AECL provides update on NRU activities

    CHALK RIVER, ON, Aug. 19 /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

    The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has determined that
Commission approval will be required prior to AECL re-fuelling the reactor. As
a result, AECL and the CNSC signed the "Protocol for the NRU Restart Licensing
Activities" on August 14. The Protocol, signed jointly by CNSC President & CEO
Michael Binder and AECL President & CEO Hugh MacDiarmid, outlines the
administrative framework, milestones and service standards for the licensing
activities required for restarting the NRU reactor. The Protocol is posted at
    The Mark II Non-Destructive Examination (NDE) inspection tool has been
deployed and examination of the previously inaccessible part of the vessel is
now underway. The data received from the Mark II scans is being reviewed in
parallel with the scan activity.
    Work continues with specialized vendors on proving repair tooling designs
and fabrication of the equipment. Qualification testing of the repair tools
will be required following manufacture.
    Testing of the repair process and special tools will be carried out on
the full height mock-up now fully constructed in the former NRX facility at
Chalk River Laboratories. The mock-up is now being used to test the
specialized tools designed to perform vessel cleaning and the removal of
material samples for analysis.
    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 repair sites, indicates the
NRU will return to service during Q1 2010. Further guidance on a return to
service date will be provided when more information becomes available.
    Evidence collected to date continues to support AECL's view that the
necessary vessel repairs can be made and that NRU will be returned to service.
    AECL continues to work very closely with the Canadian Nuclear Safety
Commission (CNSC), and CNSC safety inspectors are directly involved at the
Chalk River site. There is no threat to workers, the public, the environment
or nuclear safety related to this event. More information on the repair and
status updates on the NRU is available at

For further information:

For further information: Dale Coffin, Director, Corporate
Communications, AECL, 1-866-886-(AECL) 2325

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