Report backs new reactor

A parliamentary committee studying the future of the nuclear industry in Canada has come out in support of a new research reactor to replace NRU… almost. 

The House of Commons committee on natural resources, chaired by MP James Maloney, issued a report earlier this summer called “The Nuclear Sector at a Crossroads: Fostering Innovation and Energy Security for Canada and the World.”

The wide ranging report contains seven major recommendations.

Among those recommendations, the committee urges the federal government to “continue its support for Canadian nuclear R&D and innovation in the short, medium and long term, by… considering long-term options to provide a reliable, high-flux neutron source for Canadian researchers.”

In its report, the committee noted that “the impending closure of the nearly 60-year-old NRU in 2018 is one of the main challenges facing the Canadian nuclear R&D sector.”

“As a large research reactor, the NRU has been a reliable source of high-flux neutrons used in a wide range of medical and industrial sectors, including the production of medical isotopes for diagnosis and treatment of various cancers and cardiovascular diseases (among others), and to conduct research with applications in the environment, agriculture and natural resource sectors.”

Quoting witnesses like Christopher Heysel of McMaster University, the committee said a neutron source like NRU is “especially important for research into materials sciences because they penetrate deep into materials and provide information about interior structures of matter at the atomic level.”

“This function is important for developing advanced materials for diverse products, including clean energy technologies, high-efficiency engines, and information technology hardware.”

> for more on this story, pick up a copy of the August 2 North Renfrew Times…