We are a leading provider of gamma technologies and medical isotopes that benefit the lives of people in more than 40 countries around the world. We also offer contract manufacturing services in which we design and develop tailor-made radiopharmaceuticals.
Founded in 1946, our safe and high-quality products are used daily by a well-diversified base of over 350 customers including pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical device manufacturers, contract irradiation service providers, hospitals, clinics and research laboratories.
We employ approximately 350 highly skilled employees. Our head office and main processing facilities are in Ottawa, Ontario, with additional facilities in Vancouver, British Columbia; Laval, Quebec; South Oxfordshire, England; and an office in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. This Virtual Tour is of our Ottawa facility.
There are two main buildings on the Nordion campus—the Roy Errington Building (the name is a tribute to a founder/president) and the Kanata Operations Building.
Throughout our campus are office spaces, meeting rooms and cafeterias for our employees, and manufacturing space.
Our commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of people is reflected in our day-to-day corporate culture. Just one of the many healthy initiatives on our campus is a fitness centre which is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week for cardio training, muscle strength and toning, and group fitness.
In our nuclear facility, we process Cobalt-60, which is used in more than 40% of all single-use medical devices sterilized globally.
We are a leader in gamma irradiation technologies
Nordion’s Cobalt-60 is used in many different areas where sterilization is essential to prevent disease. The most common applications include sterilization of single-use medical devices, micro-organism reduction on lab ware and consumer goods, and irradiation of food for safety import/export control.
Irradiation of food kills bacteria, like E.Coli, Salmonella and Li
COBALT MANUFACTURING PROCESS
Nordion’s global supply chain and distribution capability is unparalleled.
Cobalt-60 raw material is produced in nuclear reactors in Canada and other parts of the world. The Cobalt-60 is shipped to Nordion’s facility where it is processed into sealed sources.
Once the Cobalt-60 arrives at Nordion, it is removed from an outer encapsulation and welded into a new double-encapsulated source called a C-188 and shipped to our customers’ sites for use in irradiators. The next several frames in this virtual tour describe the process in more detail.
Here’s an image of a technician standing outside of what we call a “hot cell,” inside of which raw material is introduced. We have various cells each of which serves a different purpose in the processing of Cobalt-60. They are built to contain radioactive materials and to provide shielding to the immediate vicinity.
Inside the cell is where we encapsulate the Cobalt-60. The machine in the technician’s right hand activates “hands” inside the cell that are called manipulators.
Highly skilled technicians pick up items as small as a pin using manipulators. It takes almost 1 year of training to use manipulators properly.
It’s hard to tell when looking through the window, but the windows are made of numerous panes of glass for a total thickness of 42 inches, and they are separated by mineral oil to avoid distortion. The high density concrete walls are 42 inches thick. The shielding within the wall protects our employees from radiation.
There are many safety precautions built into the facility and our processes include employee training, monitoring systems, cleaning, and decontamination processes, facility testing, and more.
Nordion has been shipping Cobalt-60 to customers throughout the world for over 50 years safely, efficiently, and reliably.
With safety as our #1 priority, Nordion has an extensive fleet of regulatory-approved lead and steel certified containers that meet all international shipping requirements.
While we have a number of shipping containers, the image here is our F-231. Every shipping container is state-of-the-art and undergoes stringent quality assurance and safety testing. To design, develop, test, and license a container can take over 3 years.
Testing includes 9-meter drop tests on a flat surface, 1-meter drop tests on a pin, puncture testing, and fire testing at 800 degrees for 30 minutes. The intent is to simulate the capacity to endure extreme crash conditions during transportation.
As well, the containers are shipped back to us for re-use. We test them when they come back, clean them, and maintain them. Nordion provides one-stop cradle-to-grave services.
Through long-term supply of Cobalt-60, every day we make a distinctive contribution to the health and well-being of people around the world.
With decades of experience in processing, packaging and delivery, we sell a unique portfolio of isotopes, which our customers incorporate into products that are used in medical procedures for patients.
While gamma sterilization is preventative, applications for our medical isotopes are both diagnostic and therapeutic. A medical isotope is a safe radioactive substance. The energy emitted by the isotope when inside a patient is detected by special cameras while the patient is being scanned. While much of the product that is processed at our facility is further processed by our customers, we do also make final dosage products.
Here are examples of how our medical isotopes are used in diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
* Mo-99 is used to generate Tc-99m.
Reference: Alan Perkins, NBMS Presentation and Internal.
Technetium-99m*, Iodine-123, Diagnostic
Heart Scans (Cardiac Imaging):
One of the most widely used medical isotopes is Molybdenum-99—often called “Moly.” The half life of Moly is 66 hours. What is a “half life?” The usefulness of medical isotopes decreases in a predictable way and this measurement is called a half life. It’s the time it takes for half of the product to lose its radioactivity.
Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) decays into Technetium-99. Because of Mo-99’s 66-hour half life, shipping short-lived medical isotopes is like shipping ice cubes without a freezer. Time is of the essence when handling and distributing our products. We pride ourselves on our ability to efficiently process and distribute our products globally in a timely manner. Nordion fills a significant portion of the world requirement for Mo-99.
These are our state-of-the-art Iodine hot cells. Iodine processing is done in these cells. They are built to contain radioactive materials and to provide shielding to the immediate vicinity. Sources are introduced to the cell from the back where final product is also removed.
It’s hard to tell by looking at these windows; however, they are made of 2 panes of glass for a total thickness of 25 inches, and they are separated by mineral oil to avoid distortion. The high density lead walls are 8 inches thick.
Nordion has an extensive fleet of regulatory-approved lead and steel certified containers that meet all international shipping requirements. These are the steel containers used to ship Moly around the globe.
We have an entire infrastructure in place to deliver a high quality product at a quantity needed any time in the world exactly when it is needed. Logistics, regulations, and safety are critical when you consider that we’re shipping short-lived radioactive medical isotopes that are critical to the well-being of people.
The Nordion team takes pride in their commitment to ensure timely supply of critical isotopes used by doctors around the world to treat and diagnose their patients.
We design and develop tailor-made solutions to meet our customers’ needs, such as radiopharmaceuticals for commercial development or clinical trials.
We have an 80,000-square foot state-of-the-art good manufacturing practice area—or GMP. GMP facilities are highly regulated and controlled due to the manufacture and testing of radiopharmaceutical ingredients. From this facility, Nordion provides contract manufacturing services to some of the world’s leading biotech, pharma, and diagnostic companies.
We employ experienced quality control staff, and our quality assurance processes are stringent. Part of the controls includes redundant safety control systems and environmental protection systems to protect our people and to protect the products. Our state-of-the-art monitoring system monitors all key facility parameters 24 hours a day 7 days a week to assure ongoing compliance.
There are many safety precautions built into our facility and our processes including employee training, monitoring systems, cleaning and decontamination processes, facility testing, and more. We do this to protect people and the environment.
Remember the hot cells in the gamma and medical isotopes areas? Our hot cells include a state-of-art ventilation and airflow monitoring system. We monitor the airflow and feed data to a central safety monitoring system.
Wondering where the air goes? Air from this facility goes through a series of filters before mixing with the outside air. The safe amount of radioactive material we can put in the outside air is strictly controlled by the Federal regulators. Nordion releases only 5% of the allowable safe limit. Our filters are tested twice annually for effectiveness; however, the performance of our ventilation system is monitored constantly by a series of alarm detectors.
Nordion is committed to environmental health and safety.
for taking the Virtual Tour of our Ottawa campus. We value your opinion.
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