The WR-1 reactor was a research reactor that played an important role in building Canada’s scientific and industrial capacity. When operating more than 31 years ago, WR-1 reached a maximum of 60 megawatt thermal (MWt), which is significantly less than power reactors, which operate at values greater than 1,500 MWt. The safe shutdown of WR-1 was done in a planned and controlled manner. Shutdown in 1985 and de-fuelled thereafter, WR-1 has been safely maintained in a state of "storage with surveillance."
As part of its work to manage Canada’s decommissioning and waste-management responsibilities on behalf of AECL, CNL is proposing to decommission and leave in-situ the research reactor (WR-1) at the WL site. All fuel and liquids have been removed from the reactor, and what remains are the structural components of the reactor, such as the vessel and piping. The proposed approach will provide a safe, secure and effective disposal solution for the existing contaminated below-grade building. This approach minimizes the risks to the health, safety and security of the public, workers and the environment.
In-situ decommissioning of reactors has been demonstrated successfully at other nuclear sites. The technique minimizes radiological exposure to workers, reduces the need for handling and transportation and overall, minimizes risk to workers and the environment. As CNL advances this project, it will meet or exceed regulatory requirements that protect the health and safety of workers, the public and the environment.