October 09, 2013

The Nuclear Power Demonstration Reactor (or NPD)

Straying a little from the Cold War; The NPD reactor near Rolphton, Ontario was operational from 1962-1987, and was a prototype and test facility for technology that would help the Canadian nuclear program.

From Wikipedia...

"Nuclear Power Demonstration (or NPD) was the first Canadian nuclear power reactor, and the prototype for the CANDU reactor design. Built by Canadian General Electric (now GE Canada), in partnership with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and Ontario Hydro (now Ontario Power Generation), it consisted of a single 22 MWe pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR) unit located in Rolphton, Ontario, not far from AECL's Chalk River Laboratories. NPD was owned by AECL and operated by Ontario Hydro.
The NPD was the prototype and proving ground for research and development that led to commercial application of the CANDU system for generating electric power from a nuclear plant using natural uranium fuel, heavy water moderator and coolant in a pressure tube configuration with on-power refuelling."
-Wikipedia, Nuclear Power Demonstration

For some reason the government didn't think anyone would notice the large paved driveway, the facility viewable from space, or the Ottawa river - so it's hard to find mention from anywhere official of where exactly the NPD reactor was... unless you look at Google Maps, Bing, or any other map - or perhaps look at Wikipedia.  As it's pretty hard to hide that much concrete; I think they should embrace it and provide tours of the facility.  After all, it's totally safe, RIGHT? 

You will notice from the pictures that a new perimeter fence has been erected, new lighting, a manned guard post (the guards' cars are parked outside) and I would guess video surveillance. Supposedly the site is being used for low yield nuclear waste, and radiated nuclear equipment.  AECL expects to use the site for nuclear storage for decades.

Considering the Chalk River facility's property is well known to have on-site leaking radioactive waste, and it was built AFTER the NPD facility; I can only imagine what kind of nuclear waste has been dumped and forgotten about in the forest around the NPD reactor.

The site is on my list of places I'd love to visit, briefly.

source: http://media.cns-snc.ca/history/npd/npd.html
Source: http://media.cns-snc.ca/history/npd/npd.html


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