Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.
OCR for page 190
Medical Isotope Production without Highly Enriched Uranium Appendix E Correspondence with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
OCR for page 191
Medical Isotope Production without Highly Enriched Uranium THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 Phone: 202 334 3066 Fax: 202 334 3077 www.national-academies.org July 23, 2008 Richard Cote AECL 2251 Speakman Drive Mississauga, Ontario L5K 1B2 Dear Mr. Cote: As a follow-up to my July 17 email message, I am sending along a list of questions (Attachment 1) from the Committee on Medical Isotope Production without Highly Enriched Uranium. This committee was appointed by the National Academies to carry out a U.S. Government-mandated study to assess the feasibility (including costs) of eliminating the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in medical isotope production; the impacts of HEU elimination on the reliability of medical isotope supply; and the progress being made by the Department of Energy and others to eliminate the use of HEU in research reactors, targets, and medical isotope production facilities. AECL’s responses to these questions will help ensure that the committee’s report to the U.S. Government is accurate and complete. In connection with question 6 in the attachment, the committee requests that AECL provide a copy of its feasibility study on converting the Dedicated Isotope Facility to process low enriched uranium targets. We recognize that some of the information we have requested may be business sensitive. The National Academies are willing to execute a non-disclosure agreement with AECL to facilitate access to this information. If desired by AECL, I can also arrange for a small group of committee and staff to visit your facility to review the feasibility study and discuss the questions in the attachment. Please feel free to call me if you have questions or need additional information about this request or our study. Sincerely, Kevin Crowley Study Director
OCR for page 192
Medical Isotope Production without Highly Enriched Uranium ATTACHMENT Questions to AECL Note: The National Academies have been asked by the United States Government to evaluate the feasibility (including costs) of eliminating HEU use in medical isotope production; the impacts of such elimination on the reliability of medical isotope supply; and the progress being made by the Department of Energy and others to eliminate HEU use in research reactors, targets, and medical isotope production facilities. The following questions to AECL were developed by the National Academies Committee on Medical Isotope Production without Highly Enriched Uranium. These questions are designed to elicit the information the committee needs to develop a complete and accurate report on medical isotope production to the United States Government, NRU life extension and potential impacts on Mo-99 production: AECL has announced plans to extend the operation of the NRU reactor from 2011 to 2016. The committee was told by Natural Resources Canada staff that this extension would involve “hundreds of millions” of dollars of work, (a) What replacements of major equipment or refurbishment does AECL anticipate will be necessary for NRU life extension? Is replacement of the calandria included in the planned work? (b) Can this work be carried out without an extended shutdown of NRU? (c) What impacts, if any, will this life extension work have on Mo-99 production at Chalk River? (d) How will AECL ensure that there are no supply disruptions while this life extension work is carried out? Progress in understanding the positive coefficient of reactivity in the Maple Reactors: AECL announced in May 2008 that it was discontinuing development work on the Maple Reactors: (a) What progress had AECL made in understanding the coefficient of reactivity in the Maple Reactor prior to this announcement? Specifically, what tests had been run and data collected? (b) Was the decision to discontinue development work based on a technical judgment that the cause of the positive coefficient of reactivity was unlikely to he understood or fixed? Plans for the Dedicated Isotope Facility: (a) What are AECL’s plans for the Maple Reactors and New Processing Facility (e.g., mothball them, demolish them, sell them)? (b) Does AECL have any plans/interest in using the New Processing Facility for future Mo-99 production? (c) Has AECL carried out any studies or sought any advice on the feasibility of replacing the Maple reactor cores? If so, how much time would be required to design, build, install, and test new cores? (d) Would AECL consider an offer from an outside party to operate the Maples and New Processing Facility? (e) Could an outside party legally operate such facilities on the Chalk River Site? Long-term Mo-99 supplies from Chalk River: The press has reported that it is MDS’ position that AECL is obliged to provide Mo-99 for 40 years to meet its contract obligations. If AECL agrees, how will it acquire Mo-99 after the NRU reactor is shut down?
OCR for page 193
Medical Isotope Production without Highly Enriched Uranium Development of an LEU-based Mo-99 production process: The committee understands that R&D work has been carried out at Chalk River to develop a conceptual design for an LEU target, (a) What was the nature of that work? (b) Was a physical LEU target ever developed? (c) Has any cold testing or radiotracer testing been carried out on unirradiated LEU targets to investigate target processing/Mo-99 recovery? (d) Have LEU targets having a similar design to NRU fuel been developed or tested? Conversion of the Dedicated Isotope Facility to LEU-based production: The committee understands that AECL carried out a study to assess the feasibility of converting the Dedicated Isotope Facility to process LEU targets, (a) What were the results of that study? (b) Can the facility be converted to LEU-based Mo-99 production without major modifications? What would be the cost and time required for conversion? (c) If not, what modifications are required, and what would be the cost and time required for making them? Coordinating the development of an LEU-based process with HEU-based production: (a) Is AECL carrying out or have any plans to carry out R&D work on conversion of Mo-99 production to LEU targets? (b) Are there any technical impediments to carrying out such R&D work using the NRU and New Processing Facility while HEU-based production is maintained in current facilities? (c) Is there enough spare irradiation capacity in the NRU to carry out such work? Management of HEU waste from target processing: (a) Has AECL considered down-blending the HEU wastes from isotope production at Chalk River? (b) Does AECL have any plans to return these wastes to the United States? Costs of producing Mo-99: The press has reported that AECL provides a $50 million annual subsidy to Mo-99 production at Chalk River. (a) Is this estimate accurate? If not, what is the annual subsidy? (b) What fraction of the federal government’s subsidy to AECL for the operation of the NRU and other facilities is allocated to isotope production activities?