Bruce Power, Isogen and BWXT partner for isotope production

23 July 2020

Canada’s Bruce Power, with Isogen and BWXT ITG Canada have partnered for production of additional isotopes to meet the growing demands of health-care providers in Canada and around the world.

The three organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance feasibility work for the production of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99). The partnership will work to leverage existing production systems being developed to produce Lutetium-177 (Lu-177) starting in 2022 at Bruce Power and BWXT’s isotope-processing facilities in Kanata, Ontario, along with Kinectrics’ facilities in Teeswater and Etobicoke.

James Scongack, executive vice-president, corporate affairs and operational services at Bruce Power said: “This collaboration with Isogen and BWXT reconfirms Canada’s status as a leader in medical isotopes. It will also continue to build on strong collaboration between Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation (OPG). More importantly, it will make a difference in people’s lives.”

BWXT had previously signed a partnership with OPG to make Darlington the world’s first large-scale commercial nuclear power station to produce Mo-99. The new agreement, in addition to new isotopes, will also determine the feasibility of backup supply of the isotope, Bruce Power noted. As part of the agreement, the organisations will also complete an assessment of future isotope processing within the Grey-Bruce-Huron region to leverage the geographic proximity to the Bruce Power site to supply domestic and international needs.

“This agreement will provide additional options to secure the important supply of Molybdenum-99 coming from Ontario,” said Dominique Minière, president, nuclear at OPG. “With OPG on track to start producing this life-saving isotope as early as January 2022, we will be able to supply the current and future North American demand for this important isotope.”

Bruce Power, Isogen and BWXT will also study the technical and economic feasibility for the production and supply of other medical isotopes, and will explore the potential for engaging with research organisations, including McMaster University, TRIUMF and other academic centres in Canada, on the production of isotopes.

John D’Angelo, President of Isogen said: “It was a logical progression to harness the capacity at the Bruce Power nuclear generating station to fortify Canada’s position to lead in the production of the two most important medical isotopes for therapy and diagnosis, Lu-177 and Mo-99. This new partnership will ensure patients in Canada and throughout the world will have stable and secure access to these critically important medical isotopes.”

Isogen is committed to exploring the viability of the Mo-99 isotope production system with BWXT for the installation on the Bruce Power site, first for the production of Mo-99, and other isotopes in the future. This has the potential to build on the Mo-99 capacity being developed at the Darlington nuclear generating station, increasing the security of supply from Ontario. Isogen, a partnership of Framatome and Kinectrics – two supply chain partners in Bruce Power’s Life-Extension Programme – was announced at the Canadian Nuclear Association conference in February.

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