December 13, 2007 – A Canadian nuclear reactor that makes and distributes globally more than two-thirds of the world’s supply of radioisotopes for cancer tests, may reopen by Dec. 20, after being shut down since November.
Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (ACEL), a government-owned nuclear technology company that operates the reactor, shut it down after technical problems. Pending a push through emergency legislation allowing AECL to use a backup method, the reactor should be back to full production within seven days.
The Ontario Association of Nuclear Medicine says about 50,000 Canadians and 160,000 Americans would have their tests postponed for each month the reactor remains shut down.
The company says it could restart the reactor now using an emergency pump but the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission does not agree. The government is trying to aim legislation to temporarily sideline the watchdog and allow the reactor to operate for 120 days.
For more information: www.aecl.ca