Nordion and Bruce Power partner to ensure Cobalt-60 supply through 2064

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | November 10, 2016
Business Affairs Medical Devices
Courtesy of Wikimedia
Nordion and Bruce Power announced an agreement last week to secure the supply of Cobalt-60 through 2064. This is the extension of a previous agreement between the companies that was to expire at the end of 2028.

As part of the agreement, the four Bruce B reactors are undergoing life extension maintenance programs that will be completed over the next two decades. The agreement also includes the supply of medical grade High Specific Activity Cobalt.

Cobalt-60 is used as a radiation source to sterilize medical devices and supplies. Gamma rays emitted from the isotope disrupt living cells by damaging the DNA and other cellular structures.

Nordion's supply of medical-grade Cobalt came from the National Research Universal reactor at Chalk River, Ontario for over six decades. But that reactor will be closed by the end of March 2018, so the company had to find another source.

Nordion's first medical-grade Cobalt targets were inserted into the Unit 7 reactor at Bruce Power this past October. The Bruce nuclear site has produced Cobalt-60 since the 1980s and is currently the largest supplier of the isotope in the world, according to the company.

Bruce Power is able to guarantee the supply of Cobalt-60 until 2064 because of a long-term electricity supply agreement it signed in December 2015 with the Providence of Ontario. That agreement provide for life-extension and Major Component Replacement programs for Units 3-8.

Those programs were initiated on January 1, 2016 and it's currently on time and budget. Bruce Power already refurbished Units 1 and 2 and will use that experience to extend of life of the eight-unit site.

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