Parliamentary Committee Recommends Study of New Research Reactor

Over the past two years, CAP has been lobbying for the federal government to take steps toward construction of a new multipurpose research reactor. For example, in its brief to the House of Commons Finance Committee in August 2010, CAP called for “a formal engineering design, costing, and business analysis”. There is now concrete evidence that Parliament is listening.

On November 24, 2010, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources published a report in Parliament recommending “That the Government of Canada study the feasibility of a new multi-purpose research reactor in order to accurately estimate construction and operating costs as well as potential sources of income and report the results to Parliament”.

Canada’s existing multipurpose research reactor – the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor in Chalk River – has served Canada since 1957 and is nearing the end of its life cycle. The NRU reactor is the source of neutron beams for materials research at the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre for experiments by about 200 researchers across Canada each year. It also produces the most common medical isotope, Mo-99, for approximately 14 million medical diagnostic procedures each year around the world. It is also a platform for irradiation of materials in “in-core” conditions to support Canada’s fleet of nuclear power reactors.

The full report of the Natural Resources committee is available here:

The National Research Universal Reactor Shutdown and the Future of Medical Isotope Production and Research in Canada