McMaster University, Bruce Power to collaborate on advancing nuclear technologies including medical isotopes

A Memorandum of Understanding, signed today, brings together world-leading experts from both organizations and will unite two Ontario-based nuclear powerhouses: McMaster University, an established leader in nuclear and medical isotope science, and home to a suite of world-class nuclear research facilities, and; Bruce Power, the world’s largest operational nuclear facility, which provides reliable, clean electricity to Ontarians and medical isotopes to the world’s health-care system.

“This is an exciting day as we mark the beginning of a renewed partnership to explore avenues of collaboration with one of Canada’s most reputable universities,” said Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power’s President and CEO.  “We want to ensure Canada remains at the forefront of global isotope development and production, while advancing new technologies around life extension and new reactor development.

“Today’s announcement is a big step forward in achieving these goals.”

The new partners initially connected over their shared roles as leaders in the global medical isotope supply chain. Home to Canada’s most powerful nuclear research reactor, McMaster University has capitalized on its infrastructure to become the world’s largest producer of Iodine-125, and is also a major supplier of Holmium-166, both of which are used to treat cancer.

Bruce Power is a key producer of Cobalt-60, an isotope used to sterilize medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE), currently in high demand around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, Bruce Power began harvesting High Specific Activity, or medical-grade Cobalt-60, which will benefit cancer patients in Canada and around the world. This medical-grade cobalt is used for alternative treatments to traditional brain surgery and radiation therapy for the precise treatment of brain tumours while limiting damage to the surrounding healthy tissue and organs.

Together, the partnership will explore applications of established medical isotopes, and address opportunities around emerging medical isotopes, including Lutetium-177, which has shown great promise for treating several types of cancers. Bruce Power is advancing a project which will see its units outfitted with an Isotope Production System that can support future production of isotopes including Lutetium-177.

Karen Mossman, Vice-President, Research, at McMaster University, says the partnership allows both organizations to leverage their complementary strengths for greater impact.

“McMaster is known for its expertise in developing and commercializing nuclear-based technologies,” Mossman said.  “This partnership, through co-led projects, elevates our potential to find Canadian solutions for the industry and the global medical isotope supply chain.”

The collaboration will also see experts work together to advance energy science – supporting Bruce Power’s Major Component Replacement projects through a program of experimental work made possible by McMaster’s unique nuclear research facilities – and technologies related to Small Modular Reactors, an emerging technology expected to play an important role in Canada’s clean energy future.

About McMaster University
Located in Hamilton, Ontario, McMaster University is Canada’s most research- intensive university, and the nation’s preeminent nuclear research institution. The McMaster campus houses a unique suite of world class nuclear research facilities anchored by the McMaster Nuclear Reactor – a multi-purpose research reactor that provides neutrons for medical isotope production and scientific research. McMaster University’s nuclear research facilities enable discoveries in medicine, clean energy, nuclear safety, materials and environmental science, while providing cancer treatments for more than 70,000 patients every year.  Learn more at nuclear@mcmaster.ca.

About Bruce Power
Formed in 2001, Bruce Power is an electricity company based in Bruce County, Ontario. We are powered by our people. Our 4,200 employees are the foundation of our accomplishments and are proud of the role they play in safely delivering clean, reliable, low-cost nuclear power to families and businesses across the province. Bruce Power has worked hard to build strong roots in Ontario and is committed to protecting the environment and supporting the communities in which we live. Learn more at www.brucepower.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

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