Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chalk River to be shutdown for at least a year

From Greg Weston at The Sun:

"Canada's only medical isotope reactor will be out of service for the rest of the year and possibly forever, leaving thousands of desperate cancer and heart patients across the country with a shortage of nuclear scans and treatments, Sun Media has learned."

And now Harper wants to sell Chalk River?
From the G&M:

"The federal government will announce today a plan to seek buyers for Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.'s nuclear reactor business, and bring in private-sector management for AECL's problem-plagued Chalk River facility.

After a two-year review of Ottawa's flagship nuclear company, Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt will launch a sale process with the aim of finding a major international partner for AECL to help boost global sales of its Candu reactors."

Now that it's out of commission what a great time to sell it. Sure going to get a lot for the govt. coffers on this one. It's too old & has needed major repairs for a very long time.

And as an interesting aside there's this by Steve Rennie from the Canadian Press, dated May 20th:

"Clinics are paying two to three times more for medical isotopes after a supplier abruptly hiked its prices this month - just before the Chalk River reactor shut down and caused an isotope shortage."

"Lantheus Medical Imaging, a Massachusetts-based company that supplies clinics with 'generators' used in medical imaging, notified its customers last week of the price increase."

"Lantheus's supplier buys raw isotopes from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. The supplier then sells those Mo-99 isotopes to Lantheus, which makes the lead-lined generators that hospitals receive.

...a government document obtained by The Canadian Press shows Ottawa-based MDS Nordion was - until Wednesday - Lantheus' sole supplier of Mo-99 isotopes.

Earlier Wednesday, a spokesman for AECL also confirmed that MDS Nordion is Lantheus's only supplier of isotopes. "That would be MDS," Dale Coffin said.

Coffin also confirmed that AECL has not raised the price of the isotopes it supplies to MDS Nordion."

Hmmm - so MDS Nordion was doing some gouging before the leak happened? Interesting.

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