UNRESTRICTED | ILLIMITÉ
NRU was designed to have the aluminum calandria vessel replaced. This was last done in in the early 1970s, when it took from June 5 1972 to August 2 1974 to replace the vessel and perform other refurbishment activities.
NRU’s future has been in a hiatus for several years, as it was intended to be shut permanently (in 2005?) when a new large research reactor was built. To design, build and install a new calandria vessel would take several years, so the current repairs are the only viable short-term solution to returning the reactor to service. Amongst other things, there is a large amount of piping and control systems that would require removal and subsequent restoration.
The NRU is perhaps symptomatic of our society – we rely on various systems that were built decades ago, with relatively little thought to the ongoing maintenance and replacement of them as they wear out. Governments (and the populace that elected them) seem more interested in supporting the construction/acquisition of highly visible new stuff (e.g., new airport terminals, expanded highways, new sports arenas), rather than maintaining/upgrading/replacing what we already have - sewers, bridges, water lines, schools, hospitals, roads, hydro lines, power stations, ...
How long would it take to procure/ fabricate/ install a new aluminum vessel for this reactor? Just a ballpark figure would do... it's going to be ~ 1 year for the (apparently) very comoplicted repair work... would it have been wise (maybe ion hindsight) top just replace the damn tank (as, I understand, it is designed to do?)
Chalk River nuclear reactor restart delayed
TORONTO, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Restart of the Chalk River nuclear reactor has been pushed into April after welding problems at the facility delayed repairs, its operator Atomic Energy of Canada said.
The reactor, which supplies a third of the world's medical isotopes, was shut down in May after a small leak of heavy water was found.
The facility was originally scheduled to return to service sometime in March.