Government of Canada

Government of Canada

May 19, 2009 14:39 ET

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

Extended Shutdown of Reactor Affects Isotope Supply

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 19, 2009) - On Monday, May 18th, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) advised the Government of Canada that the National Research Universal Reactor (NRU) at Chalk River would remain out of service for more than one month after detection of a small leak of heavy water within the reactor.

"The health and safety of Canadians remains our Government's top priority," said the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources, "I have been assured by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission that the heavy water leak poses no risk to health and safety and that AECL's actions are in keeping with a strong safety culture."

Immediately upon being made aware of this shutdown, the Government of Canada enacted the Isotope Early Notification Protocol, which includes notification to the isotope user community, of an extended interruption in the supply of medical isotopes from AECL.

"Our Government is fully engaged with Provincial and Territorial governments, and the health care community, who are being encouraged to take planned measures such as modifying patient scheduling and triaging to maximize the supply of medical isotopes available," said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health.

A secure supply of medical isotopes is not only an issue for Canada; it is an international issue that is being addressed cooperatively by all isotope-producing countries. At the same time, 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.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt
    Jasmine MacDonnell
    Director of Communications
    613-996-2007
    or
    Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
    Tim Vail
    Director of Communications
    613-957-0200