Government of Canada

Government of Canada

August 12, 2009 21:31 ET

Government of Canada: Joint Statement From the Minister of Health and the Minister of Natural Resources on Extended NRU Shutdown

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, P.C., M.P., Minister of Health, and the Honourable Lisa Raitt, P.C., M.P., Minister of Natural Resources

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 12, 2009) - As Ministers of Natural Resources and Health, we are very disappointed with AECL's announcement today that the return-to-service of the National Research Universal reactor (NRU) has been delayed until early 2010. We have asked AECL to provide a firm return-to-service plan as soon as possible, and we have underscored to them that their first priority is to return the NRU reactor to service, consistent with maintaining the highest standards of safety and security.

We understand this news will cause some concern for Canadians and their families. Be assured, our Government continues to take every step necessary to protect the health and safety of all Canadians.

The Government of Canada continues to work with provinces, territories, the medical community and international partners to address Canadian needs during this outage. The Minister of Health's Special Advisor on Medical Isotopes continues to advise on the use of alternatives and mitigation strategies in the short term. We have given rapid regulatory approvals to health care providers to use alternative sources of supply. The careful management of available supplies by the health care community and the use of alternatives have been absolutely essential during this outage. The medical community has done impressive work in this area, and we are grateful to them.

International cooperation in the management of available supply has been effective to date, and we continue to work with our international partners and reactor operators to increase production and adjust reactor schedules where possible.

For longer-term options for reliable isotope supply, the Expert Panel on Medical Isotope Production is now reviewing 22 submissions from a range of groups, including academic institutions, the private sector and public sector organizations. The panel will report to the Minister of Natural Resources by November 30, and will provide recommendations for the Government of Canada going forward.

NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media.

Contact Information

  • Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa
    Office of the Minister
    Jocelyne Turner
    Press Secretary
    613-996-2007
    or
    Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa
    Media Relations
    613-992-4447
    or
    Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
    Ottawa
    Josee Bellemare
    Press Secretary
    613-957-0200
    or
    Health Canada
    Ottawa
    Media Relations
    613-957-2983