL, 1-866-886-2325

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