New U.S. anti-terrorism measure could hurt Canadian isotope maker
New U.S. anti-terrorism measure could hurt Canadian isotope maker: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/mobile/news/latest-updates/anti+terrorism+measure+could+hurt+Canadian+isotope+maker/6771465/story.html
..."“The United States is committed to eliminating the use of HEU in
all civilian applications, including in the production of medical
radioisotopes, because of its direct significance for potential use in
nuclear weapons, acts of nuclear terrorism, or other malevolent
purposes,” said a White House statement. Details on what countries
will be targeted by the HEU export reductions have not been released.
The U.S. has no domestic producers of medical isotopes. Atomic
Energy of Canada Ltd. has long relied on shipments of U.S. HEU to
produce molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) and its daughter isotope technetium-99
inside the NRU research reactor at AECL’s Chalk River nuclear labs,
northwest of Ottawa. Technetium-99 is the most widely used medical
isotope in the world. The raw isotopes are transported to Kanata’s
Nordion Inc., which refines and purifies the radioactive materials, then
ships them to medical facilities and practitioners around the world.
AECL issued a statement Tuesday saying it “continues to co-operate with
the U.S. efforts to manage the use of HEU for the production of medical
isotopes, mindful of the non-proliferation considerations.” In a
separate statement, Nordion said it actively supports non-proliferation
efforts, including conversion of isotope production facilities from HEU
to LEU. Experts have rejected the expensive notion of converting the
55-year-old Chalk River reactor to handle LEU, especially since the
federal government has announce its closure in 2016, when the current
operating licence expires."
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