Feature | Nuclear Imaging | April 02, 2018 | Dave Fornell

Chalk River Isotope Reactor Decommissioning Date Set

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission renewed Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ operating license for the Chalk River isotope reactor

The Chalk River nuclear reactor license has been renewed, but will be decommissioned by 2028.

The Chalk River nuclear isotope reactor license has been renewed, but will be decommissioned by 2028. The reactor supplies about 50 percent of the world's supply of Tc99m.

April 2, 2018 – The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced March 29 that it renewed Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL) Nuclear Research and Test Establishment Operating License for the Chalk River Laboratories (CRL) site. as of 2016, it was the world’s largest production reactor for medical nuclear imaging isotopes. However, the decision includes a plan to transition to shutdown and preparation for decommissioning by 2028.  

The decision followed a public hearing Jan. 23–25, 2018. The new license will be valid from April 1, 2018 until March 31, 2028.

CRL is the largest single science and technology complex in Canada, located near Chalk River, Ontario, about 160 km northwest of Ottawa. The National Research Universal (NRU) reactor at Chalk River has been operating at CRL since 1957. Until Oct. 31, 2016, the reactor produced a large percentage of the world's medical isotopes, used in both the diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening diseases. In late 2016, it ended production of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), the precursor to the making of technetium-99m (Tc-99m), the most widely used radioisotope for single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging.

The 61-year-old nuclear reactor has had safety concerns requiring shutdowns to make repairs and updates over the past decade. Each time the reactor has shut down, there was a shortage of Tc-99m.  This has prompted the United States government to support plans to create a domestic supply of medical isotopes. In February 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) took steps to ensure a stable and secure supply of Tc-99m. The FDA approved the NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes' RadioGenix System used to produce Mo-99. 

Read the FDA approval article “FDA Clears Path for First Domestic Supply of Tc-99m Isotope.”

With the new Canadian reactor licensing agreement, CNL will present a mid-term update in 2023 on its licensed activities at CRL during a public commission meeting within the community. Members of the public will have the opportunity to intervene orally and in writing. CNSC staff will also report annually on CNL’s performance at CRL at a commission meeting with public participation.

The record of decision is available on request to the Commission Secretariat and will be posted on the CNSC website at nuclearsafety.gc.ca. 

For more information: https://www.canada.ca/en/nuclear-safety-commission/news/2018/03/canadian...

Related Content

MIM Software Inc. Receives FDA 510(k) Clearance for Molecular Radiotherapy Dosimetry
Technology | Nuclear Imaging | January 16, 2019
MIM Software Inc. received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for molecular radiotherapy...
Videos | SPECT-CT | December 12, 2018
This is a walk around of the new Spectrum Dynamics Veriton SPECT-CT nuclear imaging system introduced at the 2018 ...
Spectrum Dynamics Sues GE for Theft, Misappropriation of Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition
News | SPECT Imaging | December 06, 2018
Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) cardiac imaging company Spectrum Dynamics filed a lawsuit Dec. 6,...
Subtle Medical Receives FDA Clearance, CE Mark for SubtlePET
Technology | PET Imaging | December 05, 2018
Subtle Medical announced 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market SubtlePET. Subtle...
Mirada Medical Joins U.K. Consortium Exploring Healthcare AI
News | Artificial Intelligence | December 04, 2018
Mirada Medical, a leading global brand in medical imaging software, will form part of an artificial intelligence (AI)...
GE Healthcare Recalls Millennium Nuclear Medicine Systems
News | Nuclear Imaging | November 15, 2018
GE Healthcare announced it is recalling its Millennium Nuclear Medicine Systems due to an incident in which the the top...
Artificial Intelligence Predicts Alzheimer's Years Before Diagnosis
News | Neuro Imaging | November 14, 2018
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology improves the ability of brain imaging to predict Alzheimer’s disease, according...
Researchers Awarded 2018 Canon Medical Systems USA/RSNA Research Grants
News | Radiology Imaging | November 13, 2018
The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Research & Education (R&E) Foundation recently announced the...
Subtle Medical Showcases Artificial Intelligence for PET, MRI Scans at RSNA 2018
News | Artificial Intelligence | November 13, 2018
At the 2018 Radiological Society of North America annual meeting (RSNA 2018), Nov. 25-30 in Chicago, Subtle Medical...
University of Missouri Research Reactor First U.S. I-131 Supplier in 30 Years

MURR is the only supplier of I 131 in the United States and the first U.S. supplier since the 1980s. Image courtesy of University of Missouri

News | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | November 13, 2018
The University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) recently shipped its first batch of Iodine-131 (I-131), a...