NRU reactor ready for service



    "Absolute and unwavering commitment to safety"

    CHALK RIVER, ON, Dec. 13 /CNW/ - Operations staff at Atomic Energy of
Canada Limited (AECL) Chalk River Laboratories have initiated procedures to
restart the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor.
    AECL anticipates that it will be producing medical isotopes within seven
to eight days. NRU provides medical isotopes for about 25 million diagnoses
and treatments a year.
    As of December 11, AECL employees had completed the installation and
commissioning of the DC motor starter for pump P-105. The motor starter
components for pump P-104 have been delivered to Chalk River and work is
proceeding.
    "We are constantly improving NRU to operate ever more safely. The NRU
reactor has operated safely in the past, and is safer now than it has ever
been. AECL has an absolute and unwavering commitment to safety," said AECL's
President, Research and Technology Division, Dr. David Torgerson. "The
government's independent review also confirmed that NRU would operate safely.
I have total confidence in the men and women operating NRU, and we will
continue to operate NRU with a total commitment to safety."
    AECL is committed to working collaboratively with the Canadian Nuclear
Safety Commission (CNSC) staff and remains in constant communication with the
CNSC and the Government of Canada.
    With the upgrade completed on P-105, the NRU reactor is now equipped with
more advanced safety technologies than at any other point during its 50 years
of operation. The upgrade on pump P-105 constitutes an additional backup power
supply that is seismically qualified.

    Background on NRU Safety Systems

    The NRU reactor has eight independent main cooling pumps. In addition to
the regular power supply, four of these pumps have a DC motor connected to
backup power supplies - the normal backup supply. Two of those pumps, P-104 &
P-105, are used to provide emergency core cooling and are to be connected to
an additional back-up power supply, known as the Emergency Power Supply (EPS).
The EPS is one of the seven safety upgrades to NRU and has operated well since
installation was completed two years ago. P-105 connections to EPS are
complete.
    EPS consists of back-up diesel generators and battery banks, qualified to
withstand certain types of accidents, such as major earthquakes. If such an
event were to occur and the normal power supply and the regular backup power
were to fail, then EPS and the qualified motor starters would supply power to
the pumps, ensuring adequate cooling of the fuel. This is a clear example of
our defence-in-depth approach to safe reactor operation.
    AECL will provide regular updates throughout the start up process.




For further information:

For further information: Dale Coffin, Director, Corporate
Communications, AECL, (905) 403-7457

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