Feds want Chalk River reactor back up

The government of Canada wants the Chalk River reactor back online sooner than the current estimate of mid-August, Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt said Thursday, as she spoke of how to manage a worldwide shortage of medical isotopes.

The government of Canada wants the Chalk River reactor back online sooner than the current estimate of mid-August, Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt said Thursday, as she spoke of how to manage a worldwide shortage of medical isotopes.

“Certainly managing the global shortage is very difficult and certainly knowing that the Canadian reactor plays such a big part in the global supply chain, we would like things to move faster,” Raitt said in Toronto.

“But (Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.) has to take the appropriate safety precautions to get it done.”

The Chalk River, Ont., reactor, which makes about one-third of the world’s supply of medical isotopes, shut down more than a month ago after a heavy water leak.

Officials estimated it would be down for three months, which would be until mid-August, but the head of AECL told a House of Commons committee earlier this month that it may take even longer.