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.
“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.”
Pierre Pilon, Senior Vice President, Bruce B, said it’s a tremendous honour to be part of a solution to provide medical isotopes for Canada.
“Our Engineering teams here have worked very hard to ensure there is absolutely no impact or changes in how we operate and maintain our units,” Pilon said. “Our CANDU reactors are vastly different than a research reactor, but we are looking at innovative ways like this to help with isotope production when NRU is shut down.”
Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, as well as the MPP for Richmond Hill, said he is pleased this important news for the nuclear industry and for health care in Ontario and around the world.
“This partnership between Bruce Power and Nordion, to create a new, long-term supply of HSA Cobalt-60, has the dual distinction of saving the lives and boosting Ontario’s economy,” Minister Moridi said.
Kim Rudd, Parliamentary Secretary to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and MP for Northumberland-Peterborough South, said this collaboration shows how Canada’s nuclear industry can deliver innovative health care solutions for people in Canada and around the world.
“Our government recognizes the nuclear industry as a national asset which accounts for about 30,000 quality jobs across the country, a key source of low-carbon energy and a driver of innovation, not only in electrical power generation, but also in fields such as health care, food safety, security and materials testing,” the Parliamentary Secretary said.
Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and MPP for Cambridge, said, as a former critical care nurse, she understands the positive impacts medical isotopes can have on a patient’s health.
“With the partnership between these two Ontario companies announced today, patient can breathe easy knowing they have a secure, reliable source of HSA Cobalt to help families across this province and beyond with their healthcare needs,” MPP McGarry said.
Bruce Power will continue to supply Nordion with a supply of Cobalt-60, which Nordion uses to sterilize 40 per cent of the world’s single-use medical devices such as gloves, masks, syringes and much more. Learn more about how Bruce Power and Nordion are positively impacting the medical industry and keeping hospitals safe across the world by downloading the publication Clean Nuclear Power Safe Hospitals or visit www.cleannuclearpowersafehospitals.com.
About Bruce Power
Bruce Power operates the world’s largest operating nuclear generating facility and is the source of about 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.
Nordion is a leading provider of medical isotopes and gamma technologies used for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease and infection. Nordion’s products are used daily by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical-device manufacturers, hospitals, clinics and research laboratories. Nordion supplies products to approximately 500 customers across more than 40 countries around the globe, and is a standalone business with Sterigenics International LLC, the global leader in outsources contract sterilization services, gamma technologies and medical isotopes. Learn more about Nordion at Nordion.com and follow us on Twitter at @NordionInc.
For further information, please contact:
John Peevers – 519-361-6583
Bruce Power Duty Media – 519-361-6161
Nordion – Paul Monlezun 613-222-7184