News | December 09, 2009

Linacs to Generate Nuclear Isotopes for Canada, Not Reactors

December 9, 2009 - An expert panel reviewing Canadian medical isotope productions selected electron beam technology as a superior approach to accelerator-based isotope production.

The panel has recommended the Canadian government make an investment in linear accelerator (linac) technology to address the country’s shrinking isotope supply.

Noting significant vulnerabilities in Canada’s radioisotope technetium-99 supply (used to scan patients for cancer and heart ailments), following the May 2009 shutdown of the NRU reactor at Chalk River, the Canadian Government called on an expert panel in July 2009 to review and recommend options for securing supply and alternative production of Tc-99. Over 20 "expression of interest" proposals from North American companies were considered.

Iotron Industries, an irradiation services using electron beam technology, will provide an alternative to nuclear production, at a very competitive cost. Iotron’s technology is characterized as linac, based on MO-100 transmutation, and was specifically singled out by the Canadian Medical Isotope Review Panel as a superior approach to accelerator based isotope production.

The benefits of linac technology identified in the panel’s report are:
· Two facilities could service all of Canada’s needs
· Relatively short timeline required to first production of badly needed isotopes
· Requires a very modest price increase and is price competitive with all other options
· Generates no nuclear waste
· Capital cost is much lower than any other facilities capable of producing long lasting isotopes

The Chalk River reactor is 52 years old and supplies up to 80 percent of the medical isotopes used in Canada and 40 percent of those needed globally. Canadian doctors warn of the quickly growing risk of compromised patient diagnosis and treatment should the shortage continue into the future.

Iotron President Lloyd Scott confirms that a great deal of progress has been made by Iotrons’ research and development efforts on the high power target, extraction, purification, and recycling processes since the submission of the expression of interest in July 2009.

Iotron will commence open communication with the Canadian government next week to begin the process of initiating action on the panel’s recommendation for investment.

For more information: www.iotron.com

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