Netherlands reactor to be closed for six months in 2010

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The repair of the primary cooling water pipework of the High Flux Reactor in Petten, the Netherlands, is currently scheduled to commence on Feb. 19, 2010, and the restart is scheduled in the second half of August 2010, according to the Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) of the Netherlands.

“The repair of the aluminium cooling water pipework, which is set in concrete, is focused on a number of points with known corrosion and localized deformation as well as the point where a small bubble stream was observed in 2008," the NRG said.

In late November, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited stated its committment to restart the production of medical isotopes in the first quarter of 2010, which means there may be a slight gap in time during which neither of the world's two largest nuclear reactors will be able to replenish the global medical isotope supply.

The repair of the High Flux Reactor entails the removal of the concrete around the pipe to facilitate the installation of new material which will be welded onto the existing system and subsequently the pipe will be covered with a corrosion resisting layer, according to the NRG.

The NRG added that it has extensively examined, tested and practiced repair techniques and radiation protection.