Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's ACR-1000 Reactor Eligible to Proceed to Next Step in UK Nuclear New Build Pre-Licensing



    MISSISSAUGA, ON, March 27 /CNW/ - Britain's nuclear regulators have
approved Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's Advanced CANDU Reactor(R)
(ACR-1000(R)) design as eligible to proceed to the next step in the UK's
nuclear new build pre-licensing program.
    "The UK regulators in this stage of their analysis have found no safety,
security or environment shortfalls that would rule out the ACR-1000 for
construction in the UK," said AECL President and Chief Executive Officer Hugh
MacDiarmid. "This is excellent news for AECL as it confirms that the ACR-1000
is ready for the marketplace and will meet the expectations of our customers."
    AECL's ACR-1000 is one of four technologies being assessed in the UK's
Generic Design Assessment (GDA), a pre-licensing process that is being managed
by the UK's nuclear regulators in order to establish candidates for a new
generation of nuclear power plants to replace most of Britain's aging fleet of
19 reactors.
    The UK's largest union, Unite, has expressed their support for AECL's
ACR-1000 publicly and to the UK government through a letter to Prime Minister
Gordon Brown, which cites that the ACR-1000 has greater supply chain benefits
than its competitors' technologies - including a reactor design that can be
readily manufactured - and offers greater opportunities for jobs and skill
development than its competitors.

    About the Pre-Licensing Process

    The UK nuclear regulators - the Health and Safety Executive and the
Environment Agency - developed the GDA process, which is being conducted
through a Joint Programme Office.
    The GDA allows technical assessments of the reactors to be conducted
using a four-step process before specific nuclear site licence assessments are
undertaken.
    Step 1 involved the preparatory part of the design assessment process,
including participation in the UK regulators' ongoing public consultation
process.
    During this latest Step 2, the Health and Safety Executive and the
Environment Agency carried out preliminary assessments of the fundamental
acceptability of the ACR-1000 design concept within the UK regulatory regime,
considering safety and security, and environment aspects of the design,
respectively.
    In their report, the Environment Agency found no "matters within the
submission that are obviously unacceptable," and indicated that they had "not
identified any significant design modifications that are likely to be needed
before we could issue a permit."
    The HSE report, meanwhile, indicated "that AECL has a well-defined
ACR-1000 project organisation, with about 500 staff supporting the project on
a full-time basis, and a related quality management system, which is developed
from and linked to mature corporate quality assurance arrangements."
    The HSE reported in its summary, "We have not found any safety or
security shortfalls that are so serious as to rule out at this stage eventual
construction of the ACR-1000 on licensed sites in the UK. As a result of our
assessment, we see no reason why ACR-1000 should not progress to GDA Step 3."
    Step 3 involves a safety and security assessment by HSE of the proposed
reactor designs at the system level. In parallel, the Environment Agency will
proceed to a detailed assessment stage.
    The UK government is expected, by May 2008, to give priority to the three
designs that will continue in Step 3 of the GDA process, as per its January
2008 White Paper on Nuclear Power.

    About AECL

    Atomic Energy of Canada Limited is a full service nuclear technology
company providing services to nuclear utilities around the world. Established
in 1952, AECL is the designer and builder of CANDU technology including the
CANDU 6, one of the world's top-performing reactors. AECL's 4,800 employees
deliver cutting edge nuclear services, R&D support, design, and engineering,
construction management, specialized technology, refurbishment, waste
management and decommissioning in support of CANDU reactor products. We work
in partnership with our customers to provide clean, safe, reliable and
affordable energy solutions.
    More information on AECL's UK submission and CANDU technology can be
found at www.aecl-uk.co.uk or www.aecl.ca





For further information:

For further information: Dale Coffin, Director, Corporate
Communications, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, (905) 403-7457,
1-866-886-2325

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