Thanks for helping to keep this topic alive. The following article written by a Dr. Harold J. Smith, ex Manager, MAPLE Nuclear Commissioning, provides some insight into the technical problems encountered in the start-up and licensing of the Maples. I am NOT a nuclear engineer, just a concerned layman in this matter, but it does seem as if the Maples might be closer to being operational than we have been told by the government. If the Hanaro reactor in South Korea, which is based on the Maple technology (with apparently slight modifications), has been operating successfully since 1995, why can't we find out why that is the case and make the necessary design adjustments to our own two reactors? As Dr. Smith says, the final tests on the modified fuel bundles were never conducted. He makes the following statement:
The Maple reactor operated like a dream and was/is fully capable of meeting all objectives. All you have to do is finish the last test or put Hanaro-design fuel in it.
As a person closely involved with the reactors, I suppose Dr. Smith's views can also be dismissed as being biased, like those of MDS Nordion. On the other hand, he has the inside knowledge that few of the rest of us have. It is surely time for an independent appraisal to be made of the problems involved here.
Here is his article - the strange phrase "fuel meat" seems to be a term used by nuclear scientists (I Googled it to check!):
"Viewpoint - The failure of Maple."
I have no idea whether it is economically viable or even safe to proceed with the Maple project, but surely its merits should be debated openly, honestly and thoroughly!Yes, it should and thank you for that! One other point on that article, this former Maples manager specifically contradicts what Ministers Lunn and Clement said about the reactors failing tests.
The option of restarting these reactors appears to be getting quite the hearing at the Natural Resources Committee these days. We'll see what Minister Raitt's panel has to say and whether it is indeed the plan now to open up those reactors to privatization too. Sounds like a plan, doesn't it? Privatizing nuclear reactors. Remember how well that ideological bent went over last summer under the Conservatives as applied to the meat industry...
For more on this topic, see: Blog Post Index: Medical Isotope crisis & Chalk River shutdown.