More preparation needed for NRU repair

11 March 2010

Canada’s NRU reactor will not return to service until the second half of May, because additional preparation is needed before complex, first-of-a-kind repair work can go ahead, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd said yesterday.

Preparations for the final repair sequence, the most complex stage of project, are continuing. The final stage will incorporate the installation of plates welded to the vessel wall combined with the application of horizontal weld build-up. The project team is working with third-party experts to finalize detailed repair procedures and welders are practicing techniques on a mock-up of the NRU vessel.

“The very complex nature of the remaining repairs requires that extra precautions be taken. Each of these repairs presents unique and more difficult challenges that require first-of-a-kind technical solutions. To ensure that the repair process itself does not cause damage to the vessel an additional level of preparation is necessary to programme the welding sequences and to qualify the welders,” AECL said.

"This additional preparation and repair work has added to the time required to return NRU to service. As a result, the current return-to-service is projected to be during the second half of May 2010," it added in a 10 May statement.

So far, 46% of reactor vessel repair activities have been completed since the repair process began in December. 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.

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