NRU Status Report No. 28

AECL provides update on NRU activities

CHALK RIVER, ON, Nov. 4 /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 first set of welding tools and equipment, developed in partnership by AECL and Liburdi Engineering of Dundas, Ontario, has arrived at the Chalk River Laboratories. The tools and equipment will be used to perform the weld repair on the NRU reactor vessel.

Over the next week, the equipment will be set up in the full height mock-up located in the NRX facility. AECL employees who had relocated to Dundas to train with Liburdi welders on the welding tools, returned to Chalk River this week to continue their preparations and practice using the equipment for use in the NRU. This marks the final stage of welder training and preparation for the initial conduct of welding in the vessel.

In parallel to weld preparations, analysis of samples obtained from the vessel wall last week continues. These samples are being used for welding trials and for assessing the condition of the vessel. The information obtained from the analysis will assist the team in perfecting the weld repair.

More information on the return to service of the NRU is available at NRUCanada.ca, including two new video updates by AECL's Chief Nuclear Officer, Bill Pilkington, and AECL's Manager of Resourcing & Training, Tina Shorter. The videos provide viewers with an overview of the operations strategy developed at Chalk River Laboratories to perform the NRU repair as well as outline the extent to which the organization is training its employees on the use of the repair tooling.

Evidence collected to-date continues to support AECL's view that the necessary vessel repairs can be made and that the NRU will be safely returned to service.

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 during the 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. AECL will appear before the Commission on November 5, 2009 to provide an update on the NRU repair and return to service status.

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, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, 1-866-886-2325

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