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Atomic Energy of Canada Limited National Research Universal Reactor Safety System Upgrades and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's Licensing and Oversight Process

I. Introduction

This report was prepared by an Independent Review Team from Talisman International, LLC (Talisman Team) at the request of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). Talisman was requested to recommend improvements to the CNSC and AECL processes, based on a review of lessons learned stemming from the extended outage of AECL's National Research Universal (NRU) reactor in November and December 2007.

The Talisman Team was initially asked by CNSC to identify the licensing basis, review the 2006 licence renewal activities, investigate enforcement, and evaluate communications. AECL asked the Talisman Team to review the clarity of licensing requirements, AECL's management of the safety upgrades particularly from January 2006 to November 2007, and to identify options that could have avoided or shortened the outage. The Talisman Team indentified process and program improvements, some that apply separately to either CNSC or AECL and others that apply to both CNSC and AECL. A list of the reference documents used in preparing the report is provided as Attachment 1. A complete list of recommendations is tabulated in Attachment 2.

The Talisman Team's Charters are included in this report as Appendix A. The Talisman Team was requested to focus on lessons learned, particularly process or procedure improvements, not on individual personnel shortcomings. The Talisman Team has extensive nuclear regulatory and industry experience. A biographical background of the Talisman Team members is provided in Appendix B.

The Talisman Team conducted its assessment by reviewing CNSC and AECL documents and interviewing current and former CNSC and AECL staff and managers. The Talisman Team reviewed NRU reactor licensing and inspection correspondence, records related to the recent extended outage at NRU, and regulatory decisions made during licence renewal proceedings. The focus of the review was on the interactions between the CNSC and AECL related to the Emergency Power Supply (EPS)upgrade and its lack of connection to two of the reactor's main cooling pumps - referred to as Main Heavy Water Pumps (MHWPs). The acronyms used in this report are listed in Appendix C. A timeline of events, associated with the major observations, is provided in Appendix D. The list of personnel interviewed by the Talisman Team is provided in Appendix E.

This report is structured to first highlight the factual information identified by the Talisman Team, based on the document reviews and the interviews, then to identify the important observations based on those facts, and finally to present the recommendations that the Talisman Team made to address those observations. Some areas of the report overlap, since the factual information that supported the observations was the same. Whenever that occurs, the material is repeated in that section for the sake of completeness. However, if an earlier recommendation already covers the observation, then the report only references the earlier recommendation.

This report represents the views of the Talisman Team, and does not necessarily represent the views of the CNSC or AECL. The Talisman Team received full cooperation from both organizations, and independently decided which documents to review and whom to interview.

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