AECL: Increased production won't cover demand

Even with increased production, Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) says its Chalk River nuclear reactor in Ontario will not be able to meet the global demand for medical radioactive isotopes.

A report in the August 29 issue of The Vancouver Sun quoted AECL spokesman Dale Coffin as saying the facility will increase production, but the reactor can only satisfy a portion of the demand.

Concerns over a possible medical isotope shortage were heightened this past week, as five major nuclear reactors that produce medical isotopes all were offline for various reasons. One of the facilities, in Petten in the Netherlands, produces molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), the precursor to technetium-99m, the most widely used isotope in nuclear medicine.

The temporary shutdowns follow a similar situation that occurred last December, when AECL's National Research Universal reactor in Chalk River was taken offline, causing a temporary shortage of isotopes.

Related Reading

SNM has 'serious concerns' over isotope situation, August 28, 2008

AECL monitors isotope supply after Dutch shutdown, August 26, 2008

SNM draft report shows U.S. Mo-99 production years away, July 22, 2008

MDS sues AECL for $1.6 billion over Maple reactors, July 9, 2008

SNM cites regulatory, reimbursement, and research as top priorities, June 18, 2008

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