NRU Status Update No. 63

AECL provides update on NRU activities

CHALK RIVER, ON, June 30 /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 the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) has completed its inspections and assessments of the NRU weld repairs and the vessel's fitness-for-service. The inspections included a detailed visual examination of the exterior of the vessel wall using a remote high-resolution camera. Some of the TSSA examinations had been conducted prior to the seismic event that occurred on June 23. These examinations were repeated with no changes detected. The TSSA inspection was signed off as the final qualification of the vessel repair.

Additional inspections were undertaken by AECL to assess the presence of trace amounts of airborne tritium in the annulus space. This included draining the NRU vessel in order to conduct visual inspections of the inside of the vessel. No imperfections were detected.

Based on the Non-Destructive Examinations (NDE), as well as the visual inspections of the repair regions and the successful leak check, AECL has concluded that the NRU vessel can now be returned-to-service.

AECL will be appearing before the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) in a public hearing to consider AECL's application for the restart of NRU. The hearing will be held July 05, 2010, at 2:30 p.m. at the CNSC Public Hearing Room, 14th floor, 280 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario. Details on the hearing can be found on the CNSC website:

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.

Part of the Return-to-Service project's plan includes reactivating the NRU's auxiliary operating systems. To date, 26 of the 35 NRU systems are now in service.

CNSC safety inspectors continue to provide independent regulatory oversight of AECL activities at the Chalk River site.

The NRU continues to be in a safe shutdown state with return-to-service activities in progress.

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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