Nordion signs MOU with Bruce Power on new cobalt supply

Ottawa-based Nordion announced Tuesday it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Bruce Power  for the supply of High Specific Activity Cobalt-60, also referred to as medical-grade Cobalt.

Cobalt-60 is used in radiation-based treatment for cancer and other diseases and is produced in a limited number of reactors around the world.

“With limited supply available for the market, Nordion is acutely aware of how important it is, for our customers and for patients globally, that we secure a new long-term supply of medical-grade Cobalt," Nordion president, gamma technologies and corporate services Scott McIntosh said in a statement.

Nordion, a standalone business within Sterigenics International, has been getting its cobalt supply from the National Research Universal reactor at Chalk River for more than 60 years. That reactor, however, will shut down in a few years.

“Securing a new supply is a key milestone for both companies. We're using promising new technology in Bruce Power's reactors, adding to the contribution they will make through Ontario's Long-Term Energy Plan,” Mr. McIntosh said.

The provincial plan recognizes nuclear power as part of the province’s electricity system with a role in medical applications.

“From our Bruce B facility, we currently supply Nordion with Cobalt-60 that is used to sterilize medical supplies, keeping hospitals around the world clean and safe,” Bruce Power president and CEO Duncan Hawthorne said in a statement. “This MOU builds on our strong relationship and recognizes our shared desire to develop a stable, additional supply source for this important isotope.”