Canada nuclear agency's estimated liability jumps

Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:58pm EDT
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OTTAWA, March 20 (Reuters) - Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) has raised the estimate of its liability for nuclear decommissioning and waste management by two-thirds to about C$6 billion ($5.84 billion), reflecting indirect costs of its aging Chalk River research reactor.

The nuclear agency said in a statement late Tuesday that it was raising its liability estimate by C$2.4 billion, adding that amount to its C$3.6 billion estimate as of March 31, 2012.

The reactor in Chalk River, Ontario, is Canada's sole source for isotopes used in medical imaging. Production was shut down for safety reasons in 2007 and then again from May 2009 to August 2010. The closures caused a medical challenge and a political furor as the government scrambled to find isotope replacements internationally. The reactor is licensed to run until 2016.

Last month, Canada said it expected to be able to make enough medical isotopes through non-nuclear methods by 2016 to replace those now produced by the reactor.