Before we get started on our journey, let’s take a quick look in the rearview mirror. Behind Nordion is 43 years of experience in Mo-99 purification to pharmaceutical standards—over 6,000,000 6-day Curies of Mo-99—and just-in-time global distribution…
The NRU reactor.
Let’s start at the beginning. The NRX reactor. Located in Chalk River, NRX was the first reactor to produce Mo-99 for Nordion. When the small NRX reactor—originally designed at a power rating of 40 megawatts thermal* (MWt)—went offline in the early 90s, the massive 135 MWt NRU reactor continued to produce Mo-99 for Nordion.
The NRX and NRU reactors were the mainstay of the world’s need for Mo-99 for 43 years. And, over those four decades, Nordion’s expertise in Mo-99 processing and Mo-99 distribution grew to meet the needs of billions of patients around the world. Shipping a short-lived medical isotope like Mo-99 around the world necessitates an infallible distribution system. And people. Experienced, can-do people are the backbone of what we achieve day in and day out at Nordion.
A Nordion Mo-99 container (circa. 1976). Pictured left to right are Nordion employees B. Elliot, L. Girouard and J. Gravelle. (Photo courtesy of Nordion.)
From the first Mo-99 processing hot cell to today’s safety and quality systems, our expertise has improved each decade. In fact, we are currently using the third generation of Mo-99 shipping containers.
Nordion is not the only supplier of pharmaceutical-grade Mo-99. As a global corporate citizen, there have been times when other suppliers have leveraged our tremendous response capability during pending global supply shortages.
And our global corporate citizenship stands at the ready today to deliver a much-needed medical isotope to radiopharmaceutical manufacturers and, ultimately, to patients. Interested in knowing how we’re keeping our finely tuned Operation humming? Stay tuned for the next installment of Mo-99 Matters: The Road Ahead.
*Megawatt thermal (MWt) is a unit of heat energy within the reactor