The Saskatchewan Research Council's (SRC) SLOWPOKE-2 nuclear research reactor has been safely and successfully decommissioned after 38 years of successful operation. Read more.
- All radioactive materials related to the SLOWPOKE-2 decommissioning project have been successfully removed and delivered to licenced, authorized disposal contractors. The SLOWPOKE-2 facility has been inspected and tested to confirm no residual radioactive materials remain within the site.
- SRC submitted an application to CNSC for a Licence to Abandon, which removes the operating licence for SRC originally held for the SLOWPOKE research reactor. CNSC conducted a hearing in the fall of 2021 to consider SRC’s application for the revocation of its non-power reactor operating licence following the decommissioning of the SRC SLOWPOKE-2 reactor facility, as well as for the issuance of a licence to abandon the facility. In November 2021, CNSC released their decision, available to read here.
- CNSC Amends SRC's Non-Power Reactor Operating Licence - Read
- SLOWPOKE-2 Research Reactor Successfully Transitioned into a Safe State - Read
SLOWPOKE-2 was a nuclear research reactor housed at SRC Environmental Analytical Laboratories. It was used as an analytical tool for doing neutron activation analysis to determine uranium and other elemental concentrations in a wide variety of sample types for various industries.
The SLOWPOKE-2 reactor operated safely and without incident at SRC since its commissioning in 1981. Read our FAQ for more info.
SRC decommissioned the SLOWPOKE-2 nuclear reactor after 38 years of service. The process was highly regulated and conducted under the stringent requirements of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). Candu Energy Inc., a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, provided decommissioning services for the reactor. Read SNC-Lavalin Group's news release.
SRC evaluated all options and after 38 years of service, the most business practical and cost-effective solution was to decommission the reactor.
The process to initiate decommissioning with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) was started in December 2017.
The reactor was used as an analytical tool to analyze for uranium and organic halides. It was used as a neutron source for an analytical technique referred to as neutron activation analysis (NAA) – which involves bombarding the sample with neutrons to produce isotopes of the element that are measured based on their gamma emissions.
The services the reactor provided were replaced with newer technology offered by SRC Environmental Analytical Laboratories.
The CNSC nuclear reactor operating licence requires SRC to hold funds in trust for decommissioning. For more than a decade, SRC slowly built this trust.
The decommissioning process was highly regulated and was conducted under the stringent requirements of the CNSC.
All radioactive materials related to the SLOWPOKE-2 decommissioning project were removed and delivered to licenced, authorized disposal contractors. The SLOWPOKE-2 facility was inspected and tested to confirm no residual radioactive materials remain within the site.
It stands for Safe LOW Power Kritical Experiment (SLOWPOKE).
SRC takes safety very seriously and it's an over-riding priority for our organization. The SLOWPOKE-2 operated trouble free since its commissioning in 1981. Its design was fail-safe and did not require an active mechanical safety system. Heat produced by the reactor limited its reactivity and operation. In addition, there were several safety system shut downs in place to keep employees and the facility safe. People who live, work and study in the surrounding community were safe.
No other safety or security incidents occurred for the other Canadian SLOWPOKE-2 nuclear reactors that were decommissioned.
Seven SLOWPOKE-2 reactors were commissioned in Canada, but several are now decommissioned due to advances in technology.
March 1981: The SLOWPOKE-2 reactor was commissioned.
March 25, 1981: The first commercial sample was processed.
March 29, 2016: SRC celebrates 35 years of safe operation and no incidents, 232,000 tests performed and over 19,000 hours of operation.
August 2016: Two of SRC's senior level research reactor operators had their operator certification renewed by the CNSC for the next five years.
May 2017: Two SRC employees were certified by the CNSC as SLOWPOKE Reactor Operators (effective May 16, 2017).
Dave Chorney, SRC’s current longest-serving operator of our SLOWPOKE-2 nuclear research reactor, has held an operating license for 30 years.
January 17, 2018: The SLOWPOKE-2 reactor surpassed 20,000 hours of operation for its lifetime.
February 7, 2019: 100,000 flux-hours was reached at 11:45 a.m.
September 26, 2019: SRC transitioned its SLOWPOKE-2 research reactor into a non-operational safe state.
December 9, 2019: CNSC amends SRC's non-power reactor operating licence, authorizing SRC to decommission its SLOWPOKE-2 facility to achieve an end-state of unrestricted use
November 16, 2021: SLOWPOKE-2 nuclear research reactor was safely and successfully decommissioned after 38 years of successful operation.
SRC conducts its operations with the highest regard for the safety and health of its employees and the public, and for the protection and preservation of property and the environment.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission granted SRC a licence to operate the SLOWPOKE-2 research reactor more than 30 years ago.