Canadian isotope production restarts

18 December 2007

Canada's National Research Universal reactor (NRU) returned to service in the early hours of 16 December, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) has confirmed. The removal of medical isotopes for processing and distribution was expected to begin within four days of the restart. The reactor, at the Chalk River site, was shut down for scheduled maintenance on 6 December but AECL opted to extend the outage after the country's nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), found out that safety upgrades mandated over a year previously had not been implemented. The extended shutdown triggered a crisis in the supply of medical isotopes both in Canada and around the world, and resulted in the Canadian government overruling the CNSC and ordering an early restart. AECL partially completed the required work before Sunday's restart, and assured the government that the reactor could operate safely in an interim configuration while the rest of the upgrade work is carried out.

Further information

Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd(AECL)
CanadianNuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)

WNA's Radioisotopesin Medicine information paper
WNA's ResearchReactors information paper

WNN: Isotopeproducer is to restart amid controversy