Chalk River reactor down for months

OTTAWA — The Chalk River reactor will be down until the end of year.

OTTAWA — The Chalk River reactor will be down until the end of year.

Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. says it needs at least that long to figure out how to repair the leaky and aging reactor.

“We are now able to advise that the NRU will not return to service before late 2009,” company president Hugh MacDiarmid said Wednesday.

The 52-year-old reactor supplied a third of the world’s medical isotopes until AECL shut it down in mid-May after it found it was leaking radioactive water.

The Crown company’s last status update suggests the aluminium reactor vessel was still leaking 0.5 kilograms of heavy water every hour.

The reactor was supposed to be down for a month, then three months, and now even longer. MacDiarmid said the end of the year is the earliest the reactor could be repaired and restarted.

“We don’t know the ultimate length of the (shutdown’s) duration,” he said.

AECL says it can still repair the reactor. Others aren’t so sure.

“My gut feeling is telling me that this reactor may never be reactivated,” said Dr. Jean-Luc Urbain, head of the Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine.

AECL expects the actual repairs will take about two months and another two months to restart the reactor.

The shutdown has curtailed the supply of isotopes used to detect cancer and heart ailments. Doctors and governments are scrambling to find alternatives to the radioactive isotopes that are in short supply.

Just Posted

Chemical analysis may provide clues to cause of huge Red Deer industrial fire

Fire on April 17 caused $9 million in damage to oil and gas industrial building

New loonie reason to celebrate and educate: central Alberta LGBTQ community

The new LGBTQ2 loonie is a conversation starter and a reason to… Continue reading

C & E Trail property owner wants to use land as RV storage yard

Red Deer city council gives initial approval

Indigenous cultural centre needed in Red Deer

Urban Aboriginal Voices Society hosts annual community gathering

Red Deer youth recognized for his compassion

Blackfalds man dies after vehicle collision

MISSING: Joshua Arthur Sanford

37-year-old Ponoka man last seen on Tuesday morning

Inspired by a galaxy far, far away, these ‘Star Wars’ mementos could be yours forever

CHICAGO —The stuff of “Star Wars” —and there is unfortunately no better… Continue reading

Shoppers Drug Mart launches second online medical pot portal in Alberta

TORONTO — Medical cannabis users in Alberta can now get their therapeutic… Continue reading

Oh, yes! Nurse, Raptors look to finish series with Magic

DENVER — In response to an early call, Toronto coach Nick Nurse… Continue reading

Delay of game calls, goalie interference top worst rules for NHLers: survey

The pace and excitement of 3-on-3 overtime isn’t just a thrill for… Continue reading

Avengers get epic send-off at ‘Endgame’ world premiere

LOS ANGELES — There were more than a few sniffles from the… Continue reading

Writers’ Trust launches program pairing rising writers with established mentors

TORONTO — The Writers’ Trust has launched a program that gives five… Continue reading

Family: A potpourri of Easter egg hunts, music and politics

The election is a thing of the past. Albertans have spoken. They… Continue reading

Most Read