The federal government is selling off its commercial Candu reactor division, Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt announced on Thursday.

Raitt said the government has invited investors to submit proposals.

"Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's Candu reactor division needs strategic investors to take full advantage of this opportunity, strengthen its global presence and reduce the financial risks carried by taxpayers," Raitt said in a statement.

In the spring, the government announced its plan to break up AECL and possibly sell parts of the Crown corporation.

The bid for investors does not include the Chalk River Laboratories, where medical isotopes are produced.

The aging reactor at Chalk River, Ont., was shut down in May after it was found to be leaking radioactive water.

New Brunswick Energy Minister Jack Keir said he supports the plan and hopes it won't affect the province's push for compensation over delays in the ongoing refurbishment of the reactor at Point Lepreau.

AECL is conducting the $1.4-billion refurbishment of New Brunswick's Candu reactor, but the project is running 18 months behind schedule.

Ottawa has said it will compensate the province under the terms of the contract.

"What she's told me is that the contracts that are in place right now are going to be respected by AECL and the government of Canada, and I said to her I appreciate that, I thanked her for that, and that we're going to continue to have discussions on the replacement fuel issue."