Call to keep medical isotope production going

17th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

The worldwide production of medical isotopes may be at risk, warns the Dutch Association for Nuclear Medicine.

The Netherlands -  Radioactive isotopes are used to treat people with cancer, cardiac problems, and bone complaints.
The production of medical isotopes was scaled down sustantially when the Canadian Chalk Rivers reactor was shut down after a leak.

It has become clear that the reactor cannot be started until early next year, instead of next October as had been planned. Chalk Rivers produces about half the world's medical isotopes.
The OPAL reactor in Australia should be covering for Chalk Rivers, but reports in the Canadian press say that local clinics have so far failed to get sufficient replacement isotopes.

Doctors from Canada who contacted the plant were told it would take two or three more months to get it running at full speed.
The next biggest producer is the Dutch Petten reactor, on the North Sea coast west of Amsterdam.

Its output constitutes about 30 percent of the global medical isotope production.

This reactor, too, is to shut down in the coming months for scheduled maintenance.

The Dutch Association for Nuclear Medicine has called on the government to postpone the maintenance shutdown.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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