Chalk River Employees Ad hoc TaskforcE for a national laboratory (CREATE)

April 06, 2010 10:17 ET

CREATE Responds to Federal Announcement on Medical Isotopes

CHALK RIVER, CANADA--(Marketwire - April 6, 2010) - "We applaud the government's stated intention to place Canadian production of Tc-99m 'on a sound commercial footing without government support,'" said Gord Tapp, spokesperson for CREATE, a grass-roots effort that has proposed a vision for Chalk River as a national laboratory.

Tc-99m is the most commonly used medical isotope and is the daughter-product of Mo-99, which is produced in the NRU reactor in Chalk River.

"The recent policy announcement clearly separated the issues of a new research reactor and Tc-99m production," Mr. Tapp said, "Clarity in this complex policy landscape is a step forward. Tc-99m was not the reason for building the NRU reactor, and it is clear that it will not be a major reason for the new research reactor."

Although CREATE had proposed a new multi-purpose reactor for research and isotope production, this federal policy now focuses the mission of the proposed reactor on research and development (R&D).

"Effectively, cyclotrons and linear accelerators are now being considered to replace the MAPLE reactors to produce Tc-99m," Mr. Tapp said, "but the question of a new reactor for neutron beams and nuclear energy R&D that could replace these functions of the NRU reactor is yet to be answered."

CREATE believes that an assessment of the benefits of these R&D missions will show that the costs of a new research reactor are justified. Knowledge gained from a multi-purpose research reactor would help Canada to safely extend the operating life of its power reactors and save Canada billions of dollars in electricity generation costs.

Like the NRU reactor, a new multi-purpose reactor should have a flexible design to meet Canada's needs for the future, including for example, the capacity for innovation in other isotopes for industry and medicine, if needed.

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