Bruce Power V. Pandemic, Hits Back With Cobalt-60

Canada's Bruce Power said this week it had completed another harvest of Cobalt-60, a vital resource in supporting the global fight against the omicron variant by sterilizing billions of pieces of medical equipment used by frontline health care workers.

The medical isotopes were harvested during the ongoing Unit 7 outage and sent to Ottawa-based Nordion for processing. From there, Bruce Power’s Cobalt-60 will be shipped around the world to sterilize up to 10 billion pairs of surgical gloves and single-use medical devices, as well as in the treatment of breast cancer and brain tumors.

Bruce PowerCobalt-60 sterilizes 40 per cent of the world’s single-use medical equipment.  It sterilizes medical supplies faster and in larger volumes than other forms of sterilization, ensuring supplies are efficiently prepared for frontline health care workers and hospitals. Throughout the pandemic, as demand for personal protective equipment increased, Bruce Power’s Cobalt-60 supported the supply of these crucial items.

More recently, Cobalt-60 has been used in Gamma Knife treatments in the fight against breast cancer and brain tumours.

“We all know someone who has been affected by cancer, and as doctors and researchers continue to search for new ways to fight cancer, Cobalt-60 has been turned to as a way to treat patients in a non-invasive way, without surgery,” said Brad Jones, Nuclear Operator, Bruce Power. “Gamma Knife technology using Cobalt-60 is used in more than 600 hospitals around the world, including five units in Canada, and the applications and use of this technology grows every year, which is exciting to see.”

The Unit 7 outage is part of the ongoing Life-Extension Program at Bruce Power, supporting reliable, carbon-free electricity and the production of life-saving medical isotopes through 2064.

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