Refurbishment of the world’s first CANDU 6 reactor, the Point Lepreau Generating Station in New Brusnswick, Canada is three-quarters complete, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited has said.

The first work sequence of the reactor reassembly activities is the installation of the new calandria tubes in the reactor vessel. The tubes were installed in April 2010, however the work has encountered challenges with the seal tightness of some of the new tubes not meeting the acceptance criteria standards. AECL has been conducting assessments and tests on a number of potential technical solutions in order to create tight seal joints that will meet these standards in all cases.

In their latest project update AECL and plant operator NB Power did not give a completion date for the retube activities. This schedule was last revised in September 2009; when AECL put the completion date for its retube activities to October 2010. It has since stated that this completion date is no longer achievable and that a schedule will be outlined once the project plan has been finalised.

Two videos have been created to provide detailed information on the status of the project. video-execution-of-tight-seals-on-calandria-tubes and video-calandria-tube-testing-programme In each video, members of the refurbishment project team explain the challenges with creating tight seal joints and the solutions that are being demonstrated in the laboratory. The refurbishment team, lead by AECL, also includes a number of staff members assigned by NB Power.

Work to prepare for the fuel channel installation sequence is ongoing, in parallel to the completion of the calandria tube installation.

Both NB Power and AECL continue to work diligently to complete the project activities in as short a time as possible. Once refurbishment is complete the plant should be able to operate safely for 25-30 years, supplying 35% of the in-province electricity need.

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