Cobalt-60 harvested from four Bruce B reactors can be used to help stop the spread of the Zika virus.
Cobalt-60, which is processed by Ottawa-based Nordion, is the key component of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), a process aimed at eliminating or, at a minimum, suppressing the population of insects that spread disease or damage agricultural crops.
“Cobalt-60 from our reactors already plays a major role in keeping single-use medical equipment safely sterilized, and with it now helping to stop the spread of diseases like Zika virus the world’s population continues to benefit from it,” said James Scongack, Vice President, Corporate Affairs. “We look forward to working with Nordion to continue safely harvesting Cobalt-60 during our planned maintenance outages so it can help prevent disease across the world.”
The International Atomic Energy Association has announced it will be deploying the SIT using gamma radiation from Cobalt-60 to combat the spread of Zika and West Nile viruses, as well as dengue. SIT poses no risk to the environment or to public health and, in fact, is considered one of the most environmentally friendly insect pest control methods ever developed because the insects are not self-replicating and do not become established in the environment.
Pioneered in the 1950s, SIT involves using gamma irradiation to render sterile insects such as male tse-tse flies, screw-worm flies and other fruit flies, especially in climates that stay warm year-round. After irradiation, large numbers of sterile males are released into the wild, dramatically reducing the number of insects in the next generation. Repeated release can eventually wipe out a population of insects.
Aside from its use in the SIT, Cobalt-60 from Bruce B helps to sterilize 40 per cent of the world’s single-use medical devices, including masks, gloves, implantable devices like stents and heart valves, as well as some food products like spices. Learn more about Cobalt-60 and its use in the medical industry at www.cleannuclearpowersafehospitals.com.
About Bruce Power
Bruce Power operates the world’s largest operating nuclear generating facility and is the source of roughly 30 per cent of Ontario’s electricity. The company’s site in Tiverton, Ontario is home to eight CANDU reactors. Formed in 2001, Bruce Power is an all-Canadian partnership among Borealis Infrastructure Trust Management (a division of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System), TransCanada, the Power Workers’ Union and the Society of Energy Professionals. A majority of Bruce Power’s employees are also owners in the business.
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