Chalk River Information Bulletin

AECL provides information about a (non-radioactive) halocarbon release of greater than 100 kg

(2014 July 08) The following information bulletin is in accordance with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's (AECL) ongoing commitment to voluntary public disclosure of events related to the Chalk River Laboratories.
AECL reports a loss of approximately 197 kg of R-134A refrigerant used within the MR-3 Experimental Loop, located in the Thermalhydraulics facility. The release was recognized on 2014 June 13. The loss of refrigerant was identified when detection equipment sounded during an experiment. The R-134A inventory was immediately placed into a storage tank. The loop will not be returned to service until testing confirms the integrity of the physical system.  The cause of the event is currently under investigation.

The MR-3 test loop is used for experiments that simulate the behaviour of reactor coolant systems; the loop uses a halocarbon refrigerant R-134A. R-134A has been specifically chosen for its low environmental impact in combination with its desirable experimental properties. It is inert (non ozone depleting), non-radioactive, non-flammable and poses no immediate risk to human health.

As part of AECL’s ongoing environmental program, inventory of R-134A is monitored and any losses reported to regulatory authorities. This event has been reported to Environment Canada as required by the Federal Halocarbon Regulations Act and also to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

AECL confirms that there is no threat to workers, the public, the environment or nuclear safety related to this event


Patrick Quinn
Director Corporate Communications
AECL, 1-866-886-2325