Dalhousie moves nuclear reactor from Halifax
Dalhousie University has safely removed the uranium core of its nuclear reactor and shipped it from Nova Scotia to a federal facility in Ontario.
The Slowpoke reactor, commissioned in 1976, was used for research until 2008.
The operation to remove the core, which carries less than one kilogram of fissionable uranium, took place last week in Halifax under the cover of darkness.
"It was very successful. There were no releases to the environment. There was no personal contamination," said Ray Illson, director of health and safety at the university. It took less than an hour to load the core on to a truck for transport to the Atomic Energy Canada Limited facility in Chalk River, Ont. While the university has been open about its plans to decommission the reactor, it has kept quiet about when it would move the nuclear material out of the province.
Ilson, who was involved in a similar decommissioning at the University of Toronto in 1991, said the university chose to load the truck at that hour of the morning in order to minimize transportation and public safety issues.
Dalhousie is paying the AECL facility $4.8 million to provide a turnkey decommissioning of the reactor. Some remaining material will be cleaned up and removed from the reactor site over the next few weeks. Following the decommissioning, Dalhousie will apply for a license that will allow the university to use the site for another purpose.