NRU Status Report No. 34

AECL provides update on NRU activities

CHALK RIVER, ON, Dec. 16 /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 confirms that the first weld build-up repair on the NRU reactor vessel was performed on December 12th. The weld repair was conducted remotely by operating the welding equipment from a position of approximately 30 feet above the location of the repair site.

Non-destructive examinations of the weld repair are nearing completion and will determine the quality of the weld repair. Preparations are underway to conduct a repair weld at a second site.

Additional welding equipment to be deployed later in the repair program arrived at the Chalk River site this week. Training and qualification in the use of the new welding equipment is ongoing using full height mock-ups of the NRU vessel.

More information on the return to service of NRU is available at NRUCanada.ca, including two new video updates from AECL President and CEO Hugh MacDiarmid and representatives of Liburdi Automation Inc., the vendor company developing the weld-repair tool. In these videos, viewers can see the NRU mock-ups constructed at Chalk River Laboratories and at Liburdi Automation Inc.'s Dundas, Ontario facility. Mr. MacDiarmid outlines the AECL/Liburdi partnership and how the capabilities of both organizations are keeping the NRU return-to-service plan on track.

Guidance on the duration of the shutdown continues to be founded on the best evidence available, including the most up-to-date analysis of the inspection data, progress on repair strategies, and critical path requirements for restart after an extended shutdown. At this time, the application of the band weld build-up technique, and the number of identified repair sites indicates the NRU will return to service by the end of March (first calendar quarter) of 2010. Further guidance on a return-to-service date will be provided when more information becomes available.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission 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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