brucepower isotopeTwo of Ontario’s nuclear sector companies are building on their strong partnership and respective strengths to create a new, long-term supply of an important cancer-treating isotope, Cobalt-60, that will benefit health care patients in Canada and around the world.

Nordion, a stand alone business within Sterigenics International and Bruce Power announced Tuesday they have executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the supply of High Specific Activity (HSA) Cobalt-60, also referred to as medical-grade Cobalt. This type of Cobalt-60 is produced in a limited number of nuclear reactors globally and used in radiation-based treatment of cancer and other diseases in Canada and around the world.

“With limited supply available for the market, Nordion is acutely aware of how important it is, for our customers and for patients globally, that we secure a new long-term supply of medical-grade Cobalt,” said Scott McIntosh, President, Gamma Technologies & Corporate Services, Nordion. “Securing a new supply is a key milestone for both companies. We’re using promising new technology in Bruce Power’s reactors, adding to the contribution they will make through Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP).”

The LTEP, announced in December 2013, has identified a role for nuclear power in Ontario as part of a modern electricity system. The role of nuclear power also includes medical applications. For over six decades, Nordion’s supply of medical-grade Cobalt has come primarily from the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor at Chalk River, Ontario. Recognizing that in a few years the NRU reactor will reach end of life, this MOU will lead to the development of a novel approach to create a new source of supply from Bruce Power building on existing technology and practices.

“While Bruce Power is mostly known for generating electricity, we are very proud of the work we do with Nordion,” said Duncan Hawthorne, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bruce Power. “From our Bruce B facility, we currently supply Nordion with Cobalt-60 that is used to sterilize medical supplies, keeping hospitals around the world clean and safe. This MOU builds on our strong relationship and recognizes our shared desire to develop a stable, additional supply source for this important isotope.”

Ontario not only has a nuclear industry that is internationally recognized but it’s also home to many globally-respected healthcare institutions and suppliers of important technologies and support services.

“This important contribution to health care from Ontario's nuclear sector is a reminder of why our province is a global leader in nuclear medicine,” said Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation. “I am proud to celebrate the partnerships that are keeping this province at the forefront of innovations that save lives, improve quality of life and bring diversity to our economy.”

"This long-term isotope supply is an example of Ontario innovation at work that is helping to meet the needs of a modern health care system while also securing high-tech Ontario jobs," added MPP Dipika Damerla, Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

Both organizations expect to complete a range of activities in 2016 to further develop this supply capability and will carry out the appropriate technical, commercial and regulatory due diligence. Bruce Power and Nordion facilities are regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and both companies will continue in all of their activities to meet their requirements as nuclear licensees.