Patients from around the world who are suffering from brain tumours will benefit from an innovative partnership announced between two Ontario-based companies.

Bruce Power and Nordion have teamed up on a new initiative that will see medical-grade, ‘High Specific Activity’ (HSA) Cobalt produced in the four Bruce B reactors. This partnership will provide a stable supply of HSA for decades to come.

They have also produced a new report outlining the benefits of nuclear energy and Cobalt to the health care sector. It is titled Clean Nuclear Power. Safe Hospitals.

“HSA Cobalt is at the forefront of innovative new medical technologies, so we’re excited to be part of the supply chain for this life-saving radiation therapy,” said Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power’s President and CEO. “As a long-time supplier of Cobalt-60, we have long been helping to keep our hospitals safe for our most vulnerable citizens. Now, with HSA Cobalt being harvested from our Bruce B reactors, we will have a greater impact on human health across the globe.”

HSA Cobalt is used worldwide for alternative treatments to traditional brain surgery and radiation therapy for the treatment of complex brain conditions through a specialized, non-invasive knife. This innovative tool uses gamma radiation to focus 200 microscopic beams of radiation on a tumour or other target. Although each individual beam has little effect on the brain tissue surrounding the tumour, where the beam intersects, a strong dose of radiation is delivered to the site, minimizing damage to healthy tissue and lowering side effects compared to traditional therapy in some cases.

For over six decades, Nordion’s supply of medical-grade Cobalt has come primarily from the National Research Universal (NRU) reactors at Chalk River, ON.

“Recognizing that in 18 months the NRU reactor will reach its end-of-life, it was critical to find another source of HSA for these life-saving operations,” said Ian Downie, Nordion’s General Manager, Gamma Technologies. “The HSA Cobalt produced by Bruce Power will help fill this gap.”