Government of Canada

Government of Canada

May 27, 2009 17:45 ET

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

Shutdown of Reactor Further Extended

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 27, 2009) - This afternoon, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) indicated that the National Research Universal Reactor (NRU) at Chalk River will remain shut down for a minimum of three months to identify what repairs to the reactor are required and to implement repairs.

"I continue to lead productive discussions with my counterparts in other isotope-producing countries that have some ability to assist with this supply issue," said the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources. "These countries all have different constraints and capacity that we are working through, but we will continue using all resources available to us to manage this shortfall."

Ensuring medical isotope supply is not only an issue for Canada; it is an international issue that is being addressed cooperatively by all isotope-producing countries. Last year, the Government of Canada outlined a five-point plan designed to address this challenge over both the short and long-term in collaboration with the medical community and Canada's global partners.

"I have spoken with my provincial and territorial colleagues and met with our Ad Hoc Group of Experts on Medical Isotopes to get a sense of what's happening on the ground. I will continue to work with the community as we monitor the situation and share ideas on how to help manage the shortage," said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. "I want to acknowledge and thank the health care professionals across the country who are working hard on the front lines to help meet the health needs of Canadians."

The Government of Canada is engaging international isotope producers as well as companies such as MDS Nordion, Lantheus and Covidien who all play key roles in securing medical isotope supply for North America.

Provincial and Territorial governments, and the health care community, are being encouraged to take planned measures such as modifying patient scheduling to maximize the supply of medical isotopes available.

NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at

Contact Information

  • Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa
    Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt
    Jasmine MacDonnell
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Ottawa
    Tim Vail
    Director of Communications
    Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa
    Media Relations