Monday, 8 August 2011

The Globe and Mail: Companies vie for iconic Chalk River reactor

Here is a recent G&M article discussing the future of NRU at Chalk River Labs... with the sale of the CANDU arm of AECL already decided and announced, it is now time to consider the future of Chalk River Labs as well as NRU. It is clear that NRU cannot be run forever even if its license is extended for another several years it doesn't change the fact that it is 54 years old. Considering it takes several years to design and construct a new reactor, it is quite urgent that a decision is made to replace this reactor. A national dialouge is required to decide whether the replacement will be at Chalk River or at University of Saskatchewan or both. The precious time is wasted if such dialouge and decision is further delayed... From the article: "It will depend on whether Ottawa decides the site is a centre for badly needed innovation or a nuclear burden on the public purse. The federal government intends to end the production of isotopes after 2016, but the future of the reactor's research functions remains unclear"... and "This is the only place in the country, and one of a handful in the world, that produces those tiny subatomic particles and has facilities to shoot them at different materials to see what happens. Without a place to do that, researchers say, the country could lose a source of made-in-Canada innovation and leave its scientists with no choice but to ply their trade elsewhere."... "CRNL Partners, a group that includes EnergySolutions Canada, SNC Lavalin, AMEC NSS, Kinectric and Wardrop, which are all involved in the nuclear supply chain, announced earlier this year it's interested in a public-private partnership with the federal government to manage Chalk River's lab.
It hasn't yet submitted a formal bid. It has an office in nearby Deep River, but still isn't officially incorporated. But according to the federal government's lobbyist registry, EnergySolutions Canada and its partners plan to bid on a contract "for the management and operation of the Chalk River Laboratories facility that is expected as part of the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) restructuring.""... "A partnership of CH2M Hill Canada, Babcock and Wilcox and the Battelle Memorial Institute has also thrown its hat informally into the ring.
"We've got a very good team and we're eager and interested to propose on it as soon as the final details come out," said Tom Searle, president of CH2M Hill Canada. The Colorado-based engineering company does large-scale site remediation; Babcock and Wilcox does design and construction for energy facilities, including nuclear sites; Battelle is one of the world's largest research and development organizations and manages the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy."... Read more:​user/viewFreeUse.act?fuid=MTM2​NDM1MjY%3D

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