Canadian NRU reactor needs repairs

The Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) has announced that as a result of the most recent data from the ongoing assessment of the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor condition and the development of a critical path for the various repair options, it is now clear that the Chalk River NRU will not return to service before late 2009. There is a leak site at the base of the reactor, which is approximately nine meters from the closest access location. More than 60% of the reactor vessel’s circumference has been surveyed using remote, non-destructive methods. The examination has revealed thinning of the wall at the leak site, and identified a total of nine areas of interest. AECL metallurgical and material experts are working with external engineering firms to determine the best methods for cleaning and repairing the reactor vessel. A decision on the repair method is expected in the next few weeks. Phase two of the return to service plan is estimated to take in the order of two months depending on the method determined, regulatory considerations, and further analysis of the extent of the repair required. Phase three, restarting and testing the reactor, is estimated to take an additional two months.
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