The National Research Universal (NRU) reactor at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) operated safely for over 60 years and supported a wide range of applications including, testing of fuels and materials under typical power reactor conditions in two experimental loops (U-1 and U-2). Both experimental loops had been taken out of service to address seismic deficiencies. CNL applied a graded approach to successfully return one of these loops, the U-2 Loop to service. The graded approach, without compromising safety, applied a risk informed methodology commensurate to the potential risk posed by the operation of the U-2 Loop. The work enabled the U-2 Loop to resume operation until the NRU reactor was permanently shut down in Mar. 31, 2018, generating valuable data that will be used in the development of advanced nuclear fuels and materials. This paper describes the graded approach employed by CNL that supported U-2 loop return to service (RTS). The use of graded approach is articulated to support development of safety and licensing cases for small modular reactor projects.