NRU Status Report No. 48

AECL provides update on NRU activities

CHALK RIVER, ON, March 25 /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).

The repair phase of the project began on December 12, 2009. AECL has successfully completed eight of ten weld site repairs representing more than half (56%) of the repair work necessary in order to return the NRU to service.

The size and location of the two remaining repair sites make these final sequences particularly challenging. For each of these repairs, four distinct phases of work must be completed in sequence: weld development; welder qualification and reliability; integration testing; and, the actual repair itself. In light of this complexity, and the accumulated experience from the repair work completed to date, it became evident that the schedule needed to be revised.

AECL, with the advice of outside experts, has conducted a thorough review of the schedule with the result that it is now projected that the NRU will resume isotope supply by the end of July. The new schedule has built in prudent contingency reflecting the difficulty inherent in these final repairs.

For the first of the remaining sites, the project team is nearing completion of welder qualification and repairs are expected to begin within the next week. For the final repair site, the first phase, weld development, is underway. Regular progress updates will continue to be provided based on the revised schedule.

AECL is making every effort to return the NRU to service as quickly and safely as possible. More resources are being applied to the project including additional aluminum welding specialists and other technical expertise to support this around-the-clock, seven-day-a-week activity.

More information on the return-to-service of the NRU is available at NRUCanada.ca, including two new video updates posted today. Project Director Dave Cox provides viewers with a summary of the weld repair methods being developed for the final two repair sites and Gina Strati, Manager of AECL's Mechanical Equipment Development Branch, outlines the design and development of the various custom tools used to inspect and clean the reactor vessel and to apply the weld repairs to the NRU vessel.

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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