NRU Status Update No. 60

AECL provides update on NRU activities

CHALK RIVER, ON, June 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 reports that one hundred per cent (100%) of the NRU weld repairs are now complete. During the past week, the repair team completed the finishing weld and a series of non-destructive examinations (NDE) of the final repair site. A review of the NDE results has confirmed that all requirements for the final repair have been met. This completes the repair phase of the NRU reactor that began on December 12, 2009.

Final vacuuming of the vessel will be completed later this week, followed by a hand over of the NRU reactor from the Repair team to the Return-to-Service team.

Activities related to the start-up phase of the NRU return-to-service project are ongoing in parallel to repair closeout activities. Part of the Return-to-Service project's plan includes reactivating the NRU's auxiliary operating systems. To date, 23 of the 35 NRU systems are now in service.

Information on the transition from the NRU repair program to preparing the reactor for restart can be seen in a new video posted on NRUCanada.ca. In this video update, Restart Project Director Michael DeVerno explains how the restart team is focused on the synchronized execution of the 3,000+ activities that must be completed prior to returning the NRU to service.

With the NRU repairs complete, AECL applied to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to hold a public hearing to consider its application for the restart of the NRU reactor. A hearing date has been scheduled for June 28, 2010. AECL's submission and CNSC staff's recommendations to be considered at the hearing can be requested through the CNSC at www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca.

Activities related to restarting the NRU reactor after an extended shutdown period have been defined in the "Protocol for the NRU Restart Licensing Activities" established by the CNSC and AECL in August 2009, and later revised in January 2010. The Protocol outlines the administrative framework, milestones and service standards for the licensing activities required for restarting the NRU reactor after the repair of the reactor vessel. A link to the Protocol 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 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.

The first medical isotopes will begin to be removed from the NRU for processing and distribution within 10 days of the reactor being returned to service.

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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