NRU “cannot be the foundation” for future R&D

by Vance Gutzman

The federal government has thrown cold water on any thoughts of keeping the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor open for business.

Deep River council has received two pieces of correspondence to that end, both on tonight’s agenda.

The correspondence came to the town in response to a letter sent by Mayor Joan Lougheed in the fall to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), expressing her concern about the closure of NRU and its neutron beam production.

Isotope production at NRU was halted at the end of October, 2016, and the reactor is scheduled for final shutdown as of March 31.

The PMO forwarded Lougheed’s letter to both Health Canada’s strategic policy branch and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

In its response to Lougheed’s correspondence, Health Canada praises this country’s long history of excellence in nuclear research and development, “enabled by the ingenuity of researchers at Chalk River Laboratories.”

That said, however, Health Canada goes on to explain why it can’t support NRU’s continued operation.

“Our decision to cease the operation of the NRU in March, 2018, is in response to the fact that a 60-year-old reactor with increasing maintenance and operational costs cannot be the foundation for the future of Canada’s nuclear industry,” the unsigned letter states.

Health Canada does go on to “recognize, however, that the shutdown of the NRU will inevitably affect nuclear research and development.”

for the full story, pick up a copy of the January 31 NRT…