Cobalt-60 harvest supports cancer treatment, sterilization of billions of medical devices

Bruce Power has successfully completed another harvest of cancer-fighting cobalt-60 during its planned outage in Unit 8, which will also see the installation of a system innovation that will increase the production of the medical isotope to meet the increasing demands of the world market.

The medical isotopes will be processed and distributed worldwide by Ottawa-based Nordion to sterilize billions of single-use medical devices, such as syringes, surgical masks, gowns and gloves, as well as in the specialized treatment of breast cancer and brain tumours. The companies have collaborated to increase the amount of cobalt-60 Bruce Power is able to produce in its reactors through the innovation of a new adjuster component configuration, which will first be installed in Unit 8 during its current outage. 

“This cobalt-60 harvest helps to ensure the supply of these cancer-fighting medical isotopes,” said Peter McDermid, Director, Isotope Business Development and Energy Innovation. “Bruce Power is proud to play a key role in securing and expanding production of this crucial tool for the international health care community.”

Bruce Power and Nordion have partnered to produce both Low Specific Activity (LSA) and High Specific Activity (HSA) cobalt-60. LSA cobalt-60 helps to sterilize more than 30 per cent of the world’s single-use medical devices and HSA cobalt-60 is used in specialized brain tumour and breast tumour treatments that minimize damage to healthy tissue and lower treatment side effects compared to traditional therapy in some cases.

“Our continued partnership with Bruce Power ensures a reliable supply of cobalt-60 and this innovation will support growing demand globally,” said Riaz Bandali, President of Nordion. “From treating cancer to sterilizing a wide range of medical devices, equipment and packaging, we’re committed to positively impacting the health and well-being of people around the world.”

The cobalt-60 harvest occurred during a planned maintenance outage in Unit 8, which is part of the ongoing Life-Extension Program at the Bruce Power site. This investment program will ensure Bruce Power provides reliable, carbon-free electricity and cancer-fighting medical isotopes through 2064.

Learn more about how Bruce Power is helping to keep hospitals safe, and also diagnosing and treating cancer, at

About Bruce Power

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 nuclear power to families and businesses across the province and cancer-fighting medical isotopes around the world. 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. Formed in 2001, Bruce Power is a Canadian-owned partnership of TC Energy, OMERS, the Power Workers’ Union and The Society of United Professionals. Learn more at and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.