Partnership Formed To Increase Isotope Production in Canada

Canadian electricity company Bruce Power said Tuesday that it had joined forces with Isogen and BWXT ITG Canada, Inc. (BWXT) in an effort to advance a ‘Made in Ontario’ partnership that will produce isotopes needed "to meet the growing demands of health-care providers in Canada and around the world."

Bruce PowerThe three organizations signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance feasibility work for the production of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), the isotope most commonly used in nuclear medicine for diagnostic imaging and detection of disease and other isotopes in growing demand.

The partnership will work to leverage existing production systems being developed to produce Lutetium-177 (Lu-177) starting in 2022 at Bruce Power and BWXT’s isotope-processing facilities in Kanata, ON, along with Kinectrics’ facilities in Teeswater and Etobicoke.

“This collaboration with Isogen and BWXT reconfirms Canada’s status as a leader in medical isotopes. It will also continue to build on strong collaboration between Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation (OPG). More importantly, it will make a difference in people’s lives," said James Scongack, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Affairs and Operational Services.

BWXT had previously signed a partnership with OPG to make Darlington Nuclear the world’s first large-scale commercial nuclear power station to produce Molybdenum99. This new agreement announced today, in addition to new isotopes, will also determine the feasibility of backup supply of the isotope and represents another beneficial example of industry collaboration among Ontario’s nuclear generators.

The partnership will also complete an assessment of future isotope processing within the Grey-Bruce-Huron region to leverage the geographic proximity to the Bruce Power site to supply domestic and international needs.

Bruce Power, Isogen and BWXT will study the technical and economic feasibility for the production and supply of other medical isotopes. The relationship will also explore the potential for engaging with research organizations, including McMaster University, TRIUMF, and other academic centers in Canada, on the production of isotopes.

“With OPG on track to start producing this life-saving isotope as early as January 2022, we will be able to supply the current and future North American demand for this important isotope," said, Dominique Minière, President, Nuclear at OPG.

Isogen, a partnership of Framatome and Kinectrics – two supply chain partners in Bruce Power’s Life-Extension Program – was announced at the Canadian Nuclear Association conference in February. Isogen is committed to exploring the viability of the Mo-99 isotope production system with BWXT for the installation on the Bruce Power site, first for the production of Mo-99, and other isotopes in the future. This has the potential to build on the Mo-99 capacity being developed at the Darlington nuclear generating station, increasing the security of supply from Ontario.

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