Canada's Nuclear Reactor

August 13, 2009 - The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed disappointment with reports from the Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) that the aging nuclear reactor at Chalk River, Ontario, which produces most of the medical isotopes for Canada and the United States, will not be back up and running until the spring of 2010.

In the meantime, doctors will have to be patient, as technetium-99 supplies are rationed. The reactor produces medical isotopes such as molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), which produce technetium-99 used in diagnostic nuclear imaging scans.

The AECL identified nine sites at the reactor in need of repair. Corrosion experts are advising the AECL, as the group works closely with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, whose safety inspectors are directly involved at the Chalk River site.

The AECL assured the Canadians that the repairs are not a public safety issue, adding there is no threat to workers on site or the environment.

The Canadian ministers of health and natural resources had issued a joint statement Wednesday night saying they're disappointed that the Chalk River facility won't be back online until the first quarter of 2010.

For more information: www.aecl.ca/

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